Men's Soccer Championship Starts Thursday; George Washington Seeded No. 1
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – In an exciting final night of conference play, the George Washington Colonials defeated Saint Louis, 1-0, in double-overtime to clinch the regular season title and top seed in the 2015 Atlantic 10 Championship, which begins Thursday at George Mason Stadium in Fairfax, Va.
The Colonials make their first A-10 championship appearance in four years, seizing a victory in extra time on Saturday, catapulting them to the top of the A-10 standings. GW has posted numbers that rival 2011, their last championship appearance, in goals (22), and shutouts (7). Garrett Heine's nine goals, 22 points and six game-winners, along with sophomore Koby Osei-Wusu's five assists have propelled the Colonials to a 6-2 conference record (10-7 overall). George Washington will take on the VCU Rams in the opening quarterfinal match on Thursday at 11:00 am. The Rams also needed a win on Saturday to qualify for the championship, scoring three goals in less than 10 minutes, including overtime, against A-10 leading Dayton. VCU, tied with George Mason in final points, earned the eight seed by virtue of a 2-1-1 record against common opponents.
The Dayton Flyers, the top scoring offense in the country, earned the second seed in the Championship. The Flyers dropped a 3-2 decision on the final night of play, leaving room for GW to take the top spot. UD has dominated the conference and the NCAA in offensive categories, including total assists, goals, points and shots. Led by seniors Amass Amankona (nine goals, five assists) and Maik Schoonderwoerd (eight goals, six assists) and junior James Haupt (six goals, five assists) the Flyers went 5-1-2 in A-10 play this season, and 10-5-3 overall. The Flyers will face seventh-seeded Duquesne in the third quarterfinal match on Thursday, which will kick off approximately at 5:00 pm. The Dukes punctuated their season with a 3-1 victory over Davidson, finishing the season 4-3-1 in league play, and 6-9-2 overall. Duquesne earns its third A-10 Championship bid in the last four seasons, led by senior Colin Phillips, who scored in his regular season finale.
The Billikens claimed a three-seed in the championship with a league record of 4-2-2 (8-6-2 overall). Before Saturday’s loss to GW, SLU had won four contests in a row, including victories over conference foes, St. Bonaventure, Davidson and VCU. Senior transfer, Vince Cicciarelli leads the team in scoring with 12 points, which includes a team-high-tying five goals and two assists. Filip Pavisic also has five goals and has registered an assist for 11 points. Saint Louis fell to eventual Champions, Fordham, in the 2014 A-10 semifinals. The Billikens will face sixth-seeded Rhode Island in the final Thursday contest, slated for 8:00 pm. Rhode Island,(4-3-1 A-10, 9-7-2), the 2014 A-10 runner-up gets a six seed in the championship, earning the head-to-head tiebreaker against Duquesne. The Rams have spread their scoring among 11 different players, with four players tallying three or more goals. URI is also backstopped by 2014 All-American Nils Leifhelm, who owns a 0.824 save percentage.
The four seed in the championship is Fordham (6-7-4, 4-3-1), who will look to defend its 2014 Championship title. The Rams dropped its final game of the season, a 1-0 decision to Massachusetts, who they will see again on Thursday at 2:00 pm in the quarterfinals. Fordham and Massachusetts were part of a four-way tie (with Rhode Island and Duquesne), broken by virtue of a Rams’ 3-0 win against common opponent La Salle. Fordham is led by the brother combo of Jannik and Janos Loebe, who account for nine goals and eight assists on the season. The Minutemen, who are back in the championship after a one-year hiatus, doubled its conference wins, finishing with an 4-3-1 A-10 record (5-12-1 overall). UMass earned the five seed in the championship with wins over common opponents, La Salle and Fordham.
The winner of the George Washington-VCU and Fordham-UMass contests will compete in Friday’s first semifinal game at 5:00 pm. The second semifinal match, which begins at 7:30 pm, will feature the winners of Dayton-Duquesne and Saint Louis-Rhode Island.
The Championship match will be played Sunday at noon on American Sports Network (ASN). The championship format, which features an eight-team bracket, is single-elimination, with the winner earning the A-10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
For complete coverage of the 2015 Atlantic 10 Men’s Soccer Championship, log on to the Championship Central at www.atlantic10.com. The quarterfinals and semifinals of the Men’s Soccer Championship will be streamed for free on the A-10 Network.