This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Mark Eisenhauer.
Men’s soccer’s offensive woes resumed Sunday in a 4-0 shutout loss to Robert Morris.
The loss marked the fourth time the team has been shut out this season and came days after a 3-2 overtime win. Starting forwards junior Philip McQuitty and sophomore Angel Valencia combined for just one shot on goal.
“In the first half, we played great. We had chances, we were getting into the right spots. But today we didn’t have the quality in the final third,” head coach Craig Jones said. “Either our final pass was off, or when we did create that chance, we didn’t take advantage of it.”
GW (4-5-0) looked like it had control of the game early, after a few good chances in the Robert Morris (5-5-1) half of the field, but the game’s most pivotal moment came in the 21st minute when GW was awarded a penalty kick.
A 1-0 GW lead seemed inevitable, but Valencia’s shot was stopped by the Robert Morris keeper and turned the tide of the match.
“It was a terrible penalty,” Jones said. “If we had gone 1-0 up it would have probably given us the confidence to score more goals because that’s how well we were playing.”
Robert Morris stepped up the pressure following its big save, and despite being outshot 7-2 in the first half, managed to hold GW scoreless going into the second.
In the 52nd minute, Robert Morris star forward Neco Brett was able to chip a ball over the defense past GW goalkeeper Jean-Pierre van der Merwe, who was off his line.
Then, in the 63rd minute, Brett caught the keeper cheating off his line again, and sent a shot from 50 yards out into the back of the net.
Brett, who entered the game as the nation’s fourth-leading scorer, completed the hat trick in the 73rd minute of play and added one more to his total with just three minutes to play. Following the day’s action, Brett had accrued an impressive 12 goals on the season.
Van der Merwe, whose 4.5 saves per game placed him fourth in the A-10, would only make four saves on the day, the same amount of goals he would allow.
“[Van der Merwe] got beat from about 50 yards on two goals,” Jones said. “I don’t want to jump the gun here and blame him for his positioning until I get to see the video, but as a goalkeeper you can’t let in four goals.”
Despite the lack of finishing, GW was able to tally a total of six shots on goal compared to eight for Robert Morris. The teams also matched each other in physicality, with GW committing 14 fouls to Robert Morris’ 13.
The Colonials enter conference play Saturday when they play Rhode Island on the road.
“It’s a terrible time to lose, and the way we fell apart in the second half obviously doesn’t bode well going into conference next week,” Jones said. “We kind of just have to shake that second half off and look to what’s happened in other games and even the first half today.”