It took men’s soccer 56 minutes to find the back of the net in GW’s season opener Friday, but the team still came away with a win.
Heading into halftime, the Colonials were down 1–0 to Stony Brook, but a second-half hat trick by sophomore forward Oscar Haynes Brown helped the team earn its first win of the season 3–2 over the Seawolves at Mount Vernon field.
Haynes Brown led GW’s offense with three goals and seven shots, while senior goalkeeper Thor Arne Hofs collected four saves while minding the net. Sophomore defender Joshua Yurasits had a team-high two assists.
“It’s nice to get off to a good start after all the hard work during preseason,” Haynes Brown said of his performance. “It seems to have all paid off, I just hope to keep it going next game.”
The ball stayed around midfield throughout the opening minutes of the first half. The Colonials were struggling to move the ball forward past the midfield line, while Stony Brook’s counter attack kept the defensive line on its toes.
Stony Brook’s first goal came off a set piece with 22 minutes left in the half, when a deep free kick was served into the middle of the box and headed in by junior midfielder Gabriel Fernandes.
“In the first half, I think we were rushing things in the final third,” head coach Craig Jones said. “Sometimes you have got to be a little bit more patient, so I thought we rushed a lot and our decision making in the final third wasn’t quite there, they weren’t quite connected.”
The Seawolves continued to knock on GW’s door, tallying three more shots on goal in the first frame. With 16 minutes left to play, Hofs saved a low-shot ball with his feet, spreading his body across the net to keep the Colonials down by one.
GW’s offensive pace picked up in the final 10 minutes of the first frame, sparked by a free kick for the Colonials taken steps outside the penalty area by sophomore forward Brady O’Connor.
The ball traveled across the face of the net and found the feet of junior midfielder Drini Redzepi, but his shot was blocked out of bounds. With two minutes left before half, Stony Brook freshman goalkeeper Christian Miesch saved a rocket shot from Haynes Brown to close out the frame.
“The last 10 minutes of the first half was really how we wanted to play the entire game,” Jones said.
During halftime, Haynes Brown said the team decided to swap his position so he would play on the left side of the field and be mismatched with Stony Brook’s right defender.
The Colonials kept up the momentum from the final minutes of the first half and Haynes Brown’s changeup got the team’s offense flowing. In the second half alone, the team collected seven shots on goal.
Eleven minutes into the final frame, Haynes Brown received the ball from Yurasits at the top of the 18-yard box and launched a shot into the top right corner of the net to neutralize the game.
The go-ahead goal came with 18 minutes left in the game when Haynes Brown tracked down a loose ball, beat a defender one-on-one and placed an open-hipped shot into the net to put GW up 2–1.
Just four minutes later, Haynes Brown struck again, this time from just outside of the 18-yard box to give GW its final goal and package up Haynes Brown’s hat trick.
The Seawolves got the last word when a long ball played into the penalty box made its way into the back of GW’s net with two minutes left in the match, but it wasn’t enough for the team to come up with a win.
“It’s a little disappointing to give the goal up because it’s a long, diagonal ball which we were expecting to come up against today,” Jones said. “I just thought we could have dealt with it a little bit better.”
The Colonials return to action Monday at home against American. Kick off is slated for 4 p.m.