Reserve Frank Paciolla scored two goals to lead George Mason over Howard University, 2-1, in a Capital Collegiate Conference soccer game yesterday at George Mason.
The victory raised 16th-ranked Mason to 9-1-1 and dropped the Bison to 5-3-1.
It wasn't until late in the first half of a scoreless tie, that George Mason Coach Dick Broad inserted Paciolla to change the tempo of the game and to spell starting center forward Gary Kingsley. But the Patriots' play didn't pick up. It slowed down.
"I'm not fast and I'm not especially quick," said Paciolla -- who at 6 feet 3, 189 pounds looks better suited for a football field than for the fast-paced play on a soccer field.
However, Broad's decision paid off quickly.
At 35:21, Brendan McIntyre sent a direct kick goalward and Paciolla headed it past Howard goalkeeper Stephen Clark for a 1-0 lead.
"Coach (Roger) Creed made the suggestion," Broad said. "We wanted to change the tempo. Frank's very big and very strong. He can hold the ball and we can play it to his feet and to his chest. He's able to get midfielders involved by playing it back to them."
The Bison tied the score, 1-1, at 58:14 when Gayan Clarke broke in on goalkeeper Ken Bernstein, who moved to cut the angle. But as he slid at Clarke's feet, Clarke kicked the ball past him.
With about six minutes remaining in the game, it appeared destined for overtime.
George Mason forward Andy Hay repeatedly broke in along the right wing but his crosses were intercepted. For the Bison, Philip Gyau penetrated the Patriots' defense but Bernstein stopped the shot.
Broad reinserted Paciolla and once again the move paid dividends. Paciolla scored the winning goal by converting a lead pass from Fred Thompson at 85:32.
In all, Paciolla had three shots on goal, one more than his total coming into the game. He had started in Mason's opener last season but had broken his left tibia in that game and missed the rest of the season.
"He's a very solid player," Broad said. "He worked very hard to come back from the broken leg. We don't know where to play him. He's neat and tidy; he doesn't try to do too much."
Yesterday, he did just enough.