The GW women’s soccer team lost its conference opener to host Richmond Saturday in a 3-0 shutout at First Market Stadium. The Colonials were out-shot 25-7 by the Spiders and leading scorer Kim Warner was held to one shot.
Richmond (4-2-1, 1-0 Atlantic 10) was a tough opponent for the Colonials’ first A-10 match, as the Spiders returned 14 players from a team that was the runner-up in last year’s A-10 tournament behind champion Dayton. Last year, the Spiders beat the Colonials 3-2 in their only meeting in an overtime match.
Assistant coach Colin Lennon, filling in for head coach Tanya Vogel who was out of town for the game, said his team is not discouraged by the loss and that next week’s conference games against St. Bonaventure (5-3, 0-1 A-10) and Duquesne (5-4, 1-0 A-10) will be easier.
“It’s always great to get a first conference win, but there are ten games left and I see us competing for the four tournament spots,” he said. “If we can pull ahead with two wins next weekend we’ll be in good position.”
Richmond forward Jenna Merriam led the Spiders, scoring twice and assisting on the other goal.
Merriam netted her first goal in the 13th minute off a pass from sophomore Whitney Sikes. Merriam came out of a scramble in front of the Colonials’ goal and beat GW goalkeeper Kelly Paolucci for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Paolucci, starting in place of junior Christine O’Malley, made six saves for the Colonials.
“Paolucci is a terrific goal keeper,” Lennon said. “She has good size in the box and good presence in goal. She has earned her (starting) spot.”
Merriam struck again in the 39th minute, giving the Spiders a 2-0 halftime advantage. This time she scored from five yards out on a set up by classmate Meredith Johnson.
The Colonials (3-5-0, 0-1 A-10) were out-shot 14-3 in the first half. GW mustered two shots on goal, both saved by Spider goalkeeper Megan Cox for her second shutout of the season. This is the third time this season the Colonials have been shut out, while they have shut out an opponent only once.
Lennon said his team matched up well with Richmond talent wise, but the Colonials are still moving positions around and have not “put it together yet.”
“Richmond has a talented team. We looked great at times and not so great at times, and Richmond took advantage when we were not looking so great,” Lennon said.
In the second half, the Spiders added an insurance goal in the 81st minute when Merriam assisted junior forward Jessica Marino, who beat the Colonial defenders and an outstretched Paolucci.
The Colonials return home to the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex this weekend to host conference opponents St. Bonaventure Friday at 4 p.m. and Duquesne, which is riding a five-game winning streak, at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
-Lauren Silva contributed to this report.