FAIRFAX, Va. — For the GW women’s soccer team, the 1-0 loss at George Mason Sunday afternoon was less of disappointment than a learning experience.
“We’re actually not (upset about the loss),” head coach Tanya Vogel said. “We got better this weekend. No one outside the team is going to believe that, but our team got better. We got our butts kicked Friday night (in a 5-0 loss to Georgetown). We didn’t play our game and we gave them opportunities and they took advantage of every opportunity we gave them.”
The Colonials (3-2) could not convert their own scoring opportunities Sunday either, sending balls above or to either side of the net or within easy reach of George Mason (3-1) goalie Kasey Devenport. GW’s best chance at scoring came less than two minutes into the second half, when junior Meg Pyle received the ball inside the goalie box and had just the keeper to beat. Pyle’s kick went straight to Davenport.
Freshman Kristin Slack also found herself inside the goalie box with an opportunity to even the score, as the Patriots scored five minutes into the second half, launching a shot headed for the upper left corner of the net. Davenport dove and punched the ball away from the goal.
Sophomore Brittany Eger broke away from her defender midway into George Mason’s territory and, with no one between herself and Davenport, received the ball from senior Nicole Trickett. Eger’s shot went wide left.
“We had opportunities galore and we didn’t put them away,” Vogel said. “I told (my players) that as a team, that’s something we have to focus on, those opportunities.”
Vogel also emphasized the importance of her squad not losing confidence even when they don’t have offensive production.
“I think the way we look at everything this year, it’s as a team,” Vogel said. “And one of the things I told them, no matter how long it takes us to convert, we have to continue to believe in it. We need to have the confidence that we can score because we definitely have the ability.”
GW goalie Amie Kern echoed Vogel’s sentiments, stressing that her teammates must remain poised even when struggling to score.
“We just have to fight through it, tell each other that we have a great group of girls on the sideline, on the field. We just have to keep fighting,” Kern said.
Kern, who was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player last weekend at the TD Banknorth Classic, where the Colonials defeated New Hampshire and Vermont to win the tournament, also said that she has accepted the pressure that comes with keeping a game close when the offense doesn’t produce.
“That’s my job,” Kern said. “I have a great defense in front of me. There’s a lot of pressure but it comes with the territory. We’ve all been playing together now for a year. We just have to keep building off of it. We excel at that position for a reason.”
The Colonials next face University at Buffalo at the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex Sept. 21 at 4 p.m.