Men’s soccer splits pair of conference games – The GW Hatchet

Media Credit: File Photo by Auden Yurman | Senior Photo Editor

GW now sits ninth in the conference, a top-10 finish that would secure a first-round reunion in the A-10 championship next month.

Men’s soccer lost to UMass last week and won against St. Bonaventure in its latest push for the optimal playoff position in the Atlantic 10 Championship.

The Colonials (6-5-2) fell 4-1 to the Minutemen (6-0-5) on Wednesday with limited scoring chances and a goalie slip, but fought their way back into the A with their 3-0 win over the Bonnies -10 table back (3-7-2) Saturday. GW now sits ninth in the conference, a top-10 rank that would secure a first-round bye in the championship if the Colonials close their A-10 list without a late-season slide before the end of October be able.

Here is a recap of the weekend’s games:

Game 1:
Men’s soccer lost its second straight home game 4-1 to the UMass Minutemen in a wet Wednesday game at the Mount Vernon campus field.

After only five shots on target against Duquesne last weekend, GW wanted to overpower their opponents offensively. They finished the game with an outstanding 20 shots compared to their 12.3 shots-per-game average, but the Colonials managed just one point on the scoring charts, while Minutemen junior forward Alec Hughes led UMass to victory with three goals of his own.

The Minutemen’s high pressing prevented GW from holding the ball throughout the game. The Colonials took offensive risks up front but managed to get past Minutemen goalie Matt Zambetti, who made it big and saved all five shots on goal in the game. UMass’s precision finish made all the difference, scoring four goals from just six shots on goal.

The Minutemen took an early lead in the sixth minute of the game after Hughes’ shot from outside the box was intercepted by GW senior goaltender Justin Grady. The Colonials attempted to score a goal of their own, but missed two corners and missed a shot by veteran full-back Elias Norris on target.

Just 10 minutes after the first goal, GW defender Jarred Demott played the ball back to Grady, who tried to clear it but unexpectedly ran into Hughes, who deflected it for his second goal of the game.

GW switched formation from 5-2-3 to 3-5-2, leaving three defenders behind and throwing numbers forward hoping to get back into the game with a stronger attack.

Norris cut the lead to 2-1 in the 30th minute after getting past two Minutemen defenders and finding the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season.

But GW’s hopes of a comeback were short-lived – Hughes found his hat-trick in the 35th minute from a long throw-in which Grady parried but he rebounded perfectly to give Hughes a 3-1 lead. Sophomore goalkeeper Richard Raupp came on in for Justin Grady, who appears to be struggling after a recent hamstring injury from the game against James Madison late last month.

The first half ended with UMass leading 3-1. Neither team showed real dominance in the half, but the Minutemen were able to take their chances to create a crucial lead that remained untouched.

GW continued their offensive pressure in the second half, but Minutemen junior forward Nick Zielonka dashed any last hopes of a GW comeback with a goal that came to victory with an open volley. The Minutemen went more defensively for the rest of the game, trying to hold onto the score and look for victory. With 14 fouls and three yellow cards in the second half, UMass refused to let the Colonials score.

The game ended 4-1 and the loss put GW second to bottom in the conference ahead of St. Bonaventure. For the Minutemen, the win marks their first A-10 win of the season and breaks a three-game streak.

Game 2:
The Colonials’ second A-10 game of the week started with a scoreless first half. GW compiled four shots on goal to St. Bonaventure’s eight. The Colonials shot a .188 clip with a .375 shot-on-goal percentage throughout the game.

Junior defender Aaron Kronenberg scored GW’s first goal of the game – his fifth of the year – in the 58th minute after an assist from senior forward Tom Cooklin. The Colonials scored their second 11 minutes later when Cooklin set up another shot – this time junior defender Lucas Matuszewski fired the goal for his freshman year to extend the lead to 2-0.

GW got their final score of the evening in the 72nd minute when Cooklin added his third assist and handed the ball off to Norris, who scored his sixth goal of the season to end the game 3-0. Rupp, who was in goal, had six shots in his fourth penalty shootout of the season and kept a clean sheet in his 2022 tenure.

The Colonials take on Saint Louis on Saturday with kick-off scheduled for 8 p.m