Atlantic 10 Champions!
Nov. 14, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC - The fourth-seeded George Washington men's soccer team (9-8-4) won the 2004 Atlantic 10 Championship and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 2-0 victory over third-seeded Temple (12-8-2) on Sunday, Nov. 14 at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex in front a record crowd of 811 fans. It is the Colonials' second conference crown in the past three years with GW also claiming the league championship in 2002.
Against the Owls, the Colonials came out firing, recording seven shots in the match's first 10 mintutes. GW grabbed the early lead, 1-0, at the 8:08 mark when senior co-captain Matt Miller headed a pass to junior Steve Brown, who rifled a shot past Temple goalie Patrick Hannigan. The Owls nearly knotted the contest just before halftime when Tony Donatelli launched a shot with three seconds remaining, but it was knocked aside by GW junior keeper Derek Biss.
In the second half, junior Andre Chapman put the Colonials in front, 2-0, at 64:19 when he sprinted through the midfield, beat two Temple defenders and put a shot into the lower-left hand corner of the net past a diving Hannigan. Temple tried furiously to get back into the match, earning six second-half corner kicks but GW's defense was up to the task. The Owls' best scoring chance came at 77:39, when a shot by Nate Webb bounced off the crossbar.
"It's been an amazing run," GW head coach George Lidster said. "At one stage we were 1-8-3 and we had some injuries and we were struggling to find our rhythm, but one thing about this group, they never gave up and when you are 1-8-3, sometimes that is a problem. We hung together and we came to together at St. Bonaventure (on Oct. 17) and the rest is history."
The Colonials are 8-0-1 in their last nine matches and won the final six contests of the regular season to get into the conference tournament. GW then won two matches and advanced on penalty kicks in another to win the title. The nine-game unbeaten streak is one shy of the school record of 10 set in 1977 (10-0-0) and equaled in 1990 (8-0-2).
Biss tied a championship record with two shutouts in the tournament. For his performance, he was named the championship's Most Outstanding Player and was selected to the All-Championship Team. He has recorded five shutouts in GW's last six matches, with the only goal he has allowed coming against Duquesne in the tournament semifinals on a penalty kick. Brown and junior Ben Mortimer (Leighton Buzzard, England/Cedars Upper) joined Biss on the All-Championship Team.
GW's is tied with Dayton for the second-most conference men's soccer championships among teams currently in the Atlantic 10. Rhode Island has the most league titles of any team still in the conference with four. The victory also put GW into the field of 48 for NCAA Men's College Cup. It is the sixth time the Colonials have advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The Colonials will learn who they will face in the first round of the event on Monday, Nov. 15 when ESPNews airs the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship selection show live between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.