George Mason University’s men’s soccer team defeated the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2-0 at the George Mason Stadium on Friday in the opening game of the Capital Cup.
Early goals by senior Timi Mulgrew and sophomore Zach Herstek were enough for Mason (4-0-0) to inflict the Panthers (3-2-0) their second loss of the season.
It took the Patriots only 32 seconds to get on the scoreboard. A long ball over the top was sent to Taylor Washington on the left. He beat the oncoming goalkeeper to it and crossed it in the middle toward Mulgrew who calmly finished in the top of the goal.
The Patriots used the momentum gained from their first goal and doubled their lead shortly after. Herstek passed the ball to Mulgrew in the middle of the field, after which Mason’s No. 11 made a raid into the penalty box and took a shot. The visitors’ goalkeeper Agustin Rey blocked the initial shot, but could not hold onto it and Herstek, who was well positioned at the back post, tapped it in for 2-0.
The dominance of the team coached by Greg Andrulis continued after the second goal and it continued to threaten Rey’s goal. First, Herstek was close to add his tally but his shot from 25 yards after a pass by Brice Colcombe was well dealt with by the goalkeeper. Henning Dirks also had his chance following a dispossessed ball by the Panthers in the middle of the field, but his eventual shot ended up high.
Shortly before the half-hour mark, a good combination with Mulgrew created another chance for Dirks. The freshman came much closer that time, but his shot was off-target yet again.
The Patriots started the second half on the front foot but could not seriously threaten the Panthers’ goal. The visitors had a half-chance themselves, but failed to make Mason’s keeper Steffen Kraus work. His first serious involvement in the game did not come until the 62nd minute, when he had to block a shot by Zach Stevenson, who was freed on the left by a ball over the top and managed to make a run into Mason’s penalty area.
The momentum switched toward the end of the game as the Panthers were searching for a goal while Mason seemed comfortable with their advantage. The Patriots used their chances to counter attack, however, and had an opportunity to add to their advantage 10 minutes from time. A cleared ball in Mason’s penalty area turned into a good ball that gave Dirks an opportunity for a quick break. He advanced and freed Mulgrew with a through ball, but the senior shot straight at the goalkeeper and failed to add to his six goals on the season.
In the final game of the Capital Cup, Mason defeated Hartwick 1-0 on a goal from freshman forward Henning Dirks in the 59th minute of Sunday’s contest. Dirks collected the goal off a throw in from teammate Brice Colcombe near the Hartwick 18-yard box.
Kraus added two saves in the contest as the Patriots tallied their fourth shutout of the season. With the victory, Mason won the Capital Cup as well as improved to 5-0 on the season. The win also helped the Patriots move up in the national rankings. Jumping up 4 spots, national polls rank Mason 18th among D-1 schools.
The Patriots hit the road this upcoming weekend with games against Seton Hall and LIU-Brooklyn on Friday and Sunday.