Men's Soccer Gears for DC College Cup this Weekend; Sunday's Match Moved to 1:00 pm
Aug. 29, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC - George Washington head men's soccer coach George Lidster begins his 20th season with the program at this weekend's DC College Cup, hosted by George Mason University, in Fairfax, VA. The Colonials kick-off their season against American at George Mason Stadium on Friday at 5:00 pm, followed by a meeting against Howard on Sunday at 1:00 pm. The match versus Howard was previously scheduled for 12:00 pm.
The DC College Cup has a new look this year with local program George Mason replacing Georgetown in the annual four-team event. Original participants GW, American and Howard return for the seventh installment of the yearly classic. Each team will play two matches with the champion to be determined by a point system based on wins and draws. In the event of a tie, the champion will be crowned using a tie-breaking formula that includes head-to-head meetings as well as goal differential. In addition to the GW/American match on Friday and the GW/Howard contest on Sunday, host George Mason will meet Howard at approximately 7:30 pm on Friday and American at approximately 3:00 pm on Sunday to round out the tournament slate.
2007 DC COLLEGE CUP SCHEDULE (all matches at George Mason Stadium)
Sunday, September 2, 2007
The Colonials return 21 letterwinners and nine starters from last season's 5-9-3 squad. On Aug. 21, GW was chosen to finish eighth in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Coaches' poll. The top six teams in the league standings qualify for the A-10 Championship, which will be held at Baujan Field in Dayton, OH, this November. GW is coming off a solid 7-0 victory over VMI in its lone exhibition match of the preseason. Senior forward Abimbola Pedro netted a hat trick and junior Mike Rollings added five points on two goals and an assist. Senior co-captain Greg McKay dished out two assists, while senior and leading returning scorer Thomas Stuber recorded a goal. Leading the defense this season will be senior co-captain Matt Davis and senior goalkeeper Greg Yahr.
American, which captured last year's DC College Cup, returns seven starters and 14 letterwinners from a team that finished 6-10-3 overall and sixth in the Patriot League standings in 2006. The Eagles were picked fifth in the Patriot League's Preseason Coaches' poll.
Howard enters its first season under new head coach Joseph Okoh. The Bison were 3-13-1 a season ago, with victories against La Salle, VMI and Navy.
GW is 6-5-1 in the six-year history of the event, but has yet to claim the Craig Tartasky Trophy awarded to the Cup's champion. The Colonials finished runner-up to Georgetown in 2005 and American in 2001. GW trails American (10-25-2) and Howard (12-18-4) in its all-time series with the two programs', but knocked off both the Eagles (2-1) and Bison (2-0) last fall.
2007 MEN'S SOCCER SEASON PREVIEW
While the 2007 edition of the GW men's soccer team may look familiar, head coach George Lidster, in his 20th season with the program, is confident his team will play decidedly different this fall.
Despite having more newcomers (14) than returnees (12) last season, the Colonials managed to post a .500 record through their opening nine matches (4-4-1), which included the program's first victory versus American since 1993 and triumphs over regionally ranked opponents Rider and Massachusetts. However, youth and bad luck caught up to the team as GW had only a Senior Day win over Xavier to show over its final eight games.
Following back-to-back losing seasons, a program first since 1998 and 1999, GW is searching for a return to form which led the program to A-10 Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2002 and 2004. The last remnants of 2004's spectacular postseason run remain in five seniors whose talent and desire are expected to help lift the Colonials back among the Atlantic 10's elite in 2007.
Nine returning starters and 21 returning letterwinners make the Colonials appear similar on paper, but with veteran leadership at each position and an air of excitement surrounding a now experienced lineup, the 2007 season is expected to be anything but a repeat.
The GW attack generated plenty of scoring opportunities in 2006, just not enough goals. The Colonials managed just 19 goals throughout all of last season, the fewest scored since 1999, despite averaging better than 14 shots per game, fourth best in the A-10.
Senior Thomas Stuber produced his finest season up front for the Buff and Blue, leading the team and finishing seventh in the A-10 with 15 points. A tireless worker on and off the field, Stuber showed the speed and skill needed to attack defenses and the awareness to put himself in goal-scoring positions.
After a breakout first season in 2005, senior Abimbola Pedro managed just one assist as a focal-point of opposing defenses last fall. The former honorable mention All-Conference selection should see things open up in 2007 as Stuber and the rest of the Colonials' forwards evolve. Pedro excels at taking wing defenders one-on-one and has a rocket-hard shot that will produce goals this season.
Junior Mike Rollings should return to full strength after missing much of last season due to injury. Rollings played in just three games in 2006, but was named to the 2005 A-10 All-Rookie Team with nine points and four goals in conference play.
Sophomore Andy Stadler enjoyed an extremely successful freshman season, much like Rollings in 2005. Stadler led GW's deep recruiting class with six points and four assists to earn A-10 All-Rookie Team laurels, the eighth freshman to claim the honor in seven seasons. The wiry attacker has deceptive speed and an extremely accurate shot from distance.
Bolstering the front line is freshman Steve Wujek, a proven goal scorer from Cincinnati's Archbishop Moeller High School. Wujek is a two-time All-Greater Catholic League selection and Ohio All-State pick who helped the Fighting Crusaders to a GCL co-championship as a junior in 2005.
Senior co-captain and last season's team MVP Greg McKay is back as the Colonials' leader in the middle. A four-year stalwart in the central midfield, McKay tied for third on the team with six points on two goals and two assists as GW's lone returning starter at mid last fall. McKay is strong on the ball and is an excellent distributor capable of igniting an attack, or counterattack, with one pass.
Classmate Joachim Walker is one of the five remaining players with a link to the 2004 A-10 Championship squad and will likely see plenty of time on the wing in his final season. Walker, who started seven of his 16 games last fall on the flank, has a non-stop motor and can burn defenses with his quickness.
A quintet of sophomores got plenty of action as rookies last fall and should solidify the midfield in 2007. Mike Briscoe and Erick Perez-Segnini became consistent starters at the defensive and wide midfield slots, respectively, last season and are expected to help anchor the positions. Briscoe is a rugged tackler and tough in the air, while Perez-Segnini possesses a deft touch and solid one-on-one skills. The duo combined for 22 starts and four points as untested freshmen and will look to step up in their second seasons.
Despite playing less than half of one game for the Colonials last fall, it is clear that sophomore Luke Wildy is a special talent and will be a leader in GW's midfield for seasons to come. Wildy netted a pair of first-half goals in the 2006 season opener versus Georgetown before going down with a season-ending knee injury. Now fully recovered, Wildy is anxious to return to his patrolling spot in the middle.
Kyle Albrecht was a steady performer on the wing for the Colonials as a rookie last fall. A hard-nosed, scrappy player, Albrecht is one of the top free-kick takers on the squad and provides needed depth at outside midfielder. Will Doar did not see action as a freshman, but his tremendous work ethic and desire could earn him a spot on the pitch this season. Honorable mention All-Maryland rookie Marcus Ranney also will compete for playing time.
GW's defensive backfield will be anchored by three-year starter and two-year captain Matt Davis, an aggressive sweeper who thrives on sniffing out opponents' attacks in the center of the pitch. Davis has started 56 of the Colonials' 57 matches during his career and is the program's on-field leader.
Junior Dave Leon is the only other defender with more than a year of collegiate experience. Leon used his lethal left foot and ability to push into the attacking wing to lead the Colonials with five assists in 2006.
Lidster has several sophomore options to round out the back line. Second-year performers Byron Walker, Mike Holland, Nikolay Aleksandrov and George Garcia all saw plenty of time along GW's back four as freshmen and each will be required to contribute even greater this fall. Walker showed he can move forward by netting the game-winning goal against American and Holland added an assist in his collegiate debut versus Georgetown.
Newcomer Kory Trott is expected to fit in along the backline as well. The two-time Delaware All-State performer from Tower Hill School has gained international experience playing with the Bermudan U-17 National Team.
Greg Yahr ranked 10th in the nation with nearly 5.6 saves per game in his first season as GW's full-time starting goalkeeper last fall. Now in his senior year, Yahr will be counted on to post similar numbers for the Colonials to be successful in 2007. Yahr registered three shutouts in 14 starts as a junior, including a 1.12 goals-against-average over his final 13 appearances. Yahr is strong in the air, has big-save ability and will be more consistent with a year's worth of starts under his belt.
Matt Scheer enters the 2007 season with two years of eligibility remaining, but proved last season that he will push Yahr for time in net. Scheer made three starts in 2006, finishing with a 1-1-1 mark, highlighted by a victory over regionally-ranked Rider in his first career start.
The 2007 non-conference slate is challenging, consisting of two tournaments and a pair of solid southern soccer programs. GW opens play against District rivals American and Howard at George Mason Stadium in the seventh annual DC College Cup beginning Aug. 31. After knocking off both the Eagles and Bison last fall, the Colonials have a strong opportunity to capture the Craig Tartasky Trophy for the first time.
Lidster's squad then heads to Farmville, VA, for a Longwood University tournament featuring Big South power Winthrop and Division I newcomer North Florida. The Eagles won both the Big South regular-season and tournament titles en route to the NCAA Tournament in 2006.
GW travels to Baltimore to face Loyola (Md.) on Sept. 14, before opening its 2007 home schedule at Mount Vernon Athletics Complex with a three-match home stand. The Colonials complete their home-and-home series with Rider on Sept. 22, and host Mount St. Mary's a week later. Longwood pays a return visit to the District on Oct. 3, after knocking off GW in the programs' first meeting last September.
Non-conference play concludes with a pair of difficult road tests. GW heads to Conway, SC, to battle another Big South school, Coastal Carolina, on Oct. 6. The Chanticleers were 11-7-2 and finished second in the Big South last fall despite knocking off league-champ Winthrop in the regular season.
GW has the Oct. 9 rematch at Georgetown marked after the Hoyas erased a 2-0 deficit to hand the Colonials a 5-2 loss in last fall's season-opener at the DC College Cup. GW countered with a victory over Georgetown in the spring and is hoping to produce a similar result this fall.
The nine-game conference slate sets the Colonials up for a prime run at their first A-10 Championship berth since 2004. Four of GW's five home league opponents finished the 2006 season regionally-ranked, led by Saint Louis, which ended the year ranked No. 21 in the nation. On the flip side, only one of GW's four road foes posted a winning record last fall. The Colonials open A-10 play at home against Richmond on Oct. 13, then alternate weekend series away-and-home for the next month.
GW heads to Philadelphia the weekend of Oct. 19 for Saint Joseph's and Temple, followed by a pivotal Oct. 26 weekend with Charlotte and the Billikens. Lidster will face former associate head coach Jake Ouimet for the first time when GW battles Duquesne on the road on Nov. 2. The Colonials play their final road match of the season at St. Bonaventure two days later. The regular-season comes to a head with home matches against Fordham on Nov. 9, and La Salle on Nov. 11. The 2007 Atlantic 10 Championship will be held at Dayton's Baujan Field for the first time since 2001.