GW Men's Soccer Falls to Xavier in Atlantic 10 Championship
Colonials Out-Shot by Musketeers, 4-3, in Penalty Kicks to Decide Conference Title Game
Nov. 13, 2011
The A-10 regular season champions made the trip to the conference title game for the first time since 2004 after taking down
Sixth-seeded Xavier (12-4-4) claimed its second straight conference championship and NCAA tournament bid with the win, after upsetting No. 3 Charlotte and top-seeded Fordham to earn a spot in the title game.
The Colonials got on the board first at the 33:46 mark when senior Yoni Berhanu flipped a beautiful pass to junior Mattia Melillo right in front of the net. Melillo found his way around a Xavier defender and with his left foot, buried the shot in the lower left corner to lift GW to a 1-0 lead.
The Buff and Blue held onto the advantage for the majority of the contest, as it was not until 12:45 remaining in regulation that the Musketeers netted the equalizer. Gino DePaoli set up a corner kick for Xavier and sent the ball straight to Garrett Halfhill. Halfhill leaped and headed the ball into the right side of the net before GW goalkeeper Brendan Lafferty had time to react.
Neither squad could register a goal in 20 minutes of overtime play and the match was sent into penalty kicks. Berhanu stepped up first for GW and missed his attempt high. Lafferty made an incredible diving save on Xavier's first shot to keep the tally even.
Melillo, Hinners and Shaban sank the next three penalty kicks for the Colonials, and the Musketeer's DePaoli, Hagglund and Queree all followed suit to knot the score at 3-3. Sophomore Alex Sandland took GW's final shot but misjudged the mark and sent his attempt high and to the right, and Xavier's Adar Cohen sank the final shot to lift his squad to victory.
Head coach George Lidster closes out his stellar 24-year career at the helm of the Colonials bench with an overall record of 201-198-51. The winningest coach in GW men's soccer history, Lidster was named the A-10 Coach of the Year three times, including in 2011. Under his guidance Lidster's teams made 11 conference tournament appearances and three trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Berhanu caps his four-year career with an impressive 11-goal, four-assist, 26-point senior season to pace the A-10. Berhanu's 55 points and 15 assists in his career are both just shy of 10th-best on GW's all-time list. He also tallied 20 goals in four seasons.