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Men’s soccer races back from deficit in late-game push to tie Navy

File Photo by Auden Yurman | Senior Photo Editor
GW’s offense is off to a much hotter start than last season, on pace to shatter its previous18-goal total with 12 already on the books and 14 games left to go.

Men’s soccer tied its second match of the season after struggling to keep the Navy attack at bay in a 3–3 game in Annapolis on Friday.

The Colonials (2-1-2) failed to maintain a strong defensive line under the weight of three goals by the Midshipmen (1-2-2) but ramped up their offense near the end of the second half to even the score before time expired. The Navy team dominated ball possession during the first half of the match as they fired at the net but to no avail with senior goalkeeper Justin Grady locking up in front of the net.

Firing shots on goal at a .357 clip, the Colonials finished with a .214 shooting percentage, an improvement in their offensive output compared to the .064 average in their last game against Mount St. Mary’s. GW’s offense is off to a much hotter start than last season, on pace to shatter last season’s 18-goal total with 12 already on the books and 14 games left to go.

The first attack of the game came in the third minute with a left-side shot from freshman forward Andrew Schug for the Navy team that failed to enter the net. The Colonials responded, moving the ball into the Midshipmen’s zone with a corner kick but failed to finish the shot on goal.

The offense gained steam after two Navy substitutions paved the way for junior defender Zach Wagner to score with a loose ball on the volley to gain the first goal for the Midshipmen. Navy held the upper hand after halting a pair of shots on goal from freshman forward Alex Nicholson and senior midfielder Tom Cooklin.

The GW team tied the game in the 29th minute when a corner kick by Cooklin fed the ball to junior defender Aaron Kronenberg at the far post, who promptly knotted the game at 1–1.

The final minutes of the game led to six combined substitutions from both teams that rallied momentum for the Navy team with a corner shot that led freshman forward A.J. Schuetz to shoot and miss.

The Midshipmen took the lead with their second goal of the evening two minutes into the second half of the game as junior midfielder David Jackson scored from just outside the box. The Navy team followed up with two unsuccessful shots on goal by junior forward Baba Kallie and sophomore midfielder Noah Ward.

The Colonials gained possession, setting up Kronenberg to shoot from the top right and skip it just past the top of the right post. Navy responded with a corner kick at the 58-minute mark, where senior midfielder Sam Kriel scored from just outside the box, making it a 3–1 lead for the Navy team.

After replacing senior midfielder Roee Tenne, senior midfielder Elias Norris collected a nifty feed from senior midfielder Tiago Carvalho in the 65th minute and connected inside the net, cutting the Navy lead to 3–2 and pulling the Colonials into striking distance.

GW made the most of their offensive maneuvers during the 83rd minute with a long run from Cooklin who dished it to junior midfielder Carter Humm. With a flashy play in the clutch, Humm backheeled the ball past the goal’s far post and into the net to tie the match 3–3.

The goal was the first of his 28-game GW career.

The Colonials had one more shot to score in the final minute of the second half for a chance to win after earning a penalty on a Midshipmen handball, but Navy goalkeeper Pierce Holbrook blocked a kick from Cooklin.

GW put on a lively offensive performance on the field but lacked the tight defensive organization needed to keep Navy from entering the box and scoring. A strong effort by the Midshipmen’s goalkeeper kept the Colonials unsteady as they failed to capitalize on multiple scoring opportunities.

The Colonials head 100 miles to the northeast to play non-conference rival Delaware Tuesday, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

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