After leading for most of the contest, the GW women’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to James Madison on Sunday afternoon.
The Colonials (1-3) struck first, as Shari Taylor put the team on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal in the sixth minute. Taylor, who typically plays the role of a defender, manned into the forward spot for the battle against James Madison.
“We mixed things up today,” said head coach Tanya Vogel of the club’s most recent lineup changes. “A lot of times at this point in the year, teams have scouting reports on you, and the last thing I want us to become is predictable. Shari capitalized on the fact that she’s fast as hell. She was excellent.”
“I got a phone call at about 10 o’clock (on Saturday night) saying that I would be playing forward, which is something that I haven’t done in a really, really long time,” noted the junior from Fort Washington, Md. “I was still a little anxious when I got to the field, but it worked out.”
For the rest of the first half, the Colonials had the defenders on their heels, as GW failed to convert on a number of quality opportunities. In the second half, James Madison (3-1) turned the tables, creating a number of scoring chances of their own, each of which was turned away by Kelly Paolucci (eight saves).
“My hat is off to Kelly Paolucci,” Vogel said. “Kelly has been playing the role of second-string goalkeeper for two straight seasons. Our goalkeeper is sick right now, so Kelly had to step up in our biggest game of the year thus far, and she was extraordinary. She had a great save in the first half, and was strong in the second half. I can’t say enough about her.”
With just more than five minutes remaining, James Madison tied the score on a goal by Kim Argy, her second of the season. Then, just four minutes into sudden-death overtime, Annie Lowry’s shot found the back of the net, giving the Dukes the 2-1 triumph.
“The girls rose to the occasion. They proved to themselves that they can play on this level,” Vogel said. “Our game fitness proved to be a little bit not where we wanted to be, and that’s why we got tired at the end.”
“(James Madison) is a team that just lost 1-0 to (the University of Virginia), which is one of the top teams in the country, so to know we could compete with them was heartening,” Taylor said.
The squad returns to action on Friday at 4 p.m. against St. Francis of Pennsylvania.
“St. Francis will come and be a challenging team for us,” Vogel said. “I think this team knows that today they made a statement to each other that they can play at the highest level. Now they just need to get some wins, and I tell them it’s going to come. Friday’s a perfect opportunity for us to go get one.”