Tucker’s strike lifts Patriots past LU, 1-0

Published 11:36 am Thursday, September 24, 2015

George Mason forward Matt Tucker tallied the night’s only goal in the 56th minute off a rebound that was deflected inside the box, as the Patriots earned a 1-0 victory over Longwood Tuesday night at the Athletics Complex. The goal from Tucker marked the first of the season and was the lone marker of the game on a night the two squads combined to hit two goalposts and a crossbar.

Tucker’s strike in the 56th minute — on George Mason’s first shot on target of the night — came off a blocked shot from teammate Daniel Hoffman and redirected back to the Patriot forward who knocked it past Longwood goalkeeper Carlos Canas.

Canas, the reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Week, made one save on 10 George Mason shots, as he drops to 1-1 on the season. Meanwhile, George Mason (4-4) goalkeeper Michael Butts made three saves — all in the second half — to preserve his second shutout of the season.

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“It’s a disappointment to drop a game that was within our grasp,” said Longwood head coach Jon Atkinson. “I just feel like we can use this game as a learning opportunity from the mistakes that we made.”

The defensive first half featured a total of nine shots with each team hitting a goalpost. Longwood midfielder Dan Campos came inches within scoring his first goal of the season in the 24th minute, but his shot from just outside the top of the box skirted past Butts and struck the left goal post.

The Longwood defense held the George Mason attack to just two shots on goal in the game, as the Lancers outshot the Patriots by a 15-10 margin.

George Mason struck iron on two occasions, with the first coming from the foot of Jannik Eckenrod, who blasted a shot in the 44th minute that was turned away by the goalpost to the left of Canas. Meanwhile, the Henning Dirks struck the crossbar in the 56th minute from long range, accounting for one of three straight Patriot shots within a minute of play, finishing with Tucker’s first goal of the season.

After Sam Yardley was sent off in the 67th minute with his second yellow card of the game, the Lancer attack would force Butts into two of his three saves on the night to preserve the shutout for the Patriots.

Longwood will look to rebound, as the Lancers open the Big South portion of the schedule with a trip to Campbell Saturday. Kickoff has been pushed back 30 minutes from its original start time and is scheduled to get under way at 7:30 p.m.