This post was written by Hatchet reporter Peter Hoegler.
For the first time since 2011, senior day meant more than just a completed season; today it meant that the men’s soccer team is going to see their first playoff action in four years.
The Colonials clinched a berth in the Atlantic 10 tournament after a dominant second half performance against UMass and a 2-0 win. Junior Garrett Heine got things rolling with his eighth goal of the season in the 55th minute, and senior Oliver Curry put the game away in the 71st minute after finishing a rebound from his initial shot.
With the win, GW improves to 9-7 on the season and 5-2 in the A-10, currently good for second place in the league behind undefeated Dayton.
“We’ve been taking it one game at a game,” head coach Craig Jones said. “Today we got after our players at halftime, we were playing a little too slow. In the second half, we played more direct and got a few goals from it.”
The Colonials looked lethargic and complacent out of the gate and allowed UMass to get a few early chances. After the seniors got their playing time, Jones went to his juniors, Heine and Koby Osei-Wusu, to get the ball rolling a little, but to no avail.
In the second half, GW looked like a new team: they proved they were the more formidable side with crisp passes and unrelenting defense. Ten minutes into the second session, Heine did what he has been doing all season: getting behind the defense and finishing when the Colonials need it most. From that point on, GW controlled possession and wore out the visiting Minutemen.
“Coach challenged us at halftime to [be] more direct and that’s what we did. The playoff berth is great for the program but now the biggest part of the season is coming up, so we have to prepare for that,” Heine said.
Curry got his third goal of the season after his initial shot from the six yard was deflected, to which he then controlled it and buried it over the UMass keeper. GW had a few more opportunities in the final minutes, but at that point the win was secured and the Colonials were going to their first A-10 tournament in four years.
“Each year we’ve improved and now the seniors will have an opportunity to play in their first postseason. It’s great for our players and it shows the program is headed in the direction we want it to move,” Jones said.
The team finishes its season next Saturday at Saint Louis and then starts the A-10 tournament on Nov. 12 at George Mason.