BALTIMORE – UMBC produced its best overall effort of the season, blanking visiting George Mason, 2-0, before 1,715 fans in a non-conference game at Retriever Soccer Park.
The Retrievers improved to 5-2-1 on the campaign and won for the second time in five days, while Mason's two-game winning streak was halted and they fell to 4-5-0.
Freshman Patrick Jean-Gilles (Woodbridge, Va.) scored his first career goal for the game-winner in the 10th minute of play, while junior Kennedy O'Shea (South Riding, Va.), making his first career start, added his fourth goal early in the second half for the Retrievers.
UMBC outshot GMU, 14-7, including 10-2 in the second half. Patriot netminder Steffen Kraus was forced to make eight saves, including brilliant stops on Jean-Gilles and senior forward Darius Madison (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the second half. UMBC junior goalkeeper Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa.) was only forced to make one save to post his third shutout of the season.
The Retrievers, who have come from behind in their last two victories, played crisply from the outset and scored on a textbook passing play. Senior midfielder Michael Scott (Fife, Scotland) dribbled in from the midline and passed to O'Shea, acting as a target just outside the box. O'Shea touched the ball to an onrushing Jean-Gilles, who beat Kraus from 14 yards out into the upper portion of the cage.
Kraus had just made a leaping save to thwart Madison, but Scott again initiated the goal, this time from the left corner kick spot. His arching effort into the box found Madison, who headed the ball towards the right side of the goal, where O'Shea bodied the ball the rest of the way across the goal line.
UMBC dominated time of possession in the second half and recorded its first shutout since a 1-0 victory over Ohio State on Sept. 4.
It has been a productive week for Madison (2g, 2a, 1GWG), O'Shea (2g, 2a) and Scott (3a) in wins over Mason and George Washington (3-2).
The win by UMBC evened the all-time series at 7-7-1 and avenged a 3-0 loss in Fairfax in 2014.
UMBC gets back to action on Tuesday, when they host Howard at 7:00 p.m.