Men’s soccer suffered a loss against Navy, Friday afternoon.
The Colonials (2-2-1) fell to the unbeaten Midshipmen (4-0-1) in a 1–0 defeat. Despite an offensive surge in the final quarter of the game, the Colonials could not find the back of the net to salvage a point on the day.
GW was outshot 7-1 in the first half but ramped up the offensive pressure in the second to register eight shots in the final half, including three attempts on frame. Senior Navy goalkeeper Tyler Fahning made four saves to notch the shutout, while junior goalkeeper Justin Grady made three stops to keep GW within reach of a draw.
“I thought we just started too flat, we lacked energy, we looked tired,” Head Coach Craig Jones said. “Which even in the away games, we started the games well and strong. And at home, you always expect to start strong. So once we didn’t do that it was tough to get out of it. We can’t just flick a switch and decide ‘Oh, now we’re going to go high energy.’”
GW suffered a blow in the opening minutes when graduate student midfielder Sandro Weber injured himself lunging to save the ball from going out of bounds and keep a play alive. He was subbed off after the referee stopped play in the third minute of play.
Jones said he anticipates that Weber will miss the next match against William & Mary.
Navy had the first chance of the match about ten minutes in when a cross from the left side fell kindly for a Midshipmen player, who blasted the ball over the bar. Nearly three minutes later, another Navy attacker broke free from sophomore defender Aaron Kronenberg down the left side yet again, flashing a cross with outside of his right boot that narrowly missed an incoming runner.
But the Midshipmen earned a corner kick in the 17th minute. A Colonial defender headed the cross away but it fell right into the path of sophomore midfielder Jason Aoyama, who rocketed a shot from just outside the 18-yard box into the top left corner of the net to put Navy up 1–0.
Graduate student forward Oscar Haynes Brown registered the only shot of the half for the Colonials from the top of the box in the 32nd minute. After making a quick turn, he curled his attempt wide and to the left of the frame.
Grady made a crucial save in the 33rd minute when sophomore forward Baba Kallie muscled his way past Kronenberg. A long ball clearance by Navy set in place the counterattack but Grady cut down the angle to make the stop.
In the last five minutes, Junior defender Ryan Cedeno whipped in a cross meant for Haynes Brown but Fahning snatched the ball in the air before he could get on to it. Haynes Brown nearly got onto another ball in the final seconds but it bounced too far in front of him to reach it. The Colonials remained behind 1–0 at the whistle.
“We didn’t execute what we wanted to execute,” Jones said. “I think we had too many guys try to create stuff and that wasn’t quite there, which isn’t a bad thing. They just want to win. But then we’re going further and further away from the game plan.”
Graduate student midfielder Matthew Brummet tried to draw the Colonials in the first minute of the second half after an attempted clearance fell to him at the corner of the box. He tried his luck with a half volley strike but his attempt sailed wide.
Navy attempted to bolster their lead two minutes later when a through ball down the left side but a Midshipmen attacker in on goal. Graduate student defender Joshua Yurasits stepped in front before the attacker could threaten the goal.
“Obviously, they started getting their outside backs up and kind of overloading the sides,” Yurasits said. “But it all goes to communication and staying organized which we’ve worked on through the pre season and first couple of games.”
But the Colonials had little time to breathe when senior forward Joe Alex made an uncontested run into the box and unleashed a first time strike in the 54th minute. The shot whipped against the underside of the crossbar, bouncing low and away from the net, allowing Grady to collect the ball before any damage could be done.
In the 63rd minute, Navy nearly doubled their advantage yet again. Grady came out to contest a through ball into the right side of the box, caught out of position after underestimating the speed of the Navy senior forward Jacob Williams. Kronenberg stepped in front to stop the play but Williams cut the ball back to his left foot and bent the ball past Grady. Senior midfielder Grant Barrientos made a goal line save with a header to stay in the game.
GW found a flicker of hope with just five minutes remaining when junior midfielder Elias Norris earned a free kick off a foul toward the edge of the box. Junior midfielder Tiago Carvalho delivered the ball into the box and it was cleared out to Yurasits who sent the ball back into play toward junior forward Liam Emson, but Emson’s header landed safely in the keeper’s grasp.
With four minutes left to play, Emson had another free header at goal inside the box but couldn’t generate enough power to steer the ball past the keeper. Barrientos had another headed chance but it didn’t do much to trouble Fahning who milked the clock before booming the ball away to seal the game.
The Colonials will hit the road for the final four games of the non-conference slate, starting with a matchup against William & Mary next Tuesday at 7 p.m.