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GW men’s soccer clinches A-10 Championship berth on Senior Day

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WASHINGTON (Via George Washington University) – The George Washington men’s soccer team scored twice in the second half to defeat Atlantic 10 rival Massachusetts, 2-0, and clinch its first A-10 Championship berth since 2011 on Saturday afternoon at the GW Soccer Field on the Mount Vernon Campus.

The Colonials improved to 9-7-0 overall and 5-2-0 in Atlantic 10 play with their second straight shutout and sixth of the season, their most clean sheets since the 2011 squad posted seven.

Junior Garrett Heine tallied a goal and an assist for three points on the day, including his league-leading fifth game-winner. Sophomore Oliver Curry also found the back of the net for the Colonials.

UMass (4-12-1, 3-3-1 A-10) had the best opportunity in the first half, as a free kick found the feet of Mark Morris, but his bicycle kick was cleared off the line by senior midfielder Oliver De Thier in the 15th minute. The Colonials fired a couple lasers at the net in the opening period, but De Thier’s shot in the 12th minute went just wide, and Curry’s attempt went right into the chest of UMass keeper Jorge Becerra in the 43rd minute, and the game remained scoreless at halftime.

In the 52nd minute, it appeared as if UMass had scored the first goal of the match when Will Ellis’ free kick found the back of the net, but the line judge deemed the Minutemen offsides on the play, negating the score.

Heine put GW on the board just over three minutes later. Sophomore Koby Osei-Wusu sent a through ball up the middle to Heine, who took a touch on the goal line and slipped his shot past Becerra for his team-best eighth goal of the season and what proved to be the game-winner in the 55th minute. It was Osei-Wusu’s fifth assist of the season, the most helpers by a Colonial since Bailey Hinners tallied five in 2011. De Thier was also credited with an assist on the play.

Four minutes later, Heine’s free kick found the head of senior Eddie Painter, but Becerra made a diving save to keep it a one-goal game.

The Colonials, however, were not done, as Curry added an insurance marker in the 71st minute. After taking a pass from Heine, Curry had his initial shot blocked, but he collected the rebound in traffic, centered the ball and flicked it on target past Becerra, who was screened on the strike, for the 2-0 lead with his second goal of the season.

Senior goalkeeper Jack Lopez recorded three saves in his fourth shutout of the year, the most clean sheets by a GW keeper since Brendan Laffertyalso had four in 2011, while Becerra also stopped three shots for the Minutemen. GW outshot UMass, 10-8, and held a 4-1 advantage on corner kicks. Curry took a team-high three shots for the Colonials.

Heine’s eight goals this season are the most by a Colonial since Yoni Berhanu and Seth Rudolph scored 11 and eight, respectively, in 2011, while his 20 points are the most since Berhanu’s 26 that same season. In addition, Heine’s five game-winning goals are the most by a Colonial since Rudolph also had five in 2011.

Prior to the game, the Colonials honored De Thier, Lopez, Painter and classmates Jonny Forrest, Ross Higgins and Philip McQuitty in a Senior Day ceremony.

The Colonials return to action next Saturday when they visit Saint Louis at 8 p.m. ET for the regular-season finale. Following the conclusion of the weekend’s action, GW will learn its seeding and quarterfinals opponent for the Atlantic 10 Championship, which takes place Nov. 12-15 at George Mason Stadium in Fairfax, Virginia.

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