Fall preview – Women’s soccer: We’re going to strike

The GW women’s soccer team has begun its quest for the Atlantic 10 Championship. The Colonials are not as far along as they would like to be, starting the season 1-5, but there is a team sentiment that something special is growing.

We’re going to strike, tri-captain Jessica Sultzer said. I think we’re going to win the Atlantic 10. That is our first goal.

With a young team that includes nine freshman and first-year head coach Tanya Vogel, the Colonials bare little resemblance to the 1999 squad that scored only 16 goals en route to a disappointing 3-15-1 season.

After two losses to begin their season, the Colonials finally got into the win column with an overtime victory at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Sept. 8.

Even if the Colonials are not able to capture the A-10 title, GW can only get better as the team works out some of the problems that come with youth. They’ve proven to be much quicker than their opponents, but have not gelled as a team to the point of making the right pass at the right time.

Look at this team, Vogel said. We’re young, young coaches. Everything we do is a learning experience.

For the Colonials to be successful, they will look no further than the performance of forwards Tiffany Williams, Kesha Christoph and Caroline Donaghue. The three combined for 10 goals and seven assists last year. Tri-captains Sultzer, Melissa Schriebstein and Malynda Nichol supply the team’s leadership.

Strong defensive play from Erin Coppedge and sophomore Kim Warner will be essential as freshman walk-on Christine O’ Malley stands between the pipes as goalkeeper. But O’ Malley has held her own so far with some huge saves. The fearless freshman has no problem diving into traffic to make a save, as her play has helped GW stay competitive so far.

It will be important to see if the Colonials can maintain a consistent level of play for 90 minutes as the A-10 season gets underway. The conference season begins Sept. 29 at Temple. The Colonials defeated the Owls last season 3-0 in their strongest victory of the season. Getting off to a strong start will build team confidence – something needed when GW travels to Rhode Island and Xavier.

It’s our goal to make all 90 minutes, Vogel said.

With a tough schedule that includes only four home games, the team will have to come together quickly to make a run at the championship. Fans can count on the young team to play hard and make it an exciting season.

Without question, this is a team that can win the A-10 championship, Sultzer said.

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