ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Finishing with a second half that saw a combined four goals between the two sides, the Navy men’s soccer team closed out its season-opening homestand on Friday night with a 3-3 tie against George Washington at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility.
The draw moves the Midshipmen to 1-2-2 on the season, while the visiting Colonials shifted to 2-1-2 overall. In the all-time series between the two schools, Navy maintained a lead at 13-12-5.
Despite GW dominating possession in the first 10 minutes, Navy was able to get the first real scoring chance in the 4th minute when junior Baba Kallie fed freshman Andrew Schug a short pass near the right sideline at midfield, and Schug was just able to race the Colonial defender downfield before kicking a shot wide to the far post.
Navy capitalized on another chance at 15′ thanks to a free kick from junior David Jackson into the box, as fellow junior Zach Wagner had his initial shot blocked but stayed with the rebound to chip the ball past the Colonials’ goalkeeper, Duncan Wegner, for his first goal of the campaign.
After Navy sophomore keeper Pierce Holbrook out-jumped a GW attacker in the 25th minute to pull down the ball and prevent a chance off the corner kick, his teammates almost extended the lead when sophomore Noah Ward shoveled a pass to Jackson, who then found Kallie on an outlet that nearly allowed Kallie to scoot past the Colonial defender.
George Washington got its first equalizer just a bit later, as Tom Cooklin’s corner kick found Aaron Kronenberg in the box, who finished a header to the top left corner outside of Holbrook’s reach.
Jackson had two more great crosses into the box at 37′, but neither one could find a Mids’ foot for a legitimate scoring chance. In the 43rd minute, the Colonials had their own rebound chance when Demi Amigun had his shot blocked, but Conor Stephens’ shot off the loose ball went just high
Tied at the half, Navy came out with energy to start the final 45 minutes and retook the lead in the 48th minute when Jackson let one rip off a free kick from 22 yards out, giving him his first tally of the season and handing the Mids a 2-1 edge.
Kallie nearly added his own tally at 50′ when his shot beat Wegner but went off the left post and out.
Another Jackson kick set up the third Navy goal as his corner has headed out by a Colonial defender, but the ball went right to senior Sam Kriel a few yards outside the box. Kriel caught the GW keeper off-guard with a shot that snuck in the top left part of the net, earning himself his first collegiate goal.
A bad turnover by the Mids’ defense in the 65th minute near their own net led to the ball on Tiago Carvalho’s foot, as the Colonial quickly passed it over to teammate Elias Norris, with Norris placing it past Holbrook to the lower left corner of the net and cutting into the Navy lead.
Stephens nearly knotted the game at 3-3 in the 73rd minute when his shot bent in but went just above the top left corner.
The Colonials finally tied it, 3-3, at 83′ when Cooklin crossed the ball into the box, and Carter Humm got just enough of a touch to put in the net for GW’s second equalizer of the game.
After Jackson and fellow junior Cristian Coelho got handed yellow cards later in the 83rd minute, a Colonial corner kick at 84′ led to a penalty kick call in favor of George Washington. Still, Holbrook kept the game tied when he could save Cooklin’s PK attempt with his foot.
The ball found Jackson again early in the 90th minute after sophomore Wasswa Robbins deked out two GW defenders and fed Kallie, who moved it back to Jackson, but Jackson put the shot well high in the last chance for Navy to sneak out the win.
“We came out in the second half and played well and had some excellent goals and other plays as well,” said Navy head coach Tim O’Donohue after his 100th game at the program’s helm. “We made some mistakes we needed to make, and they punished us for them. We are progressing with a bit of a young group, and now the real season begins with the Patriot League schedule starting next week.”
For the fifth-straight game, Navy was outshot by its opponent, as George Washington had the 14-9 edge, while the Colonials also ended with more corner kicks, 7-6.
Next up for Navy is a trip to Longwood on Tuesday, Sept. 13, followed by the Mids’ Patriot League opener at Bucknell on Saturday, Sept. 17. Both games are slated for 6 p.m. starts on ESPN+.