Young teams are often prone to struggling over the course of a season, but when injuries also become a factor, wins can become scarce.
Injuries and youth have been the story this season for the men’s soccer team, which fell 3-1 Friday to St. Bonaventure and 3-0 Sunday against Duquesne.
St. Bonaventure got on the board just 64 seconds into the game Friday, when freshman Emmett O’Connor knocked in a goal to put the Bonnies up 1-0. GW (2-14, 0-7 Atlantic 10) managed to tie the game in the 11th minute on a goal from sophomore Seth Rudolph and keep the contest equal at one well into the second half.
The Bonnies began to pull away in the 74th minute, when O’Connor scored his second goal of the game. St. Bonaventure added an insurance goal in the 88th minute when senior Fabrizio Savarino cut to the left side of the net and fired the ball past GW goalkeeper Brendan Lafferty.
After fighting to keep the game tied at one, head coach George Lidster said fatigue played a role in the Bonnies’ late goals.
“We just ran out of gas at the end,” he said. “The conditions were bad, muddy field, rain, wind, and in the last few minutes we just ran out of steam. We could have put the game away in the first half. We missed some good chances, could have gone 3-1 up, and in the end, they took their chances well.”
Rudolph’s lone goal against the Bonnies was his sixth of the season, a team high. Despite the sophomore’s role as GW’s main offensive weapon, Lidster said Rudolph remains a raw talent with room to grow in future seasons.
“He knows he could have had a lot more goals,” Lidster said. “He’s gotten in a lot of goal-scoring positions, and getting a lot of shots off. Just needs a little bit more composure that will come with age. Those shots will go in.”
Sunday, Duquesne came out firing in the first half against the Colonials. The Dukes outshot GW 18-4 and scored all three of its goals before halftime. Duquesne senior Stefan Lundberg got things started by scoring a goal in the 12th minute, and Tyler Tompkins scored a pair of quick goals in the 43rd and 44th minutes.
Allowing teams to score quick goals within minutes of one another was a problem GW struggled with early in the season but had managed to avoid lately. Watching his team make the same mistakes was especially frustrating for the Colonials head coach.
“The second and third goal came within a minute,” Lidster said. “I was very disappointed. At the end of the first half, we were playing against a very strong wind, and I would have been happy to go [into halftime] just 1-0 down. Duquesne was too strong for us. And with a lack of concentration at the back, their players just ran through our defense.”
Despite the losses, GW goalkeepers Brendan Lafferty and Erik Haug both set career highs in saves over the weekend. Lafferty had six saves on 22 shots Friday, and Haug had nine saves on 27 shots Sunday.
With A-10 play – in which GW is winless this season – rapidly coming to a close, Lidster said that while he’s seen flashes of good play, the challenge for his team moving forward for the rest of this season and into next season will be playing with more consistency.
“The positive is we’re putting together one half here, one half there, but we’re just not strong enough to put together two good halves,” Lidster said.
The Colonials will look for their first A-10 win of the season in their final weekend, beginning Friday when they’ll take on Temple on the road at 2:30 p.m.