Fairfax, Va.--On a rain and snow-soaked field, the Georgia State men's soccer team earned an important 2-0 win at Colonial Athletic Association foe George Mason on Saturday.
The Panthers (11-5-1, 5-4) are now tied for fifth in the CAA standings with William & Mary pending the results of later matches on Saturday. The 11 wins are the most since the 2000 season for Georgia State when the team went 12-9 and won the Trans America Athletic Conference championship.
This win was also the team's eighth shutout victory of the season, the most in one season since the 1983 team posted nine shutouts.
Freshman Jordan Weise buried his own rebound to score the game's opening tally in the 39th minute after he took a pass from junior midfielder Alex Vivanco. It was the freshman's third goal of the season and occurred after Georgia State cleared a Mason (7-7-3, 4-5-1) corner kick at 38:38 that led to a transition opportunity for Weise and Vivanco.
Vivanco sealed the victory with a beautiful unassisted score in the 60th minute, his first goal of the season. After Georgia State gained possession on an attempted through ball, Vivanco corralled junior midfielder Eric Lawrence's long clear on the right wing. Vivanco made a beautiful move to cut inside on his defender and snuck the ball past the charging goalkeeper to give GSU a 2-0 lead at 59:17. It was the midfielder's first goal since netting one in GSU's regular-season finale last year vs. Towson and the first three-point game of his career.
"It was a great long ball by Eric Lawrence and a great individual effort from Alex," head coach Brett Surrency said of the junior's goal. "He just split the defenders and put a nice ball on goal."
"The weather was awful and I just wanted to free myself and try to score," Vivanco said, "The defender stepped and I saw a chance to knock it around him and run and I got the ball past the keeper when he came out."
Georgia State battled through steady showers in the first half in Fairfax, Va., before the rain eventually turned into a steady snow just before halftime. The snow continued through the second half and formed a white layer on the field at the George Mason Stadium that affected play in the second half.
"Given the weather, it took away from what we like to do," Surrency said, "We played a little more of a defensive game today and didn't take a whole lot of chances. We just made sure to take advantage of the few opportunities we had."
GSU goalkeeper Vincent Foermer starred in net and finished with seven saves, including several diving stops in the second half, to earn the win. The junior moved into fifth place alone on GSU's career saves list with 191, passing former Panther J.B. Wood, '03.
"Foermer was massive for us, that was his best game of the year," Surrency said, "He made some absolutely huge saves. George Mason had very good opportunities and he made some world-class saves."
Just before Vivanco's goal, Foermer made a diving save to preserve the one-goal lead on a shot from George Mason's Ryan Gracia at 53:11. Foermer got a piece of the ball before it hit the crossbar. After the Vivanco goal put the Panthers up two, Foermer stopped Mason forward Hugh Roberts after the forward broke in and had a clean look on net. Foermer dove to his right to stop the chance.
He made one more outstanding save, this time diving to his left to stop a shot by Patriots midfielder Leo Stoltz. Stoltz, a native of Foermer's home country of Germany, rifled a high shoot on goal at the 79:03 mark that the goalkeeper fought off.
With only two matches remaining in regular season, GSU plays at VCU in its next match on Wednesday (7 p.m.) with CAA Tournament spots on the line. The Rams could possibly tie GSU and William & Mary in the CAA standings with a win on Saturday. Check www.GeorgiaStateSports.com early next week for a preview of Wednesday's match at VCU.