When head coach Tanya Vogel glanced down the sideline at the visitors’ bench during the GW women’s soccer team’s 2-1 overtime victory over Vermont Sunday, the scene reminded her of her GW dorm room 15 years ago.
The metal benches and soccer players may not have been the dorm d?cor back then, but one thing remained the same: standing not too far away was Vogel’s former college roommate and current head coach of Vermont, Kerry Dziczkaniec.
“It’s hard coaching against her,” Vogel said after the win. “I’ve coached against Kerry before when she was an assistant coach at Maryland, but it’s always hard because on game day it’s about GW and it’s about our team, but blood is thicker than water, and Kerry is like a sister to me. It’s definitely fun and challenging all at once, and I’m glad it’s over.”
Vogel showered Dziczkaniec with compliments but said her trademark quality has always been her refusal to quit. Vermont adopted that quality and almost converted a game-winning breakaway in overtime. GW goalie Amie Kern was forced to race off her line and make a sliding tackle to give GW the win.
“(Kerry) is mentally strong, and I knew that they would never go away,” Vogel said. “That was all portrayed in the way that they fought and fought, and they almost took the game away from us. Fortunately, Amie came up really big so we had a chance to put it away at the end.”
Defender Kiki Colker, a junior, was the Colonial who put the game away in the 98th minute with a header to the far post off a corner kick from defender Lauren Kelly, a sophomore.
Colker said in the past she has been over-anxious to score but Sunday afternoon, she was able to convert successfully.
“One of my teammates told me to make sure that I hold my run, so I waited and waited, called off my teammates because I knew I had the best angle at it, and I put it home,” Colker said. “This was my second career goal, and they’ve both been headers so I think that’s my best strategy. It was definitely one of my most memorable moments, and it’s always nice to be able to win the game for the team and have everyone be really happy.”
After an eight-goal offensive explosion against Howard on Sept. 6, GW was shutout in its last two games in losses to Georgetown and James Madison. Sophomore Kerry Philbin, who put the Colonials up 1-0 in the 27th minute, said it was vital that the team come out and score the first goal.
Vermont responded 10 minutes later on a free kick by midfielder Lexie Kaknes when the ball skipped into the net after an errant kick by a GW defender.
“You always get shaken up a little bit when the other team scores, but we were able to come back and fight hard and continue to go at them,” Colker said. “It was hot outside, but as long as we stayed together we were able to win. It was an absolute team effort, with everyone off the bench contributing as well.”
Prior to overtime, Vogel said she told her team to exploit Vermont’s fatigue from its 6-0 loss to Virginia on Friday night.
“We knew that we would eventually get our opportunities,” Vogel said. “We talked a little bit tactically about what we wanted to do because we knew that they were tired in the back, so we told them to play the ball a little bit earlier, and we did that.”
Vogel noted that with several key games at home this season, it is essential for the Colonials to take advantage of every opportunity.
“We had a great crowd out here, and losing the last two games against very good teams definitely made this a challenge, but the girls rose to the occasion,” Vogel said.
By out-shooting the Catamounts 17-10, the Colonials managed to remain above .500 and improve their record to 5-3. GW will host American at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex Tuesday at 3 p.m.
Vogel said American will be a tough opponent and her squad will want to exact revenge on the Eagles, who defeated the Colonials 3-1 last season.
“AU will provide another difficult challenge for us, but I think our kids are up for it,” Vogel said. “They’re pissed because we lost to them last year, so they’re ready to play them on Tuesday. It will be a good game.”