A month ago on Sept. 18, the GW women’s soccer team fell to James Madison University for its sixth-straight loss to open the season.
GW didn’t lose again until exactly one month later, falling to Duquesne Sunday. In between, the Colonial women won a school-record eight consecutive games, including six straight in the Atlantic 10.
GW (8-7, 6-1 A-10) broke the previous record of six straight wins with a win over Rhode Island last weekend and extended it to eight with a victory over St. Bonaventure Friday.
“It was tough to stay focused and move forward and try to take that entire first half as a learning experience,” GW head coach Michele Rodriguez-Smith said. “Right before the James Madison tournament we sat down, had a talk and we played well that weekend so we felt we could put the first six games behind us.”
GW is back in action next weekend when it plays at Dayton Friday and at Xavier Sunday. The team also has a tough non-conference match against the University of Maryland Oct. 28, which should be a good indicator of where the Colonial women stand late in the season, Rodriguez-Smith said.
“It’s going well as far is in the A-10,” junior Katy McQuillin said. “We’re usually putting teams away. We had a little trouble getting into our rhythm at the beginning of this (the St. Bonaventure) game, which we can’t do against teams like Maryland.”
Duquesne 1, GW 0
The Colonial women lost their first A-10 game of the season to Duquesne Sunday at South Riding Field, bringing the program’s longest winning streak to an end.
Duquesne (7-6-1, 2-4-1 A-10) scored the only goal of the game in the 22nd minute when freshman Abbie Burns scored on a corner kick from senior Erin McKane, beating GW goalie Rima Sidhu.
Freshman goalie Shannon Ashfield shut out Duquesne in the second half, but GW was unable to tie the game in the second 45-minute period. The Colonial women outshot Duquesne 15-11 and had 11 corner kicks to the Lady Dukes’ five but couldn’t convert them into a score.
GW 5, St. Bonaventure 0
GW rolled over St. Bonaventure Friday at South Riding for its eighth consecutive victory.
The Colonial women scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the ninth minute when junior Malynda Nichol scored unassisted. Nichol played the ball up the left side and beat three defenders to give GW a 1-0 lead.
Two GW substitutes created the scoring play that led to GW’s second goal in the 37th minute. Freshman Angelica Caramanica worked the ball to the Bonnies’ endline and then dribbled toward their goal, nearly going out of bounds. Caramanica then played the ball back to the top of the goal box and hit a cutting Melissa Schreibstein. She put the ball in the upper half of the net for her first goal of the season.
“Coming off our bench, we want our players to know what they’re doing and to have the confidence to play out there,” Rodriguez-Smith said. “And that’s what they’re giving us, they’re giving us that spark off the bench.”
GW’s lead stayed at 2-0 until late in the second half, when freshman Keisha Christoph scored on assists from McQuillin and Caramanica. The Colonial women turned the game into a blowout in the final minutes. Senior Jane Lea took a direct kick in the 88th minute, weaving the ball past St. Bonaventure’s wall and goalie Karen Cunningham to push the lead to 4-0.
Lea scored GW’s fifth goal less than a minute later. The play started at midfield when sophomore Lauren Papalia cut across the field to receive a pass and touched it behind her to Lea, who was sprinting upfield. She dribbled from the right to the center of the field toward the net, drawing Cunningham out and netted her second goal.
St. Bonaventure (6-5-1, 2-3-1) managed just eight shots against GW, while the Colonial women had 22 shots. Sidhu, Ashfield and senior Amy Pederson combined for the shutout.