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The GW Hatchet

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By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Men’s soccer drops second straight game by slim margin against Howard

Graduate student midfielder and forward Haukur Hilmarsson settles the ball during a game against Howard. The Colonials fell 1–0 to the Bison.

Men’s soccer narrowly lost its final nonconference matchup of the season to Howard Tuesday.

The Bison (3–8–1, 0–1–0) bested the Colonials (3–9–1, 1–3–0 A-10) 1–0 after a back-and-forth game. GW notched 20 shots on goal, well above its season average of 13.4 and Howard’s seven shots on the day.

“You’ve got to be a little more aggressive and desperate to get on the end of things to score,” head coach Craig Jones said. “Sometimes it’s about bravery. Sometimes it’s a little bit of luck, but in the final third, we’ve got to have more conviction and believe we’re going to score.”

The Colonials dominated the first half, piecing together eight shots compared to Howard’s one. But GW only put one shot on frame in the first 45 minutes.

Senior defender Colin Anderson led the way for the Colonials, registering three shots in the first half before exiting the game with a lower-body injury. He ranks seventh for the Colonials in minutes played with 823 under his belt.

“We’ll know more probably tomorrow morning, but right now I don’t think he can put pressure on his foot,” Jones said.

The Colonials will also play without senior defender and midfielder Alexy Boehm, who picked up his fifth yellow card against Howard, in their next game.

The Bison saw a scoring opportunity in the 30th minute, but senior goalkeeper Noah Lubin, who started the match, stepped up and batted the ball from the box.

The Colonials rode the momentum from Lubin’s play and charged toward the Howard net. Graduate student midfielder and forward Sandro Weber shot a rocket on frame, but the ball traveled high over the right corner. The two teams went into halftime deadlocked at zero.

Grady, who had not seen action since Sept. 28 when the team played George Mason, replaced Lubin at halftime, a move Jones said was planned before the match.

“We just wanted to get Justin some actual game minutes, because he hasn’t over the last,” Jones said. “No matter what happened in the first half, we already talked to the keepers and made that decision pregame.”

The squad earned two corner kicks and two shots on goal to start the second half. The team’s best chance for a goal came in the 55th minute. Weber was taken down in the box and earned a penalty kick, but he sent the ball over the crossbar, keeping the game knotted at zero.

But less than two minutes later, Howard netted the game-winner. Senior midfielder Andres Gomez launched a ball on net. Freshman goalkeeper Justin Grady slapped the ball away, but it bounced back to Gomez, who finished the play and scored.

“We’ve gone down 1–0 a few times this season, and I think at first we struggled with it, but I think now people understand that there’s a 50 percent chance that you can go down in a game,” senior defender Reese Moore said. “We’ve practiced it, and people have really stood up to the challenge and matured when down 1–0.”

Down a goal with less than 30 minutes to play, the Colonials rained shots on the Howard net, sending eight balls senior goalkeeper Carlos Caro’s way.

The squad’s best chance came in the 86th minute. The ball trickled behind Caro and lurked around the goal line, but a Colonial was unable to push it in and the Bison cleared the ball down the field.

Despite 20 shots and 12 corner kicks, the Colonials dropped their second consecutive game 1–0 to Howard. Graduate student midfielder and forward Haukur Hilmarsson said the team needs to relax in the final third and finish its chances ahead of its next game.

“We just have to give it our all,” Hilmarsson said. “We’ve got to play for each other. When we get in the good spots, we need to relax and take a deep breath and then finish the chances.”

The Colonials are back in action Saturday for the second game of their three-game homestand against Davidson. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.

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