Team looks forward to much-needed time off

FAIRFAX, Va. – GW’s women’s soccer team can finally stop and take a breath. The Colonials finished a stretch of five games in 10 days Sunday, a period that coincided with the start of classes. Between traveling to and from Vermont two weekends ago and playing in the George Mason Invitational, the team could easily blame its heavy workload for its scoreless weekend – but they didn’t.

“We’re never tired. We’re not allowed to be tired,” senior goalie Amie Kern said. “It’s all a mental thing and you have to fight through it.”

The fight will now become easier, as the Colonials don’t play again until a Sept. 21 match against University at Buffalo. During the 12 days off, the team said it will catch up on schoolwork and analyze the first five games of the season in hopes of improving on strengths and fixing flaws.

Spending so much time together brought the team closer, Kern said, and those who didn’t see much time on the field ran voluntary wind sprints after Sunday’s match. The players participate in the drill after every game, regardless of the result, in a show of solidarity.

Head coach Tanya Vogel said the team has had private bonding exercises, including a picnic held in the parking lot after Sunday’s loss, but the break would be brief. “Relaxing” was not on the mouths of players or coaches after the game – they will instead take a quick step back in order to analyze where the team is headed.

“We’re all looking forward to having some time to.get some training in,” Kern said. “We haven’t had time to train – our days off have been recovery days.”

Vogel was sympathetic of her team’s heavy workload, acknowledging that much, perhaps too much, was asked of the group. The eighth-year coach shouldered part of the responsibility for Sunday’s loss, but also blamed some of the match’s missed opportunities on a lack of practice time.

Practice time will no longer be in short supply in the upcoming days, as staying focused becomes the team’s biggest challenge. Kern is not worried about the latter issue, noting that although the hardest part of the schedule is behind the team, the season has just begun.

“We could build off of the whole week, we’re going to look back on it in October.” Kern said, “When people are saying then that they’re a little tired, they’ll remember that they survived five games in ten days so we can do anything.”

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