Fourteen seconds into GW’s home game Friday against Davidson College (N.C.), junior attacker Laura Hostetler tried to set a theme for the upcoming season: aggressiveness. In beating Davidson 17-9 at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex and losing a thriller 11-10 to William and Mary Sunday in Williamsburg, Va., the team (3-6) seemed to follow Hostetler’s lead.
GW’s only lacrosse program was born in 2002 and has improved each season, posting win totals of four, seven, eight and 13. This year’s team faces a serious challenge after nine seniors, including seven starters, graduated at the end of last season.
“We’re young and we want to make sure we build on our experiences,” second-year head coach Chrissy Lombard said. “Toward the end of the season is when we’re really going to be able to step it up and play our game.”
In Hostetler, GW has a stand-out star. The niece of former NFL quarterback Jeff Hostetler has already established school records in career goals (99) and points (141) entering the season.
“I really want the girls to experience some upsets, beating some top-ranked teams,” assistant coach Rebecca Ferrell said after Friday’s game.
For the team, progress had been steady up until this year. At 3-6 in this year’s young season, they have been hampered by the departure of last year’s seniors. They lost narrowly by a combined five goals to nationally ranked Johns Hopkins and Towson in late February and early March.
“Last year we had a lot of close wins and this year we’ve had a lot of close losses,” senior attacker Annie Howley said. “We’re improving now, we’re on a streak and hopefully we’ll stay strong.”
The players and coaches made it evident that their goal from this point onward is to earn an Atlantic 10 Tournament berth. Of the eight A-10 schools with Division I women’s lacrosse programs (Duquesne, GW, La Salle, Massachusetts, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, and Temple), only the four teams with the top conference records will compete in the tournament.
GW hosts the A-10 Tournament May 7-9 at Mount Vernon. The tournament may coincide with final exams, but the players do not want to be on the sideline during the contest.
“I would much rather be playing in it then working it,” Gannon said.
The Colonials’ road to playing in May will get more arduous before it gets easier, when they host currently ninth-ranked Richmond on April 2 to kick off their conference schedule.
The Colonials’ road to playing in May will get more arduous before it gets easier, when they host currently ninth-ranked Richmond on April 2 to kick off their conference schedule. GW qualified for the tournament last year for the first time, but fell in the opening game to Duquesne, 13-10. This year, they want to win a game and advance to the finals.
“Now our heads are up,” Howley said after Friday’s game. “Everyone’s feeling confident.”
Against Davidson, Hostetler got it going for GW in the victory Friday by finding the back of the net before Davidson even knew what hit them. Hostetler finished with three goals.
Sophomore attacker Laura Wunk led the Colonials with five scores and senior attackers Howley and Colleen Schmidt added two goals apiece.
GW’s offensive siege Friday was relentless, forcing the ball down the field, firing 36 shots on goal and capitalizing on five-of-seven free-position shots.
The Colonials could not rest for long. Sunday, the Colonials were edged 11-10 by William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Hostetler continued her prowess with a pair of goals and an assist for GW.