GW Men's Soccer Routs Saint Joseph's, 4-0, in A-10 Opener
Melillo and Berhanu Each Score Twice, Almodovar and Defense Post Second Shutout of Season
Oct. 7, 2011
WASHINGTON - The George Washington men's soccer team began the 2011 Atlantic 10 Conference season Friday where it left off the 2010 campaign with a 4-0 rout of Saint Joseph's at Mount Vernon Field. Junior Mattia Melillo and senior Yoni Berhanu netted two goals apiece to lead the offense, while junior goalkeeper Alejandro Almodovar and the Colonials' defense pitched their second shutout of the season.
"It's so important to win the first game," said head coach George Lidster. "You've really got to win your home games to get into the A-10 Championship. We only have nine games - five at home, four away - and it's gonna take five victories to get us in. So we've started well, and we've really got to win every home game."
GW (3-4-2, 1-0-0 A-10) will play its second of those five home matches this Sunday at 1 p.m., against Temple. Saint Joseph's (1-8-0, 0-1-0 A-10) lost its sixth straight match.
GW capped the 2010 season with a 4-0 victory over SJU in Philadelphia last November, and coupled with a 5-0 romp over the Hawks at Mount Vernon in 2008, the Colonials have outscored their league foe 13-0 in their last three meetings.
Melillo started the scoring surge just 6:55 into the match with a sliding volley into the left-side netting from six yards away following a poor Saint Joseph's clearance. It was Melillo's first goal of the season and first collegiate game-winner, but he wasn't finished.
GW carried the 1-0 lead into the second half when Melillo tallied in the 47th minute for his second goal of the match. Freshman Joe Holleran picked out junior forward Seth Rudolph with a long cross from the left, and Rudolph rose over his defender to nod the ball in front of the goal for Melillo to slam home.
Berhanu then put the match out of reach with two goals in a span of 4:02 to up his season goal total to a team-leading six. In the 64th minute, he converted his fourth penalty kick of the season after sophomore Alex Sandland was fouled in the box during a corner kick service. In the 68th minute, Berhanu worked a give-and-go with sophomore Tyler Ranalli, eventually finishing Ranalli's ground pass from the right endline with a left-footed shot to the lower right corner from 14 yards.
The two goals and four points matched a career-high for Berhanu, while Melillo's two tallies and four points were a career-best.
The Colonials finished with a commanding 19-6 edge in shots and 9-1 advantage in shots on goal. The Hawks' lone attempt on frame came from leading scorer Alex Critzos in the 28th minute, and his attempt was saved off the goal line by Sandland and classmate Abdul Shaban. Almodovar was not forced to make a save to earn both his second career clean sheet and third victory of the season. Defenders Mike Burke, Brice Carr, Shaban and Sandland played the majority of the minutes in front of Almodovar and limited the Hawks' attack.
The victory is the program-best 194th of Coach Lidster's career. Lidster will retire at the conclusion of the 2011 season after 24 years with the program.