After sweeping the opening weekend of A-10 play at home the last week, the men’s soccer team reversed that trend this weekend, dropping back-to-back road games against A-10 foes Dayton and Xavier.
GW (4-6-2) fell to 2-2-0 in A-10 matches, failing to rack up any points for its weekend efforts. All six of the Colonials’ losses have come on the road this season.
“We just haven’t got that extra confidence away from home that will force those balls in on the road,” head coach George Lidster said. “A team tends to be more confident at home and a little bit more tentative away. We need to be more physical to break down the confidence of the home team.”
As play began Friday evening against Dayton, the Colonials’ defense was immediately put to work. The Flyers broke ahead offensively in the first minute of play, testing junior goalkeeper Alejandro Almodovar with a shot in the first 40 seconds.
While Almodovar was able to keep Dayton’s first attack out of the net, the Flyers kept pushing, heading a ball into the goal off of a corner kick to pull ahead 1-0 in the 10th minute. Almodovar posted a season-high seven saves on the day, but the Flyers offense proved too potent to keep scoreless.
“Dayton was a very physical team,” Lidster said. “They came out at us strong and hard, and out-matched us physically.”
The Colonials went into halftime trailing by one, despite owning the first half shot advantage 8-6. The Flyers extended their lead early in the second half, as a handball was called on the GW defense in the box, connecting on their penalty kick to push the score to 2-0. Dayton added its final goal of the day only 10 minutes later, as another corner kick yielded a goal for the Flyers.
While the Colonials posted a 17-12 shot advantage for the match, only five of their attempts were on target. The Colonials ultimately dropped the game 3-0 to Dayton, GW’s first conference loss of the season.
“I don’t think we had that conviction to force the ball over the line, whereas last week we had the conviction and strength,” Lidster said.
The Colonials attempted to rebound from their Friday loss as they took on defending A-10 champions Xavier on Sunday in Cincinnati, Ohio. GW was put to the test defensively in the first, as the Musketeers posted a 5-2 shot advantage, adding six corner kicks. It took roughly 20 minutes for the Musketeers to take the lead, when a long overhead pass found an Xavier attacker who was able to place the ball just out of reach of junior goalkeeper Brendan Lafferty.
GW again went into halftime trailing by one, posting zero shots on goal in the first period. Lidster cited defensive breakdowns as the root of Xavier’s score, adding that the Colonials were hampered by the absences of senior defender Brice Carr and freshman defender Matthew Scott due to injuries.
“One long ball and a midfielder made a late run and got in behind our defense,” Lidster reflected. “It was a poor goal to give away, and I’m very disappointed.”
As the second half began, the Colonials applied offense pressure to the Musketeers, dominating the second half shot advantage 10-3. But GW was again unable to find the back of the net, stymied by five second-half saves from Xavier’s keeper.
With GW pressuring to even the score, Xavier tacked on a second goal in the 64th minute, and though junior Mattia Melillo finished with a game-high four shots, all coming in the second half, the Colonials failed to score for the second consecutive game. The loss Sunday marks the first time GW has lost back-to-back games this season.
The Colonials next host the Richmond Spiders Oct. 22nd at 12 p.m.