Fred Thompson scored a goal midway through the first half and George Mason played a man short for more than 52 minutes as the Patriots defeated Virginia, 1-0, in a first-round game of the NCAA college soccer tournament.
George Mason (18-3) will play American, the top seed from the South Atlantic region, in the second round next weekend at a site to be determined. Virginia, which was ranked at least seventh nationally all season, finished 15-4-1. Eight days ago, the Cavaliers had lost at George Mason, 3-2, with Thompson scoring the winning goal.
George Mason lost a player when Doug Bradley, the son of Patriots Coach Gordon Bradley, was given a red card for punching Virginia's John Harkes with 7:14 to play in the first half. Harkes received a yellow card.
The Patriots assumed a defensive posture for the rest of the game. In the second half, George Mason goalie Mike Benitez made six saves as Virginia took 11 shots; Virginia's Keith Lenert didn't have to make a save as the Patriots took only three shots.
"We actually decided to let them have their half of the field," said Gordon Bradley. He moved forward Bruce Lobdell into the midfield.
"The immediate thing was to take a player out of the forward line and drop him back to make sure we were somewhat sound defensively," said Bradley.
Bradley, who has played professionally in England and coached the New York Cosmos and Washington Diplomats of the defunct NASL, couldn't remember winning a game with his team a man down for so long.
Doug Bradley said he regretted the punch as soon as he threw it. "It started out, I wasn't having a good game," he said. "We were both going for the ball. He hit me. I just took out my frustration."
Virginia Coach Bruce Arena was frustrated by game's end. "We had our chances," he said. "You can talk about the shutout all you want, but we had five or six chances and we didn't finish on them."
Mason took its lead at 28:52, when Ray Elsesser sent a short pass to Thompson, who was 12 yards off the right post. His shot to the top left corner beat Lenert. "I just drilled it high because I noticed last week that Lenert had a habit of going down," Thompson said.