GW Men's Soccer Gives Jones Golden Win in Debut
Aug. 24, 2012
WASHINGTON - Junior Tyler Ranalli tapped in the rebound after sophomore Joe Holleran's initial shot was saved in the 107th minute to give the George Washington men's soccer team a thrilling 1-0 double-overtime victory over LIU Brooklyn in the season opener on Friday evening at the GW Soccer Field on the Mount Vernon Campus.
The win was the first in the career of GW head coach Craig Jones ('99), who took over at the helm this season following the retirement of the program's all-time winningest coach, George Lidster. In addition, the Colonials won their season opener for the first time since 2007.
Neither team could get much going offensively in a physical first half, combining for just five total shots in the opening 45 minutes.
The teams picked up the pace in the second stanza, but were still locked in a scoreless draw at the end of regulation. Despite a 7-5 shot advantage for the Blackbirds in the period, the Colonials had the better scoring opportunities.
In the 96th minute, sophomore Farhan Khan attempted to repeat his heroics of last season, when he scored the game-winner late in the second overtime of the Atlantic 10 semifinals, but his shot from point-blank range was denied by LIU keeper Nathan Stockie.
Less than a minute later, LIU midfielder Nahuel Medina responded, but GW senior goalie Alejandro Almodovar made a diving save to his right to keep the game alive. The Blackbirds got off two more shots at the end of the first overtime, but neither found the back of the net.
Holleran, who had the assist on Khan's golden goal in the A-10 Championship, had been off the field for nearly 86 minutes, but re-entered the game in the 106th minute, and ninety seconds later, he slid a shot from the left side that Stockie got his hands on but could not smother. The ball dribbled to Ranalli, who knocked in the rebound for the dramatic victory.
"I was a little nervous that we weren't going to make that final breakthrough, but I'm delighted to get my first win, and I'm delighted for the guys - they worked hard," Coach Jones said.
Almodovar, who ranked second in the A-10 with 0.43 shutouts per game last season, posted the fourth clean slate of his career while matching his career high with seven saves in 106:35 of action. Stockie stopped four shots for the Blackbirds, who held a 15-10 shot advantage for the game.
The Colonials return to action on Thursday, Aug. 30, when they take on District rival George Mason in the first game of the annual D.C. College Cup on the campus of American University.