In lieu of fall sports, we’re dusting off the history books and taking a look back on 10 of the best GW sports moments, ever. Here’s to hoping some old-fashioned nostalgia can keep us going until the restart.
No. 4: First NCAA Tournament win sends Colonials to Sweet 16
The 1989 men’s soccer team made history by reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament, becoming the first team to win an NCAA match.
The squad had been to the NCAA Tournament three times prior in 1974, 1977 and 1978, but the Colonials were sent home without a win each time. Eleven years later, the team went on to defeat local rivals George Mason in the first round.
The star-studded squad, led by the school’s all-time winningest coach George Lidster and then-sophomore forward Mario Lone, bounced back from a six-win 1988 campaign and earned an at-large bid to the tournament.
Spurred by eight wins in its first nine matches, the 1989 team went on to set the program record for most wins in a season with 14. Away wins against Georgetown, Syracuse and West Virginia highlighted GW’s regular-season results.
GW featured a high-powered offense during that season, scoring in 16 of its 17 regular season matches. Lone tallied 19 goals, and senior goalkeeper Harry Bargmann stopped 131 shots. Both still stand as single-season records for the program. Lone also set the program record for most games with a goal in a single season, hitting the back of the net in 14 different matches.
A 9–0 thrashing of St. Bonaventure and a 1–0 win over Navy in the week leading up to postseason play set the stage for the Colonials. In the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, the team faced a rematch with Penn State, which had bested GW 2–1 earlier in the season and sent them home from the A-10 Tournament a year before.
GW failed to get its revenge. A brace from Lone was not enough to prevent the Nittany Lions from capturing a 3–2 win en route to their third consecutive A-10 title. Despite their early exit from the conference tournament, the Colonials were ultimately selected to play the Patriots in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Colonials brushed the Patriots aside 3–1, scoring their three goals on just four shots thanks to a series of defensive miscues. George Mason had cut the lead to 2–1 right before halftime, but GW held on during the second half and eventually secured the victory via a late strike from Rod Gee with just 1:26 on the clock.
GW advanced to the Sweet 16 against No. 3 Indiana, which boasted a pair of prolific goalscorers in brothers Ken and Steve Snow. Ken was the reigning Hermann Trophy winner, given to the best male college player in the country.
Both Snows had already earned an international cap for the United States at the time, and Steve would go on to win a gold medal for his country in the 1991 Pan American Games while also playing professionally for 10-time Belgian Champions Standard Liège.
Indiana was a familiar foe for the Colonials. During the previous season, GW traveled to Indiana and knocked off the then-top ranked Hoosiers 1–0.
This time around, Indiana scored two goals on either side of the half and dispatched the Colonials 4–0. Junior forward Ken Snow scored the opening goal six minutes into the match, while Steve Snow notched a goal and an assist. GW launched eight shots but could not hit the back of the net.
In the Elite Eight, Indiana faced D.C.-based opposition again, edging Howard 2–1 in overtime.
Under Lidster, the program was able to capture an A-10 regular-season title in 1992, as well as A-10 Tournament crowns in 2002 and 2004. Lidster retired at the conclusion of the 2011 season after 20 years at the helm and 201 wins. He won his first A-10 Coach of the Year Award in 1989 and tacked on two more before it was all said and done.
Bargmann’s 337 career saves also landed him No. 1 in school history. Lone would go on to become GW’s all-time leader in goals (50) and points (117). In 1989, Lone earned his first of two A-10 Player of the Year awards. He also nabbed spots on the NSCAA All-America Second Team and the NSCAA South Atlantic Region First Team.