GW Men's Soccer Clinches A-10 Championship Berth With 3-0 Shutout of St. Bona
Berhanu Nets Two as Colonials Climb to Top of League Table, Give Lidster 199th Career Victory
Nov. 4, 2011
WASHINGTON - Senior Yoni Berhanu led the way with two goals and the Colonials' defense pitched its fourth straight home shutout as the George Washington men's soccer team clinched a bid to next weekend's Atlantic 10 Championship with a 3-0 victory over St. Bonaventure at Mount Vernon Field Friday afternoon.
The victory is GW's fourth straight and improves the team to 8-6-2 overall. The Colonials are currently in first place in the A-10 standings with 18 points and a 6-2-0 league mark. GW is now 5-0-0 at Mount Vernon this season, having not surrendered a goal at the facility in more than 369 minutes of action while outscoring opponents 14-2 in the five matches.
The berth in the A-10 Championship is the program's 11th overall and first since claiming the league's 2004 tournament title. The 2011 A-10 Championship will be hosted by Saint Louis University at Robert R. Hermann Stadium next Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Friday's triumph also marked the 199th career victory for George Lidster, who will coach his final game at Mount Vernon Field on Sunday as GW hosts Duquesne at 1 p.m. The Colonials will honor Lidster and seniors Yoni Berhanu, Mike Burke, Brice Carr and Jake Davis prior to their final home match at Mount Vernon on Sunday. A victory over Duquesne on Sunday would give GW at least a share of its first A-10 regular-season title since 1992.
Berhanu converted a penalty kick in the 13th minute and buried a rebound from a failed spot attempt at the 74:00 mark to spark the Colonials to the postseason-clinching victory. He now leads GW with nine goals and 21 points this season.
Berhanu's game-winner was set up by reigning A-10 Co-Player of the Week and College Soccer News National Team of the Week member Zach Abaie, whose lethal midfield service led to junior Seth Rudolph being taken down in the box by St. Bonaventure goalkeeper Bobby Diaz. Diaz received a yellow card for the challenge and Berhanu easily beat the keeper to give GW a 1-0 advantage.
GW added to its lead in the 35th minute when sophomore Tyler Ranalli managed to redirect a loose ball in the box past Diaz to make it 2-0. Junior Mike Burke's long throw-in into the box was headed by both a SBU defender and junior Mattia Melillo before finding the foot of Ranalli for the goal.
Berhanu's perfect 5-for-5 streak of penalty-kick conversions came to an end in the second half when Diaz turned away a 12-yard attempt in the 74th minute. However, Diaz surrendered a rebound directly to Berhanu, who calmly one-timed a shot into the open side of goal to give GW a comfortable 3-0 lead.
St. Bonaventure (4-11-3, 0-6-2 A-10) forced GW junior goalkeeper Brendan Lafferty into just one save on the day as only one of its 12 shots reached target. Senior Mike Burke, junior Jamie LaFleur and sophomore Alex Sandland turned in 90-minute efforts along the backline and blocked a number of SBU's 12 shot attempts.
Diaz finished with six saves as the Colonials put nine of their 16 shots on frame.
Rudolph, who is second on the team in scoring with eight goals and 19 points, left the match in the 69th minute with a leg injury sustained during a 50-50 loose ball in SBU's defensive third.