Men’s soccer suffered its first loss of the season in a competitive showdown against Lehigh at Mount Vernon field Saturday.
The Colonials (2–1–0) struggled to push their offense past the suffocating defense of the Mountain Hawks (1–2–0), eventually succumbing to the team 0–1.
The game’s only goal came in the 18th minute after a yellow card issued in the box to GW allowed Lehigh to net a penalty kick and jump ahead of the Colonials.
Head coach Craig Jones said although his team consistently made solid plays throughout Saturday’s match, they failed to successfully execute and put the ball in the net when they got the opportunity.
“We could play for another two hours today and I don’t think we would have scored,” he said.
Lehigh was on the attack from kickoff, earning nine shots in the first half alone. But the Colonials did not get their first shot off until the 23rd minute and by then, the Mountain Hawks already had seven shots and one goal to their name.
“We lacked that kind of killer instinct, if you like, in the box to score,” Jones said.
The Colonials ended the game outshooting the Mountain Hawks 14–12, but most of the team’s attempts came in the second half.
GW’s aggressive style of play got them in trouble early. Within the first 18 minutes of play, two yellow cards were issued against the Colonials, the second of which led to Lehigh’s go-ahead goal.
“Definitely things did get out of hand,” junior defender Reese Moore said. “It was a chippy game.”
The Mountain Hawks responded with a forceful play of their own and a red card was given to freshman forward Michael Tahiru in the 26th minute, leaving Lehigh with only 10 men on the field. The two teams racked up 19 combined fouls through the first half.
Jones said the calls against GW early on were the result of unintentional fouls and his players getting to challenges late.
“There was nothing malicious about some of the challenges early on, but they obviously reacted and the guy threw a blatant elbow and that’s a red card,” he said.
After the red card call, Jones said both teams were able to settle down.
Although the Colonials were more composed in the second half, GW’s offense still could not find the frame despite controlling the ball for long periods and making eight shots on goal.
“They defended well,” junior defender Gabriel Seemungal said. “There wasn’t much space in the middle of the pitch.”
Sophomore forward Oscar Haynes Brown, who scored seven goals through GW’s first two matchups, had the squad’s best chance to score in the 85th minute, gunning a shot barely wide of the net in a last-minute attempt to keep the Colonials in the game.
GW kept up the intensity in the game’s final minutes, scrambling for opportunities to find the net and get on the scoreboard, but it wasn’t enough for the team to rise over Lehigh.
“We just couldn’t quite find that final pass, that final shot to get the goals,” he said.
The Colonials will take the field again Friday for their first road game of the season against Brown. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.