Colonials Advance to A-10 Championship Final on Penalty Kicks, 4-3
The fourth-seeded George Washington men's soccer team (8-8-4) advanced to the final of the Atlantic 10 Championship, out-dueling top-seeded Duquesne (13-6-1) on penalty kicks, 4-3, on Friday, Nov. 12 at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex.
Junior Ben Mortimer buried a shot into the top right-hand corner of the net in the fifth round of the shootout to put the Colonials in the championship match, where they will take on the No. 3 seed, Temple. It is the second time in the last three years that GW will compete in the tournament's title match. The Colonials also appeared in the A-10 final in 2002, defeating Duquesne to win its only conference championship.
In first round of the shootout, junior goalkeeper Derek Biss made a diving stop on the Dukes' Matt Mehler to shift the momentum to the Colonials. Junior Frank Ambrosio then converted on GW's first penalty-kick attempt to give the Colonials a 1-0 edge. After Duquesne's Scott Gibson scored in the second round, Dukes' keeper Zach Varga denied senior Matt Miller's attempt to keep the score 1-1 heading into the third round. Both squad's converted their third-round penalty kick opportunities, but Biss came up big for the Colonials again, making another diving save on Duquesne's Jason Sourbeer on the Dukes' fourth kick. Junior Andre Chapman took GW's fourth attempt and his low blast was initially stopped by Varga, but the ball trickled over the goaline to put the Colonials ahead, 3-2. Derek MacKenzie converted Duquesne's final penalty-kick chance, setting the stage for Mortimer's heroics on GW's last kick.
The thrilling match ended in a 1-1 tie with each team scoring on a penalty kick in regulation. MacKenzie gave the Dukes a 1-0 lead when he converted a penalty-kick chance with 1:57 left in the opening half. The Colonials tied the match when Mortimer scored on a penalty kick at 72:51 after Varga was called for a foul in the box.
The contest moved to overtime where Duquesne outshot the Colonials, 3-1, in both extra frames, but could not register the golden goal. The Dukes had the best scoring opportunity of either team in the overtime periods when Trocon Reffell rocketed a shot off the crossbar on a direct kick with less than a minute to play in the first OT.
The Colonials unbeaten streak now stands at eight games, two short of the team record of 10 set in 1977 (10-0) and 1987 (8-0-2). MacKenzie's penalty kick tally snapped the Colonials' consecutive shutout streak which stood at four games.
Mortimer and Chapman paced GW's offense with three shots each and Biss anchored the defense, making five saves in the contest.
MacKenzie and Aaron Van Overschelde led Duquesne with three shots apiece and Varga finished with three saves.
George Washington and Temple will meet at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14 at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex to decide the 2004 A-10 Champion and the winner of the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.