After a series of games in which the Colonials couldn’t click on offense, they turned up the heat Saturday, sending a total of 12 shots toward the Longwood net. But despite that renewed offensive front – which head coach Craig Jones called a clear improvement compared to games past – GW couldn’t outscore the Lancers, dropping 3-1 in its afternoon match.
“I’m disappointed that we lost,” Jones said. “But the positive obviously to come out of the game is we certainly took a lot more shots. We created more chances. So on that end – the offensive side – the only thing we didn’t do is score more goals.”
The Colonials netted the first goal of the game 29 minutes into play, taking its sole lead of the game when senior forward Seth Rudolph zipped the ball into the lower left corner of the net on a penalty kick. From there, both teams battled to put the second tally of the game on the board, but it was Longwood that scored less than 10 minutes after Rudolph’s goal, ending the first half in a 1-1 tie.
Early in the second half, the Colonials had several scoring opportunities, but their efforts were blocked by the Longwood goalkeeper. Further frustrating GW’s attack, the Lancers scored a second goal in the 56th minute of play, raising the score to 2-1.
The Colonials took a number of shots, but struggled with control, seeing most sail high or wide of the net throughout the rest of the half. The Lancers scored the final goal of the game, in the 83rd minute, on a breakaway.
“It was a good effort and a good fight, but we’ve just got some little mistakes we need to clean up,” junior forward Tyler Ranalli said.
Complicating play for the Colonials is the number of players on the team’s roster who have nagging injuries, keeping them from performing to their full potential. Jones was careful not to tax his team too much between Wednesday’s match against NJIT and Saturday’s contest, he said, because he wanted his players to have maximum recovery time.
Jones said he tried to look for the positive in the team’s depleted roster, adding that it allows for fluidity among GW’s bench.
“Anytime you have injuries, you have to shuffle the pack a little bit,” Jones said. “Like I say to the guys, it gives players an opportunity to play. And it gives other players, that may not necessarily get the minutes, to come in and take advantage of that maybe, and stick a claim for a starting spot.”
Before the Colonials begin A-10 play, Jones said he plans to give his players two days off to rest and take care of any injuries. Tuesday, though, they will begin to prepare for their first league game Friday evening at Richmond.
Jones said it is unfortunate the team will not begin conference play at home, but he is confident and recognizes that it is imperative that the Colonials are successful on the road.
In conference play, the team is not looking to make any major changes, Rudolph said, instead working to build off of the positive things they have done so far this season and to correct the mistakes they have been making. Ranalli said the Colonials are still looking to prove that they are the best team in the A-10. The team’s major goal, he said, is to make it to the championship, and next week marks the beginning of that path.
“It’s a whole new season next week,” Ranalli said.