Seth Rudolph’s second goal of the season came at a crucial moment for the Colonials.
GW’s match against Howard remained scoreless until the 58th minute with both teams battling for position in the goalkeepers’ duel. Undaunted, Rudolph uncorked a cross-box blast, zipping it past the right of the Bison goalkeeper.
His goal put the Colonials (0-1-1) up by one, an advantage they held until Howard capitalized on a free kick to knot the score. The game, GW’s final match of the D.C. College Cup, ended in a 1-1 tie, making Rudolph’s goal key to the match’s outcome. Stretching back to last season, the goal marks Rudolph’s sixth in his last four regular season matches.
“He is going to be like this all season,” head coach George Lidster said. “Seth gives 100 percent every game and he was unfortunate not to have another couple goals.”
GW as a whole struggled to capitalize on their shots. From the beginning of the match, the Colonials were dominant in possession of the ball, a quality lacking in their Sept. 1 loss to American. GW outshot Howard 12-3 in the first half, but couldn’t find the back of the net, remaining scoreless throughout the first.
The Colonials posted a commanding 26-10 advantage in shots over the course of the match but were only able to put six of their shots on frame. After the match, Lidster was quick to identify accuracy and success in front of the net as a crucial area of improvement for his team.
“Some of the shots should have been easy goals,” Lidster said. “We created some great chances, we just couldn’t convert.”
Rudolph’s goal was the only time GW posted a point on the board, and Howard responded in the 74th minute to even the score. The Colonials attempted to battle back, including a shot in the 75th minute from sophomore Tyler Ranalli that was denied from crossing the line by a Howard defender. Senior Yoni Berhanu also came close to breaking the tie, posting two shots in the final three minutes of regular time, but was ultimately unable to score.
Neither team was able to capitalize in the final twenty minutes of extra-time, though the Colonials again commanded the action on the field with a 3-1 edge in shots over the final 10 minutes. The tight play, Lidster said, was indicative of the battle GW presented during the game, an improvement from their opening game against American.
“We certainly achieved everything except scoring goals,” Lidster said. “We dominated the play, we had great possession and we passed the ball really well. We played a lot better than last game.”
The Colonials finished third of four teams in the Cup, with George Mason capturing the tournament title for the second straight season. Both Rudolph and Berhanu were named to the All-Tournament team, the third selection for Berhanu, who also earned the honor in 2008 and 2010.
The Colonials next head to Conway, S.C. Sept. 9 to participate in the Coastal Carolina Invitational, squaring off against Coastal Carolina at 7:30 p.m.