The GW women’s soccer team narrowly escaped with another victory Sunday, squeaking by Rhode Island on a late goal by senior Kim Warner. The 1-0 victory, coupled with a 1-0 win over Massachusetts Friday, was the Colonials’ 13th straight game without a loss at home and their fifth straight shutout.
GW Head Coach Tanya Vogel said she was happy with the win Sunday but conceded that the performance was not her team’s best.
“Sometimes winning makes you soft,” Vogel said. “And we are so used to winning right now that we forget how hard it is to win.”
Rhode Island (2-7-1, 0-3 Atlantic 10), which beat the Colonials 1-0 in last year’s A-10 Tournament, has struggled all season, but the Rams came out strong and controlled the pace early on Sunday. The Colonials (8-1-2, 2-0-1 A-10) were able to counter URI’s offensive pressure, though, despite playing without midfielder Ina Kaine, who strained her knee in Friday’s game.
In the 28th minute, freshman Sarah Sample and Warner combined for a nice give and go that allowed Warner to get a shot on goal, which was turned away by the fingertips of Rhode Island goalkeeper Melissa Barigone.
The Rams produced their best chance of the first half in the 40th minute when they took a long-range shot that sophomore goalkeeper Anna Handzlik barely touched over the crossbar for a corner kick. Neither team could muster any other significant attacks, as the first half ended deadlocked at 0-0.
The second half started much the same way the first one ended, with Rhode Island on the attack. The Colonials continued their impressive counterattack as a terrific pass from sophomore Ashley Squires found Warner, who was tripped up just outside the box. On the ensuing free kick, sophomore Lise Backman hit the Rhode Island wall and then followed with a great shot that hit the crossbar.
Backman, who has played well for GW all season, made a exceptional pass a few minutes later that was met by an equally good volley from Squires, but her shot went just wide of the post.
The Colonials experienced a rare defensive lapse 25 minutes from the final whistle as Rhode Island was allowed to find an open player in the box, but a Rams header hit the post.
Minutes later, URI got two more chances from last year’s A-10 Rookie of the Year, Melanie Kasperek, who gave the Colonials’ defense trouble all game long. Both her shots hit the crossbar, though.
The breakthrough for GW came in the 85th minute, when Sample headed a pass to Warner, who blasted a shot past a helpless URI keeper. Rhode Island was unable to answer, as the Colonials escaped with a 1-0 victory.
The win was GW’s second of the weekend, with the first coming against a struggling Minutemen (2-5-1. 1-1 A-10) team Friday. The Colonials’ lone goal came from Backman, who put away a pass from Squires for her first collegiate goal.
“Lise is a workhorse,” Vogel said, “She is a workhorse in practice and a workhorse on the field in games and everyone is really excited for her to get that first goal. She deserves it and we’re proud of her.”
Backman and Warner will lead the Colonials away from the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex against a struggling St. Bonaventure team Friday before traveling to play Duquesne Sunday.