Winning now matters for GW

GW women’s soccer team (2-9, 2-1 Atlantic 10) traveled to UMass and Rhode Island at this time last season. In the midst of a three-match conference winning streak at the time, GW headed north and defeated both teams by one goal.

Head coach Michele Rodriguez-Smith’s team finished 1998 with an 11-10-0 overall and an impressive 9-2 in A-10 play. That year, the Colonial women opened 0-6, and it’s easy to remember that the 1999 Colonial women started their season with a school-record eight-match losing streak.

It’s easy to overlook that some of those opponents were nationally ranked. Similar to last year, GW suffered in the early part of the season, and this year the Colonial women again have opened up strong in the A-10.

What counts this season is that GW is 2-1 in the A-10, and the team hosts Massachusetts and Rhode Island this weekend with a chance to dart out to a 4-1 conference record. Last season’s road victory was GW’s first-ever against UMass after 14 tries.

Rodriguez-Smith has said she believes there is no doubt that her team can win the A-10. Since that comment Sept. 27, when GW opened up A-10 play with a win over Virginia Tech, the Colonial women have scored five goals in three contests.

This same offense only tallied three goals in its first eight matches. In the three A-10 matches the Colonial women have played, GW defeated the Lady Hokies 1-0, lost at Fordham 3-2, and defeated host La Salle in overtime 2-1. In those matches, various Colonial women sparked GW’s offense. Sophomore defender Tiffany Williams scored the only goal of the match against Virginia Tech off a pass from freshman forward Caroline Donaghue.

Since that time, Donaghue added a match-winning goal and an assist to her statistics, while sophomore Kesha Christoph and senior Katy McQuillin have scored their first conference goals of the season.

Sophomore goalkeeper Shannon Ashfield made 15 saves against La Salle and already has one conference shutout this season.

Should its prolific A-10 offense and strong goalkeeping show up against UMass and URI, GW could find itself hovering at the top of the A-10 standings. Suddenly, their historic losing streak won’t matter at all.

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