Your Guide to GW sports


Men’s soccer

Two of last year’s Final Four teams, including national champion Virginia, await men’s soccer as part of an 18-match 2015 regular season schedule announced Tuesday by head coach Craig Jones.

“As we celebrate our 50th anniversary of varsity soccer this fall, our schedule is one of the toughest and most challenging since I have been involved with the program,” Jones said in a release.

Catholic (8/21) and James Madison (8/23) will test GW in exhibition contests before the Colonials begin the season at the Kuykenstrong D.C. College Cup, where they will take on American (8/28) and Howard (8/30) in the tournament’s 15th season.

GW will head to California next to square off with Cal State Fullerton (9/4) and San Diego State (9/6) and then pay a visit to Saint Francis (9/16) before a three-game homestand featuring matches against Loyola Maryland (9/19), national semi-finalist UMBC (9/22) and Robert Morris (9/25).

After visiting the reigning champion Cavaliers (9/29), the Colonials kick off their Atlantic 10 schedule on the road at Davidson (10/3) and Saint Joseph’s (10/7).  The team returns to DC to play George Mason (10/10), Longwood (10/13), reigning A-10 champion Rhode Island (10/17) and Saint Bonaventure (10/21).

Games at VCU (10/24), home against Massachusetts (10/31) and at Saint Louis (11/7) will round out the Colonials 2015 campaign as they look to reach the A-10 tournament for the first time since 2011. GW posted a 6-9-2 overall record (2-4-2 A-10) last fall.

“I seem to say this every year, but the A-10 is getting tougher and more competitive every season and every game is a battle,” Jones, in his fourth year as head of the program, said.

The 2015 A-10 Championship will be hosted by George Mason on Nov. 12-15.

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Freshman defender Christian Lawal pushes up field during a 2-0 loss to VCU on Sunday. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Freshman defender Christian Lawal pushes up field during a 2-0 loss to VCU on Sunday. Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

Men’s soccer has not scored a goal in 305 minutes of play.

The Colonials’ scoreless streak continued this weekend when they suffered a 1-0 loss to George Mason on Friday and a 2-0 loss to VCU on Sunday.

Freshman Christian Lawal’s game-winner at St. Bonaventure on Oct. 24th in the 54th minute was the last time the team was able to reach the back of net.

“It’s not like we haven’t created chances,” head coach Craig Jones said. “But sometimes you just need a little bit of luck, sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t, and it just hasn’t gone for us in the last two games where we needed it.”

In their final road game of the season, GW (6-9-1, 2-4-1) squared off against Revolutionary Rival George Mason (11-3-3, 4-2-1), the defending Atlantic 10 champions.

A quiet first half, in which the teams combined for only five shots, ended scoreless.

George Mason senior Timi Mulgrew, the A-10’s leading scorer, was able to break through in the 63rd minute to score what would become the game-winning goal.

The GW offense, led by sophomore Garrett Heine who started at forward, only managed a total of four shots with two of those landing on net. Junior goalkeeper Jean-Pierre van der Merwe would make five saves in the Colonial’s loss.

“It was almost the game of two halves,” Jones said. “We were a better team in the first half but we didn’t score from that possession, but Mason was the better team in the second and were able to score when they had the momentum.”

The team looked to turn things around against the Rams (7-7-4, 4-0-3) at home, but instead faced the same disappointment.

Jones went with two forwards Sunday, starting Lawal and junior Philip McQuitty, but VCU would score in the sixth minute of the game to take an early lead.

The Colonials responded well, nearly scoring equalizers in the 16th and 22nd minutes, but it appeared like no bounce would go their way.

“Sometimes [the problem] is just a bounce in the wrong direction and it’s always frustrating, but that’s how the game is,” senior co-captain Andri Alexandersson said. “But you just have to tell the guys to stay positive and that they’ll get another chance… Unfortunately it didn’t happen in this game, but hopefully it will come next week.”

GW’s momentum would not carry through to the second half, when the Rams put one more away in the 62nd minute to seal their shutout victory. The Colonials had a total of six shots on the day while VCU recorded 15, of which van der Merwe saved a total of five.

“[On Sunday,] we gave an early goal away from not pressing the ball enough, but again I think we played well in spells but we didn’t get enough numbers forward,” Jones said. “I think we did a good job defensively, but we just didn’t offer enough offensively to win either game.”

The Colonials have now fallen out of the top eight teams in the conference and will need to win their final match to have a chance at reaching the postseason.

But they no longer control their own destiny – winning on senior day next Sunday, the final game of the regular season, will not guarantee the team a berth.

The Colonials will play against conference newcomer Davidson at home, where they will honor four graduating seniors.

“If [next Sunday] can’t get this team going I don’t know what will,” Alexandersson said. “It’s going to be a good week of practice, and I think everyone is going to be ready. It’s going to be a big game.”

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Forward Tyler Ranalli, who graduated in May, plays in a game last fall. Hatchet File Photo

Forward Tyler Ranalli, who graduated in May, plays in a game last fall. Hatchet File Photo

Men’s soccer will add five freshmen and one transfer to its roster for the 2014-15 season, head coach Craig Jones announced Friday.

The newcomers are a mix of international students and prospects from the D.C. area.

The team has added three center midfielders: Bowie, Md. native Koby Osei-Wusu, Alex Conning, from London, and Old Dominion University transfer Oliver De Thier, from Great Falls, Va.

San Pedro Garza Garcia native and IMG Academy graduate Santiago Ardila will play as a midfielder, and the team has also recruited Pembury, England’s Christian Lawal as a right back. Ismail Lapp-Kamara, from Silver Spring, Md., will play center back.

“All of our incoming guys have been successful at the youth level both on the field and off, fitting the mold for the type of student-athlete we want to bring to GW,” Jones said in a release. “On the field, as we continue to build the program, I feel our current recruiting class adds depth and healthy competition for our starting spots next fall in all areas on the field.”

Jones said each of the newcomers will vie for playing time, and Conning, Lapp-Kamara and Lawal are the top contenders for a starting spot. The midfielder-heavy roster may force some players to different positions if they want playing time.

Last fall, the Colonials missed out on the postseason for the second-straight year after losing their last four games to finish the season 5-10-2 (2-4-2 Atlantic-10), one game shy of the playoffs.

That disappointment came after draws in games against the league’s top teams, Dayton and Saint Louis, to open conference play, which turned the season into a story about a GW team that failed to reach its potential.

The team is looking to replace five seniors who graduated in May, including defensemen Abdul Shaban and Alex Sandland, midfielder Bailey Hinners and forwards Francisco Solorzano and Tyler Ranalli. Ranalli was the team’s leading scorer with six goals and Hinners’ was an explosive, often emotional, workhorse who led the team with 1,345 minutes played.

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Midfielder Sam Summerlin dribbles down the field in GW's 2-0 loss to George Mason on Sunday. Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor

Midfielder Sam Summerlin dribbles down the field in GW’s 2-0 loss to George Mason on Sunday. Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor

The post was written by Hatchet reporter Scott Nover.

After dropping their match last Sunday against UMass, the men’s soccer team was unable to make a statement in their first ever conference matchup versus George Mason, finding themselves on the wrong end of a shutout 2-0 Sunday.

George Mason dominated early on, maintaining possession for most of the first half while powering 11 first-half shots. The Patriots spent most of their time on offense, challenging the Colonials defenders every step of the way. In the 19th minute, a ball from GMU’s Timi Mulgrew found star forward Jannick Eckenrode, who promptly placed the ball in the left side of the net past goalie Luke Farrell.

“The first goal gave us a bit of a wake-up call. Our older guys started turning on,” goalie Luke Farrell said.

However, the defense’s success since Farrell’s implementation may finally be plateauing as A-10 teams both adapt to his style of play and continue to attack aggressively as conference playoffs draw near.

The GW defense improved after GMU’s initial goal, as the Colonials were able to stop attacks before any more could result in goals. However, the GMU defense was seemed to be even more determined, stifling almost every Colonial attempt to simply gain control of the ball on the Patriot side of the field.

Although the Colonials failed to put any balls past George Mason goalie Steffen Krau, their quality of play increased in the second half. Ball possession, control and passing all improved and the squad functioned as a cohesive whole for the first time all game.

Many of the problems the midfield faced – winning headers, completing passes, moving the ball up – eroded or diminished in second-half play.

Despite a vast improvement in play, the Colonials were pressed with the looming threat of an expiring clock.

In the final five minutes of the game, GW pressed forward, looking to attack, looking for opportunities to break and tie up the game. Unfortunately for the Colonials, the style of play left holes in the defense. Mulgrew, who tallied an assist earlier in the game, broke through GW’s last line of defense, drew the keeper out, and powered a shot into the left side of the net. The goal in the 90th minute gave George Mason a final 2-0 victory.

“On the second goal, it’s the risk you take when we’re pushing to equalize,” Farrell said. “It’s difficult, but that one you gotta let go a little bit. It’s always disappointing, especially at home against our local rivals.”

With the win Sunday, George Mason moves into first place, tied with Saint Louis with fourteen points apiece. GW, on the other hand, has fallen to eighth place, with a 2-2-2 record and eight points on the table.

In order to qualify for the A- 10 Championships, GW must maintain their eighth place standing. Though the road may not exactly be easy, the Colonials have full confidence in their ability to put wins on the board next weekend.

To bounce back in the second half was a “big bonus for me,” head coach Craig Jones. “It shows we have some resilience. It will bode well for next weekend, knowing that it’s a must-win weekend.”

GW will take on Saint Joseph’s on Friday, followed by a meeting with La Salle next Sunday. In order to gain a bid into the tournament, GW must win both games.

“We’re still in complete control of going to the A-10 tournament,” Farell said. “I know we will as long as we get our results next week.”

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Nora Princiotti

Freshman midfielder Tobi Adewole chases after Fordham junior defense Eric Walano in GW's 2-0 win Sunday. Dan Kolonay | Hatchet Photographer

Freshman midfielder Tobi Adewole chases after Fordham junior defense Eric Walano in GW’s 2-0 win Sunday. Dan Kolonay | Hatchet Photographer

The men’s soccer team continued its consistent play Sunday with a 2-0 shutout win over Fordham for its first Atlantic 10 victory this season

The Colonials defense continued its hot streak and finally received support from the offense, which has struggled to counterbalance the strong play on the defensive side.

GW carried their momentum from recent  ties against Saint Louis and Dayton, but entered Sunday’s game with the intent on proving themselves as a formidable conference contender, capable of winning under pressure.

Playing tough opponents has not been a problem. GW have taken three teams into overtime play who have received votes in the SCAA Top 25, two of them ranked.

Oddly, it’s been teams with losing records that have caused the Colonials trouble. Teams like Saint Peters (2-6-4) and NJIT (5-8-2) have handed GW losses this season. The Colonials didn’t want to add Fordham, the A-10’s fourth worst team, to the list.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” head coach Craig Jones said. “We knew it was going to be a constant battle for 90 minutes so it was a great performance for us. A clean sheet, two goals and one in the A-10.”

Fordham (3-7-1) is no offensive juggernaut, but the shutout victory still saw only seven total shots from the Rams’ offense.

Junior goalie Luke Farrell made two saves in Sunday’s victory. Farrell, who replaced Jean-Pierre van der Merwe for the first time against Dayton, has excelled in the starting role, recording his second shutout in three games.

“He deserves to start and right now he’s got the number one spot and really it’s his to lose,” Jones said. “Two clean sheets in three games – he’s really stepped up and he looks like he’s enjoying it.

Farrell and the Colonials’ defense have had only one goal scored against them thus far in A-10 play, but through the first two games of A-10 play GW’s offense could only amount a single goal.

The script to have been similarly in the first half of Sunday’s match, where the Colonials could muster up only two total shots.

Sophomore forward Jonny Forrest has been held to 418 minutes on the pitch due to injury after beginning the season with two goals in three games. Presumed healthy by his coaches, he was substituted in the 27th minute with instructions to stay upfield and do one thing: score.

“Anytime he’s on the field he gives us a different dimension,” Jones said. “When he’s on the field he can score goals.”

The first half was a case of ‘not quite’ for the Colonials’ offense. Despite GW being the quicker team for most of the match, GW were unable to convert those plays into scoring opportunities.

That changed shortly after halftime. Forrest headed a free kick by senior Abdul Shaban into the back of the Fordham net to give the Colonials a 1-0 lead.

Forrest had another chance with 36 minutes left to play, but pulled up limp after beating two Fordham defenders to an open ball in front of the net. Forrest was taken out of the match with an injury.

An unusual suspect also contributed offensively with 85:31 recorded on the clock. Freshman defender Sam Summerlin, who only had one previous shot taken in the entire season, scored his first goal of the season.

“I was behind [the middle defender] by five yards or so but I knew he was going to play it back either to the outside back or to the goalie. I was already pushed high enough so I decided to take a chance and I guess I just beat the goalie to the ball and poked it in,” he said. “I had no celebration planned.”

The Colonials have a good opportunity to continue to develop their momentum when they take on Rhode Island (2-7) Friday at 7 p.m.

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Zach Abaie, men's soccer

Then- junior Zach Abaie dribbles the ball down the field during a home game against Bryant last season. Hatchet File Photo

Correction appended

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Mary Ellen McIntire.

As the end of their season creeps closer, the Colonials suffered two tough losses on the road over the weekend, dropping twice to league foes.

GW opened weekend play Friday against Atlantic 10 newcomer, Butler, falling 4-0 to the Bulldogs.

Butler outshot the Colonials 20-9 on the game, with GW managing just three shots on goal throughout play. Junior co-captain Tyler Ranalli had a team-high two shots for the Colonials. Redshirt freshman goalie Jean-Pierre van der Merwe had four saves.

The team then travelled to Saint Louis to face the No. 20 Saint Louis Billikens Sunday, but was, once again, unable to score, and fell 5-0 to the Billikens.

GW let up an early goal in the 10th minute of play. Ranalli took the Colonials’ first shot in the 16th minute, but the ball went high, and within a minute the Billikens scored again, taking a 2-0 lead. GW had another chance in the 20th minute, when freshman Philip McQuitty took a header-shot that was saved by the St. Louis goalkeeper.

The Colonials found themselves unable to hold the Billikens for the rest of the half, however, as they scored again, ending the first half in a 3-0 lead.

As the second half began, the Colonials held St. Louis at their 3-0 lead. Ranalli took three shots, but was unable to put GW on the scoreboard. Van der Merwe, who had only one save in the first half, had two more in the second.

The Billikens, however, found the back of the net twice more before the end of the half, in the 81st and 88th minutes of play, ending the game with a 5-0 win against the Colonials.

The Colonials travel to Charlotte, N.C. Saturday for their final game of the 2012 season.

Editor’s note: Due to the interruption in the team’s travel plans caused by Hurricane Sandy, The Hatchet was unable to conduct a previously scheduled interview with head coach Craig Jones.

This post was updated Nov. 1, 2012 to reflect the following:

The Hatchet incorrectly spelled Philip McQuitty’s name. The correct spelling is now reflected. We regret this error.

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Senior goalkeeper Alejandro Almodovar reaches for the ball during a past home game against NJIT. Hatchet File Photo.

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Brennan Murray.

Often this season, GW’s strong points in one game have been their weak points in the next, a lack of consistency that’s reflected in its .500 record.

After losing four straight games to close non-conference play, the Colonials (4-7-0) headed to took to the road this weekend to open up conference play against Richmond and regionally ranked A-10 newcomer VCU. Though a combination of stellar defensive play and offensive aggression paved the way for a 2-1 Colonial victory Friday, a relapse into former offensive struggles predestined GW’s 3-0 loss against the Rams Sunday.

“We got off to a great start which is obviously what we wanted to do and then [Sunday] we took a step backwards, if you will,” head coach Craig Jones said. “Overall, after two games on the road, to pick up a win is great. Now we come back to Mount Vernon so we’re looking forward to that little home stretch we have.”

The Colonials kicked off their bout against Richmond in an uncharacteristic way, taking three of the game’s first four shots and setting a quick offensive tempo. Though a brief blip in GW’s defense landed the Spiders with a penalty kick and score in the 13th minute, a strong overall response from the Colonials became the story of the game from there on out.

GW’s senior goalkeeper Alejandro Almodovar did his part to lock things down in front of the net, tallying a career-high nine saves, including a tough stop off a free kick with just three seconds to play in the match. On the attack, the Colonials won two hard-earned goals via two crosses and headers in the box. Freshman Ross Higgins converted the first score – also the first of his career – in the 22nd minute. Junior Bailey Hinners knocked in the winner in the 68th, marking the second time this season that his goal has been the difference maker.

Though GW was outshot 20-11 overall on the day, the Colonials one-upped Richmond 7-6 in the first 45 minutes, making it the first time GW had outshot an opponent in the first half in the their last seven games.

“We started the game very, very well and kept possession. It was very encouraging knowing it’s something we haven’t done in other games but it’s something that we’ve been working hard on,” Jones said. “Good things happen when you shoot.”

As the Colonials opened against VCU on Sunday though, it became clear early on that they didn’t possess the same aggressive style that helped them to victory on Friday. The Rams dominated the stat sheet, most notably in the time of possession and shots taken categories. VCU shot 12 times in the opening period while GW only did twice. And while the Rams found four corner kicks, the Colonials failed to find one until the closing minutes of the game.

GW’s inability to handle first touches well and control possession at midfield gave VCU the chance to develop runs consistently throughout the match. Rams goals in the 27th, 37th, and 70th minutes represented the Colonials’ inefficiency to clamp it down on the defensive end as well, as GW defenders allowed three open shots to sail pass Almodovar without much contest.

The Colonials’ failure to reproduce the balanced effort they put forth against Richmond is something Jones attributes to multiple missed opportunities and misplays.

“Every time we looked like we were getting any kind of momentum, we gave a goal away, which set us back,” Jones said. “We got ourselves into good spots but we just weren’t able to do what we did on Friday.”

Though conference play is still young, Jones said his team needs to find consistency in order to start playing at the next level.

Citing the incongruity of the Colonials playing style over this weekend, Jones said GW must seek out a rhythm they can reproduce half after half, game after game.

“We had a great performance on Friday night. Then we had a poor first half today and a good second half. We need to produce performances that are 90- minute performances and not just 45 or 60 minutes,” Jones said. “We need to be more consistent for the whole game.”

GW will have a chance to improve their conference record when they play A-10 rival La Salle at home Friday.

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Senior Seth Rudolph can boast of honors from two soccer websites this week.

Rudolph was named the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference First Team by College Sports Madness and identified as the No. 4 Player to Watch in the Atlantic 10 by Top Drawer Soccer.

Rudolph was named to the A-10 first team prior to the 2011 season. He ranked fifth in the conference with eight goals, adding three assists for 19 points on the season. Rudolph’s scored 22 career goals as a Colonial, meaning he needs only five goals and eight points to join GW’s all-time top-10 list in both categories.

Rudolph and the Colonials start the 2012 season tomorrow, when they host LIU Brooklyn at 4 p.m.

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Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 6:29 p.m.

Colonial round-up

jamie armstrong volleyball

Then- sophomore Jamie Armstrong, right, sets up for a spike during the D.C. Challenge in fall 2011. Hatchet File Photo

As the school year approaches, the University’s sports programs continue to move toward their upcoming seasons. Here’s a glimpse at some of the Colonial headlines from this week:

  • The volleyball team was picked to finish fourth in the league by a poll of A-10 head coaches, the program’s highest ranking since the 2010 preseason. The Colonials finished fourth of 10 in the conference last season under then-first year head coach Amanda Ault.
  • The men’s soccer team announced its captains for the upcoming season Wednesday, tabbing seniors Alejandro Almodovar and Seth Rudolph and junior Tyler Ranalli for the leadership positions. Almodovar recorded three shutouts in goal for GW last season, and ranked second in the Atlantic 10 with 0.43 shutouts per game played. Rudolph is the returning leading scorer for the Colonials, tallying eight goals and 19 points in 2011 en route to first-team honors. Ranalli saw his playing time double last year, making the first six starts of his career and adding his first career goal and assist as a Colonial.
  • Senior Omar Sobhy is currently the top-ranked player in the U.S. Squash Adult M 5.0 Division, the governing agency of competitive squash announced this week. Sobhy, who was a member of the Colonials that won the Summers Cup (C-Division) Championship last season, is also the only GW player to ever capture an individual national title.
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women's crew, rowing

Twenty members of the woman's rowing team made the A-10 commissioner's honor role this spring. Students had to earn a 3.5 GPA in the spring 2012 semester. File Photo

The Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the spring 2012 semester contains 89 GW student-athletes, the league announced today.

Every University program sponsored by the A-10 is represented on the list. To be eligible for the honor roll, a student-athlete must compete in a conference-sponsored sport and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale for the semester.

“In what was a banner year in terms of championships for GW Aahletics, we’re equally as proud that all of our 16 A-10 programs and 89 student-athletes were recognized on the commissioner’s honor holl,” Associate Athletic Director for Educational Support Services Karen Ercole said in a statement. “These 89 student-athletes proved to be extremely committed both in competition and in the classroom, characteristics that are paramount to the success of GW athletics and the George Washington University.”

The women’s rowing team, which earned a berth in the A-10 championship last season, led all University programs with 20 members named to the honor roll. The women’s soccer team was next, with 10, followed by the men’s soccer team, with seven. The women’s basketball team saw four players named to the honor roll, the men’s basketball team had two.

A combined 1,369 student-athletes were named to the list, the most during current A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade’s tenure. GW was one of seven member institutions to have all of its league-sponsored programs represented on the honor roll.

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