FAIRFAX, Va. – The George Mason men’s soccer team was able to defeat the Rhode Island Rams in a full 90 minute contest on Friday night by the score of 2-1 at George Mason Stadium.
The victory moves Mason to an 8-2-3 overall record and 3-0-2 record in conference play. The win also secures an undefeated season at home, where the Patriots have won or tied every match for a 6-0-3 mark. Rhode Island falls to 2-11-0 and remains winless in Atlantic 10 Conference play at 0-5-0.
Both goals for Mason on the evening were the first of the season for senior Alex Herrera and sophomore Brice Colcombe. Herrera also tacked on the assist on Colcombe’s game-deciding goal in the 70th minute of play.
The Patriots were first to get on the board in the game. After early scoring chances by Jannik Eckenrode and Zak Herstek in the first fifteen minutes of play, Herrera had his first opportunity of the game come in the 32nd minute. Following a foul inside the box, Herrera executed his penalty shot attempt to give Mason the 1-0 lead.
Rhode Island answered with a goal of their own shortly after in the 39th minute. Ranier Randell had his shot from the top of the box saved and deflected by Mason goalkeeper Steffen Kraus, but Andy Hess was there near the right corner of the net to punch in the rebound and tie up the game at 1 before halftime. Both sides had six total shots and four shots on goal in the first half, while also each totaling 13 shot for the game.
Scoring chances for both teams came early in the second half. Mason’s Zak Haapaoja had an attempt near the right side of the net punched away by Rams keeper Thomas Spenser in the 51st minute and Hess had a chance for Rhode Island just one minute later on the other end of the field when his laser from the top of the box was saved by Kraus.
After consistent time in the offensive zone, the Patriots were finally able to take the lead on Colcombe’s first of the season in the 70th minute. Herrera gained possession in the left corner and made a sliding pass to the middle of the box where Colcombe came running in full speed to finish the play and give Mason the 2-1 lead.
The Rams would have two late efforts turned away by Kraus, who made six saves on the night. With four minutes remaining in the match, Matt Sykes had a hard shot from the top of the box that went off the hands of Kraus and rolled towards the right side of the net. The Rams’ Hess made an attempt to knock the ball in, but Kraus was there to grab it just before it crossed the goal line.
Mason begins the first of three consecutive road contests on Sunday November 3. The Patriots travel to face local rival George Washington in match that continues the Revolutionary Rivalry between the two schools. Game time is scheduled for noon in Washington, D.C.