John Powell, Asst. Sports Editor

The George Mason Universitymen’s soccer team took on the Longwood Lancers Wednesday night. The Patriots recorded only one goal in the first half but a second-half offensive surge led to a 4-0 win.

Going into the game, Longwood had only scored only one goal, for a record of 1-3-2, with two no-score tie games. On the opposite end, Mason entered the game with a 3-2 record, backed by senior goalkeeper Sean Kelley.

In the first six minutes of the game, the Lancer sophomore goalkeeper Joel Helmick was injured and taken off the field after colliding with a Mason player. This set the tone for the game as many more players were taken off the field due to injuries from both teams throughout the game.

Neither team showed any urgency to score during the first half, as each team took only four shots. Lancer freshman backup goalkeeper Ben Eanes managed one save, while letting one other ball through. Kelley, on the other hand, made two saves, not letting any pass him by.

Coming back from last year’s season-ending injury, sophomore defender Eric Zuehsow took the ball from redshirt junior forward Irvin Martinez and knocked it in from close range for the first score of the game.
“[Coach Andrulis] was disappointed in our performance in the first half. He said what needed to be said and I think we got the results from it,” said Kelley.

Head Coach Greg Andrulis seemed disappointed with the lack of speed and style of play in the first half.
“We definitely had very high momentum. The halftime speech that coach did really pumped us up,” said junior forward Victor Freeman.

Freeman had a huge second half, credited with an assist on sophomore forward Draymond Washington’s second-half goal, and then capitalized on the breakaway by striking the ball in for a third score.
When asked about the scoring success, Freeman said, “I would think we definitely picked up in the second half. I just finished opportunities.”

Freshman forward Alhagi Toure scored the final goal of the game from close range, with the assist coming from Washington.

The shining star of the game was Kelley though, who was credited with yet another win and a shutout.
“Winning is the first objective and a shutout is the second,” said Kelley of his success. “It’s a good team effort.”

Kelley has devoted himself to excellence for Andrulis’ offense, and has been rewarded with some time off when performing up to his level.

“He’s obviously done phenomenally for us in his four years here. He’s really been the shining star for us in his career. [Kelley] made key saves in key moments of the game,” said Andrulis, who discovered Kelley in his first recruiting class.

Although there are two freshmen on offense, Kelley’s level of play still held the Lancers scoreless.
“I feel like they stepped up to the plate pretty well. Talent wise, they are well-capable of doing anything,” said Kelley on working with the young defensive line.

Freeman, coming out of junior college, was a welcome addition to the team, bringing his gameplay from off the bench.

“[These were] his first minutes of the year, he came in . . . with very high expectations so we can see a little bit of what he can do. He changed the game for us,” said Andrulis on offensive star Freeman
The Patriots will play the national champion Maryland Terrapins, bringing interest to a rematch game from last year’s Sweet Sixteen.

“We’re very fortunate that teams like Maryland and Virginia will come in and play. They understand the growth of soccer and what we’re trying to do here. It will be a battle, but this is what our program is all about,” said Andrulis of the upcoming game.

“We just need to play our game; don’t adapt to them. Let them adapt to [us]. We will fight, we will fight, and I think it will be a very good game,” added Freeman.

Conference play started with a game at Virginia Commonwealth University, then the Patriots will play their conference home opener Oct. 5 against the William & Mary Tribe.

“We’re prepared now. We needed these games to get ready for the conference. The conference is tough top to bottom; every team,” said Andrulis.