After torching the Temple Owls for four unanswered goals in the opening 5:30, the GW women’s lacrosse team stumbled, losing the game 13-10 on Sunday.
In front of about 300 GW and Temple fans at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex, attackers Colleen Schmidt, a senior, and Laura Hostetler, a junior, scored three goals apiece, but it was not enough to propel the Colonials past the Owls. GW (5-8) has now dropped two of three Atlantic 10 conference games after losing to Richmond last Sunday and stunning Saint Joseph’s in a dramatic overtime comeback victory Friday.
With a 1-2 record in the A-10, the Colonials must win a majority of their four remaining in-conference games to have a chance to qualify for the A-10 Tournament. The four teams with the best A-10 records will qualify for the tournament, which will be held at Mount Vernon on May 5-7.
A pair of Temple timeouts halted the Colonials’ momentum on Sunday. With GW ahead 4-0 with 24:26 remaining in the first half, Temple gathered itself with a timeout, then went on a 6-3 scoring run to end the half. They opened the second period with five consecutive goals to claim the lead, 11-7.
The Colonials responded with three sequential goals to close the Owls’ lead to 11-10 with 7:15 remaining, prompting Temple to regroup with their second timeout. When play resumed, GW was held scoreless for the rest of the game and Temple found the net two more times, sealing their win.
“They stifled the momentum we had,” head coach Chrissy Lombard said. “We forgot how hard we had to work those first four minutes. (We) just started playing safe, rather that challenging (Temple).”
“We broke down a little bit with fundamentals,” junior attacker Kristina Harvey said. She added that the Colonials had to improve “catching and throwing and following (our) plays.”
Temple orchestrated a number of long offensive possessions that forced the Colonials to play tight defense for several minutes at a time. On the occasions GW stopped Temple’s offense, GW’s attack would only fire one quick shot, giving the ball right back to Temple, without making the Owls’ defense work hard. Eventually, the GW defense got worn down, allowing Temple attackers to get open shots.
“After we (have been on) defense for five minutes, we need to make better decisions on attack,” assistant coach Rebecca Ferrell said. The offense too often took one quick shot, putting the team right back on defense again, she added.
“(Long defensive stands) not only wear out the defense, they wear out the midfielders as well,” junior defenseman Molly Gannon said. “When we finally do get back on attack, our center (Kristin) Karcsh and Lauren Bower, our wing, are beat. They’re absolutely beat; they need a minute or so (to rest).”
For about eight minutes in the second half, Lombard sat Hostetler, the Colonials’ leading scorer. When Hostetler rejoined the action, she netted two goals.
“I just wanted her to focus on her decision-making,” Lombard said. “Usually she’s pretty strong at that,” but Hostetler needed to refocus, she added.
GW outshot Temple 27-18, but goalies junior Emily Fortunato and sophomore Caitlin Garman recorded only two saves in the game. Temple posted 10 saves.
“We just had a little difficulty today getting tight (defense) on cutters,” Fortunato said. “We were definitely a step slow today.”
One of the Colonials’ downfalls was their inability to cash in on free-position shots; GW made only one of seven attempts. The women came into the contest making 18 free-position shots on the season.
GW has 12 days off until its next game at St. Bonaventure in Olean, N.Y., on April 21. The team then travels to Pittsburgh two days later to take on Duquesne. The Colonials wrap up their A-10 schedule, and their regular season, with a pair of home games on April 28 and 30 versus La Salle and Massachusetts, respectively.