As the women’s soccer team battled against an unwavering American University squad Sept. 19, the squad’s emotions were left on the field.
In the end, GW proved itself to be a stronger competitor than its local rival, as the Colonials trumped the Eagles 2-1 in a thriller that came down to the game’s final minutes.
With four minutes left to play and the game knotted at one apiece, sophomore Meg Pyle netted her fourth goal of the year. It came 23 minutes after Colonials coach Tanya Vogel was given a yellow card for criticizing the officiating. Vogel’s passion throughout the game lifted her squad, as she was overheard yelling “Punish! Punish!”
“I think the team is definitely driven,” Vogel said. “We’re 3-0 at home and looking to keep that advantage.”
Before Pyle’s winning goal, the Colonials relied on their defense to stay in the game. Freshman Dara Rosen and sophomore Meg Pyle led the attack into their opponents’ territory, but the team’s real strength in the first half was provided by a stalwart defense led by senior Shari Taylor, one of the team’s three captains.
“Shari is a crucial player to the team; she leads well by example,” sophomore Christy Mazzola said.
Taylor’s defense allowed the Colonials to control play early on, much to the frustration of Eagles coach Michael Brady, who could be heard criticizing his players on and off the field for their lackadaisical effort.
The game’s first score came late in the first half, as sophomore Lauren Kelley served up a picturesque free kick to sophomore co-captain Kerry Philbin, who played the ball in mid-air and blasted a header into the back of the net. The GW bench erupted in applause for the goal, and the energy the celebration provided lifted the Colonials’ spirits and guided them into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
The second half was a different story. The Eagles rushed onto the field with newfound passion and initiated a relentless attack, launching seemingly endless shots. They dominated the field of play for the first twenty minutes of the second half. The attack culminated in the 63rd minute, when American senior Meg Runeari provided the equalizer, delivering a strike from 35 yards out that squeaked into the top left corner of the GW goal.
The goal also delivered a blow to the Colonials confidence, but sophomore Amie Kern, the team’s goalie, prevented additional goals, finishing the game with four saves.
“It felt amazing; it’s always fun to beat American,” Pyle said.
With the GW win, the Colonials improved to 6-3-1 for the season, and the Eagles fell to 4-3-1. The squad will next face Rider at home on Sept. 26.