Updated: Oct. 10, 2018 at 9:19 p.m.
Men’s soccer picked up its first conference win in a 4–0 game over St. Bonaventure Wednesday at home.
Heading into the match, the Colonials (5–5–1, 1–2–0 A-10) sat in last place in the Atlantic 10 standings and were coming off of a 2–0 loss to George Mason, a team that had not won a conference game since 2015.
But on the field Wednesday, the Colonials’ defense held the Bonnies (5–5–1, 2–2–0 A-10) to just one shot on goal the entire match to earn the shutout.
“The game plan was we didn’t want to concede any goals,” head coach Craig Jones said. “So that’s the bottom line.”
The clean sheet is the fourth for the Colonials on the year and the 21st career shutout for senior goalkeeper Thor Arne Hofs – breaking a program record set in 1978 by Jeff Brown. GW’s four goals are also the most the team has scored in an A-10 match since 2011.
In the week leading up to the game, Jones said the team was working on cleaning up its defense both individually and as a team.
GW ended the game outshooting the Bonnies 23–8 with 16 on frame. St. Bonaventure senior goalkeeper Luke Iacobellis tallied 12 saves in the game to Hofs’ one.
“It’s disappointing when you have probably 10 shots inside the 18-yard box and you don’t score, which is our case,” Jones said. “Even though we got four today, we weren’t clinical enough for me.”
The Colonials were led by sophomore forward Oscar Haynes Brown, who knocked in two goals on a career-high 13 shots on the day. Graduate student midfielder Haukur Hilmarsson notched his first goal and first assist of the season in the match and sophomore midfielder Brady O’Connor buried a penalty shot to help GW earn the win.
Haynes Brown’s two goals give him 11 total this season, the first time a Colonial has hit double-digit scoring since 2011.
GW got on the scoreboard first when Hilmarsson collected a loose ball in front of the net and served a low ball to the feet of Haynes Brown, who turned and shot the ball into the bottom left corner to put the Colonials up 1–0 in the 21st minute of the game.
GW continued to put pressure on the Bonnies’ backline throughout the first half.
The Colonials had two more opportunities to add to their lead when they were awarded back-to-back free kicks right outside the St. Bonaventure penalty box with 15 minutes left in the first half.
Hilmarsson took the first free kick a few yards out and to the left of St. Bonaventure’s penalty box. The shot went straight into the Bonnies’ wall, but GW was awarded a handball this time a few inches outside the 18-yard box. The second time, Hilmarsson’s shot sailed just over the crossbar.
At the half, the Colonials led 1–0, outshooting the Bonnies 12–3 and holding their opponent to no shots on goal.
“We cut out the defensive mistakes today,” Jones said. “And obviously if we can do that, then teams have to score good goals to beat us.”
GW’s defense continued to hold St. Bonaventure, limiting the Bonnies to five shots in the second half of the game.
The Colonials found the net for the second time in the game when Haynes Brown was taken down in the penalty box and GW was awarded a penalty kick with 32 minutes left in the game. O’Connor rocketed the ball into the back of the net to give GW a 2–0 advantage.
The Bonnies found the back of the net in the 68th minute, but the goal was pulled back due to an offsides call.
Six minutes later, O’Connor won the ball in the middle of the field and found the feet of Haynes Brown, who broke through the defensive line and easily flicked the ball over the keeper’s head to give GW its third goal.
The Colonials found the back of the net one last time with five minutes left in the game when junior midfielder Max Holdsworth laid the ball off to Hilmarsson running down the right side of the field. Hilmarsson carried the ball nearly to the endline before turning and blasting the ball across the face of the net and into the opposite corner.
“Must needed win, must needed win for sure,” junior midfielder Colin Anderson said.
The Colonials return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. to take on VCU – the top team in the A-10 – at home.
This post has been updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Oscar Haynes Brown has scored 10 goals this season. He has scored 11 goals. We regret this error.