Men’s Soccer beats George Mason 3-0 for A-10 title WRGW Sports

Author: Liam Omerchu

The GW men’s soccer team won their ticket to the A10 Championship 3-0 at George Mason on Saturday night.

Buff & Blue knew a win would get them in and was boosted by goals from senior midfielder Elias Norris, junior defender Lukas Matushevski and graduate forward Oscar Haynes Brown .

“We knew what we had to do tonight,” GW head coach Craig Jones said. “Win, we definitely played. But at the start of the season, that’s where you want to be. You want to be in the conference tournament. Once you’re in, you have a chance to win. So I’m very happy for these guys.”

GW started at a disadvantage and struggled to get the ball in the opening minutes. But once they settled in, they started to have a lot of success on the left through Norris. In the 17th minute, the veteran midfielder Cooklin sent the first real warning shot and crossed the top of the crossbar wide of the goal.

In the 26th minute, small midfielder Henry Waxman made a wrong pass and GW overturned Mason. Junior midfielder Carter Hamm passed the ball to senior midfielder Roy Tanner, who passed the ball to Norris in midfield. Norris did what he did best, sprinting down the wing, cutting the ball back and rolling into the far corner to make it 1-0.

Bethesda, Maryland’s dominance continued into the rest of the first half, but the rest of GW’s offense didn’t take hold. In the first half, GW led 1-0, but it was not convincing. After half-time, however, things changed.

With just 23 seconds into the second quarter, GW doubled their lead. Cooklin threw the ball at the top of the 6-yard box to find Matuszewski, who came high and smashed it into the side net. When Pete moved to the corner and was mobbed by his teammates, wild celebrations ensued.

For what it’s worth, GW shouldn’t have been awarded a corner kick in the first place. The referee claimed the ball touched the Patriots guard one last time, but that wasn’t the case, at least from what I’ve seen. Either way, the goal is the goal and I don’t think it changes the outcome.

In the 53rd minute, Hume received another wrong pass and quickly scored Haines Brown into the goal. The British were not mistaken and placed it on a distant post. It was Haynes Brown’s 38th career goal, bringing him one step closer to 40 goals and a top-three top scorer in GW history.

**Editor’s note: Tom Cooklin had an assist on this goal and didn’t touch the ball at all throughout. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve mental support, but he’s just jogging during the race. **

If we award two assists to Cooklin, he’s fourth in GW men’s history in single-season assists (13) and tied for fifth in career assists in program history (20). Cooklin also ranks first in the entire NCAA in assists.

“He’s been great for us this season,” Jones said. “I mean, everyone just assumed assists and offense, but the porting and work he did on defense set the tone. If I could, I’d have him for another four years.”

GW continued to press, and in the 64th minute, junior defender Aaron Kronenberg headed in from a corner and the ball went into the net. However, the goal was disallowed due to a foul by Haynes Brown on the Mason goalkeeper. Five minutes later, freshman forward Alex Nicholson scored but was stopped by Mason’s goalie.

The best chance of the game (yes, including the goal) came in the 77th minute. Nicholson played a dangerous ball in front of goal and junior striker Demi Amigun stepped on it. Unfortunately for Amigon, the ball went straight up, hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced off. This is truly the most incredible lady I have ever seen with my own eyes.

But Buff & Blue ended the game and booked tickets to the A-10 Championship for the second time in three years. They’ll play Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPN+’s Loyola Chicago. GW’s 4-0 loss to the Ramblers earlier this season was one of their worst performances of the year. But this season has been characterized by the resilience of the team. At the beginning of the season, they suffered a series of injuries and recovered from multiple poor performances.

“Honestly, I’m proud of the team,” Jones said. “In the last game of the season, you still have a chance to make the playoffs, and from what we’ve had to deal with this season, it’s been fantastic for the players. But every time we get knocked down, whether it’s Another injury, or a bad result, we can bounce back.”

At this point, they’re playing with house money. They can score goals and they have shown that. If they can avoid the suspension, they have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs.

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