George Washington's Luis Ruck startled Howard's defenders by taking a sharply angled shot late in the game that rolled into the left corner of the net to give the Colonials a 1-0 upset victory over the Bison, the nation's seventh-ranked soccer team, yesterday at GW.
GW (7-2) dominated the game, but it wasn't until Ruck took a long pass from Meiji Stewart deep on the right side and hooked a shot into the net with 72 minutes gone that they put away Howard (6-1).
"Luis knew taking the expected shot wouldn't work against a team as good as Howard; it hadn't been working all day," George Washington Coach George Edeline said. "So, instead of dribbling the ball in closer and taking the shot, he took a shot nobody expected from there. And I think he understood what he was doing and thought it might work."
Howard entered the game ranked first in the Mid-Atlantic region, but GW showed little respect, pressing the Bison all over the field.
The Colonials, whose only losses have been to undefeated George Mason and to Maryland, outshot their visitors, 5-1 in the first half and 11-5 for the game, and dominated in every other offensive category. The Bison only mounted enough pressure to challenge GW goalie Leonardo Costas twice.
"We had been playing very strong in the midfield the whole game," said Ruck, whose goal was his second of the year. "We were in a more defensive style, but it was just a matter of time before we got the penetrating pass."
The Colonials opened the game by keeping the ball at Howard's end of the field for almost five minutes, but Jean Fernand Duc, Patrick Drissel, Ameha Aklilu and Tim Guidry all shot wide of the goal.
The pressing Colonials forced Howard to pick up the tempo, but the Bison had problems making more than two straight passes at at time on the run.
The Colonials kept after Howard until Ruck scored 27 minutes into the second half.
"I think we've had a problem all year capitalizing on opportunities," Edeline said. "But you know, by our stats it takes seven shots to score a goal, and that's about what it took today."