Weekend wins give Colonials A-10 tourney berth

With her team stuck in a stalemate against St. Bonaventure and a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season championship on the line, junior Kristin Karcsh, the GW lacrosse team’s leading scorer, was a non-factor in the first half of the Colonials’ 12-11 victory at Mount Vernon Athletic Complex Sunday.

Karcsh and her teammates were not getting opportunities on the attack, she said, but they felt goals would come if they stayed persistent.

“It was just a matter of time,” Karcsh said.

The time came early in the second half. After tallying just one assist in the first session, Karcsh scored five goals, including the game winner, after halftime.

Down 7-6 with 22 minutes left, the junior scored three times in less than two minutes by attacking the defense head-on. The last of the three goals came while falling down in traffic.

No team led by more than two goals during the second half, but with less than three minutes left and the score tied at 11, GW had possession. Karcsh was covered too tightly to receive a pass, so after a teammate shot and missed, she found another way to score: a low underhanded shot off the rebound. The ball snuck past a defender and the goalie, who was screened from seeing the ball until it was nearly past her.

Although she is quick to point out that “it wasn’t a one-person game” and gives credits to her teammates, Karsch’s individual skills cannot be denied.

“She wants to win and she’ll do whatever it takes,” GW head coach Chrissy Lombard-Adair said. “You can just see that from her flying all over the field, getting knocked down and then getting back up again. She constantly is looking for opportunities to score and to feed the ball to her teammates.”

The rebound goal gave the Colonials the lead for good and two minutes, 54 seconds later, GW (10-6, 6-1 A-10) had locked up a share of its first A-10 regular season title.

“(Winning the A-10 regular season title was) very unexpected because we’re so young, but our team has great leadership and these girls have put in a lot of hard work,” Lombard-Adair said. “They’re fearless. They don’t want to be fifth; they want to be first and they’ve done everything they can to be there.”

Karcsh said the key difference between this year and last is the team’s maturity and ability to finish games.

The win Sunday was a team-record sixth straight and Lombard-Adair said it gave GW a psychological edge against the Bonnies. The two teams will face off again Friday in the first round of the A-10 tournament at Temple in Philadelphia. It is GW’s second-ever trip to the A-10 tourney, which extends bids to the top four teams in the conference. Although the Colonials shared the regular season championship with Richmond, the Spiders earned the tournament’s top seed by defeating the Colonials earlier in the season.

“We have momentum, but it’s a new start because nothing in the past matters anymore,” Karcsh said.

She added, “I think we’re the better team. We can beat them – we know that now.”

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