Men’s soccer earned a throw-in 40 seconds into its game against Davidson Wednesday that turned out to be crucial.
Freshman defender Joshua Yurasits’ long throw from the left side of the field found junior forward Dylan Lightbourn inside the 18-yard box. Lightbourn slotted the ball past the Wildcats’ keeper and gave GW a 1–0 advantage in the opening minute.
Following the ensuing kickoff, Davidson went on the counter attack that opened up a scoring opportunity two minutes later. Wildcats sophomore defender Malcolm McCabe received a ball over the defense, giving him a one-on-one with the goalkeeper from less than 10 yards out. His shot deflected off the right post and the following attempt by junior defender Jordan Hill went wide.
The Colonials (7-6-2, 4-2-0 A-10) scored for a second time in the 20th minute and held on for the remainder of the afternoon for a 2–0 victory over Davidson (7-5-2, 2-3-1 A-10).
“It was an incredible start off early,” Lightbourn said. “That is a key thing we want to do, we want to start off early, get them riled down and just play our game. And we did that today.”
The win – which extends the Colonials’ unbeaten streak at home to five games – comes after a 2–1 road victory over VCU Saturday and gives GW 12 points in Atlantic 10 play, good for top in the conference until games finish later in the day. Last year, the final seed in the conference tournament finished the year with 11 points.
“We are focusing on trying to get a top seed,” Lightbourn said. “Obviously we want to win the regular season, that would be great opportunity but we have got to focus on next game and make sure that we keep rolling.”
The second goal also came off of a service from Yurasits. He sent a ball from 30 yards out into the box where senior midfielder Koby Osei-Wusu was there to finish with his head.
“It one of the best balls that I’ve seen this season,” head coach Craig Jones said. “As much as Koby is in a good spot, he hasn’t got to do much because the ball in is just so good.”
The goal was Osei-Wusu’s third of the year and Yurasits recorded his first two career assists on the day.
The Colonials have now scored multiple goals in each of their last four games – a feat GW accomplished only once in its opening 11 games.
With zero goals allowed on 12 shots, junior goalkeeper Thor Arne Höfs – who leads the league in saves – recorded his fifth shutout of the year and third in the last five games.
GW was without its two top scorers coming into the game – freshmen Oscar Haynes Brown and Brady O’Connor both did not dress due to injury. Jones used three subs on the afternoon, including sophomore midfielder Drini Redzepi who played 76 minutes on the wing.
“The guys who are left have given us quality minutes,” Jones said. “The three or four guys that we have used off the bench have stepped up and filled the gaps a little bit for them.”
After the early offensive action, the game slowed down and GW began to control the possession. Several penalties on both sides hindered multiple offensive pushes.
At the 25-minute mark, the Wildcats got a free kick on the right side of the box. But the Colonials cleared out the danger before the Davidson forwards could take a shot.
Seven minutes before half time, a hard shot from Osei-Wusu was saved, eliminating one of GW’s best opportunities in the late minutes of the period.
Davidson earned a corner kick with 10 seconds left before the break, but a floating cross was grabbed by Höfs and the Colonials went into the half with a 2–0 lead.
The Wildcats picked up their offensive attack at the start of the second half, earning two corner kicks and challenging the GW defense before the 55th minute.
“Down 2–0 they are going to throw everything at you, come out fighting and as strong as they can,” Jones said. “We knew that was going to happen, but it is still tough to defend against.”
Neither team took control of the position in the next 20 minutes and both sides were making long runs down the sidelines. Senior midfielder Oliver Curry took a hard shot in the 65th minute that flew over the net.
In the final 20 minutes, the Colonials started to delay their throw-ins and goal kicks and play through their defense more often – limiting Davidson’s chances on the ball.
The Colonials return to action for their final regular-season home game Saturday against Duquesne at 2 p.m.