The George Mason men’s soccer team is off to a strong start and in even better news for the Patriots, they have room for improvement and can be even better.
The Patriots (6-0-1) continued their unbeaten run to start the 2014 campaign on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over LIU-Brooklyn (0-7-0).
George Mason got off a season-high 18 shots while limiting LIU to just four. But as has been the story for most of the early going of the season, the Patriots had trouble finding the back of the net and they managed just one goal, Jannik Eckenrode notched his first tally of the season in the 15th minute off of an assist from Dan Hoffman.
“Overall a win and a tie on the weekend aren’t bad,” George Mason coach Greg Andrulis said. “The good news is that we are growing as a team and the soccer is getting better. We just have to do better in front of the goal.”
Better in front of goal is the one are the Patriots need to improve. Andrulis seems to like the direction the team is taking but it would make all of their lives a bit easier if they could just score more goals.
George Mason opened the season with a 7-0 victory over Howard. That offensive explosion was not a sign of things to come as the Patriots have scored just seven goals in the six games since and have scored no more than two in any other game.
Despite the scarcity of goals, the Patriots have been finding ways to win. Mostly they have been platting stingy defense and making whatever scoring they do get stand. Only Wisconsin has scored a goal against George Mason this season and the Patriots have recorded six shutouts in seven games. On Sunday the Patriots allowed the Blackbirds just two shots in each half and goalie Steffen Kraus did not need to make a save.
Another mature defensive performance, the guys are really jelling in that aspect,” Andrulis said. “Today we limited them to one good look and in 90 minutes that’s a real positive.
“Another mature defensive performance, the guys are really jelling in that aspect,” Andrulis said. “Today we limited them to one good look and in 90 minutes that’s a real positive.”
On Friday Mason took on Seton Hall and went to overtime before settling for a 0-0 tie.
After being outshot 14-10 in regulation, the Patriots outshot the Pirates 6-2 in overtime. Mason got good looks for Colton Amidon and Henning Dirks but Pirates goalkeeper Julian Spindler was equal to the challenge and made some key saves.
“The effort on the day was terrific,” Andrulis said. “Once we got acclimated to the turf we played some of our best soccer of the year . Seton Hall is a quality, well coached team and their goalkeeper made a couple of game saving saves, especially in the overtime. We had a positive mentality through out the match. We crested a boatload of quality chances but just couldn’t find the back of the net today.”
Kraus made four saves including one in the second overtime period.
“Defensively we were once again very solid, a great collective team effort to get a clean sheet on the road,” Andrulis said.
The two weekend contests wrap up a stretch where George Mason played three games in eight days. They managed to go 2-0-1 in that span and are gaining attention nationally and moving up in the polls.
“Although the rankings are reflective of our current form as a team we have a long way to go,” commented head coach Greg Andrulis. “The national rankings are a wonderful conversation piece at this time of the season, but as a collective group I believe we have our priorities straight. We are working hard to improve every day to become a better team, to play better soccer and to continue to build on our chemistry both on and off the field.
The Patriots now get a break until a Saturday night contest on Saturday, September 27 against UMBC at George Mason Stadium.
“This week we get the chance to get our legs back and sharpen up something’s before we take on a very tough UMBC squad Saturday night at home,” Andrulis said.