GW earns two important wins, Smith breaks scoring record

soccer As the season winds down, when many games translate into must-win situations, a team almost always looks to its stars to put it into the win column.

That’s what the GW women’s soccer team did this weekend when it looked to senior Chemar Smith to lead it to two huge wins over Atlantic 10 rivals Xavier and Dayton at South Riding Field.

In the two games, Smith figured into all four goals her team scored and registered two goals and an assist.

With her goal Friday against Xavier, Smith became GW’s all-time scoring leader, surpassing Diane Kelly’s record 96 points. Smith now has 101 points in her career.

The wins also were extremely important to the team, which virtually guaranteed itself a trip to the A-10 Tournament. GW (10-5-2, 7-2 A-10) entered the weekend in third place in the conference, but left assured of at least a tie for second with Xavier.

“We played well against two great teams this weekend,” head coach Shannon Higgins-Cirovski said. “Those are two of the teams that are going to be at the (Atlantic 10) Conference Tournament.”

GW 2, Dayton 0

Playing in a steady rain and below average temperatures, the Colonial women shut out the Flyers at South Riding Field Sunday afternoon.

With the weather affecting both the players and the field and acting as a major role in the game, Higgins-Cirovski felt her team adapted to the conditions better than Dayton (12-3, 6-3 A-10).

“We had a game plan that was going to work on the surface today,” Higgins-Cirovski said. “We tried to play the ball forward with one touch and made sure we played in their end rather than our end.”

Smith was able to lead GW through its muddy and torn up home field with a win by playing a part in both her team’s goals.

“We just tried to stay mentally focused,” Smith said. “In a game like this, anything can happen.”

Smith proved anything really can happen. She took a shot from 10 yards out on the right endline in the 22nd minute that should only have passed in front of Dayton’s goal. But Dayton defender Jenny Davin deflected the ball into the net to give GW the game-winning goal.

“They were only playing with three backs, and with our two strikers (Smith and junior Jane Andersen), we just wanted to put it up there so we could take them on with fewer people in the backfield,” Higgins-Cirovski said.

Senior Traci Jensen also stepped up for the Colonial women, making six saves in an extremely muddy goal box.

“I just had to go out there and fight that much harder because you never know what’s going to happen with the puddles and the rain on the field,” Jensen said.

Smith was able to put the game away late in the second half. Andersen made a beautiful crossing pass in the 69th minute, which Smith headed into the bottom left corner of the goal to make the score 2-0.

GW 2, Xavier 1

GW defeated Xavier by a score of 2-1 at South Riding Field Friday afternoon.

The win was a big one for the team in terms of standings in the A-10, but the game also signified a momentous occasion in GW soccer as senior Chemar Smith became the program’s all-time leading scorer.

The game went down to the last minute, as GW was able to score with only 41 seconds left. Smith assisted fellow senior Carri Sellers in scoring the game-winning goal.

Xavier was the first team to get on the board when senior Amanda Gruber scored unassisted from the left side in the 37th minute.

“They had two great strikers,” Higgins-Cirovski said. “They’re deadly. Our defense did a great job on them.”

In the 70th minute of the game, Smith broke the scoring record when she scored without an assist from 15 yards out, tying the score at 1-1.

“She (Chemar) played really inspired this weekend,” Higgins-Cirovski said.

After Smith’s goal, neither team was able to convert on any scoring opportunities until Sellers’ goal in the final minute.

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