Fewer than 10 minutes into the men’s soccer game against Rider Saturday afternoon, GW forward Seth Rudolph received a long over-the-top pass, snuck past the last Rider defender and took a clean shot on goal. Rudolph’s shot was blocked, but Colonials forward Jeff Eisenbud was there for the rebound, putting the ball past the goalie to bump GW up 1-0, the team’s first goal in four games.
Once junior defender Jake Davis scored a second first-half goal for GW off another rebound, the Colonials had all the offense they needed, keeping the Broncos off the scoreboard for a 2-0 win.
“I was shocked. It came right to me,” Davis said of his goal, the first of his career. “I thought, ‘Might as well make my mark now,’ and I put it in.”
The win also snapped a five-game losing streak for GW (2-7), which had not won since beating Longwood on the road Sept. 8. The goals, the first for the Colonials since Sept. 11, were especially pleasing to head coach George Lidster, who had expressed worries earlier this season about his team’s hesitance in front of the goal.
“It’s a confidence builder. I think we started with quite a bit of energy. Both goals came from rebounds,” Lidster said. “I was pleased that we had the confidence to shoot, but I was ecstatic that people were flowing in, looking for rebounds, which wasn’t happening earlier in the season.”
Davis – who filled in as his team’s emergency goalie for much of the season while Brendan Lafferty and Devon DuBay, GW’s regular goalies, recovered from injuries – said the win was especially significant with Atlantic 10 play set to begin next weekend.
“I think [this win] was huge. We’re about to go into A-10 play, and it’s just a huge lift for us, really gave us some new confidence,” Davis said.
Also contributing to the team’s confidence was the fact that it played its best offensive game in weeks largely without the help of Rudolph, the team’s leading scorer, who left the game in the 30th minute with a hamstring injury.
Playing from ahead, Lidster said, also made a difference for the Colonials Saturday.
“Well it certainly helps. We’ve been talking about it, and when you’re always playing a goal down, it’s very difficult,” he said.
The return of Lafferty, the team’s usual starter in goal, was also a welcome sight for the Colonials. Lafferty came on in the second half to replace Erik Haug, his first action since being removed from GW’s season opener against George Mason with a concussion.
Lafferty made four saves in his return against Rider, but Lidster said he was still unsure if the sophomore would be the team’s starter against Richmond Saturday. Kickoff in that game is set for 7:30 p.m.