Until Friday, it would not have been much of a stretch to dub the GW women’s soccer team the “cardiac kids” of the Atlantic 10.
In their season-opening 3-1 loss to Rutgers, all three of their opponents’ goals came with less than 25 minutes remaining. Then the Colonials experienced a double dose of last-minute drama – first losing 2-1 to Old Dominion off a last-second goal, then winning 3-2 against Bryant in exactly the same fashion.
Things weren’t quite that close in GW’s 2-0 loss to No. 14 Wake Forest Friday and its Sunday loss at Virginia Tech by the same score, but head coach Tanya Vogel didn’t seem to have a problem taking positives away.
“It’s funny, in both the Rutgers game and the Old Dominion game we went into halftime up a goal, but we hadn’t played very well. Our second halves against those teams were much better … but that’s when we conceded goals,” Vogel said Saturday. “I don’t like to lose in any way, no matter when the goals are scored, (but) I thought our girls actually did a really good job (against Wake Forest). Their two goals were well-earned, but by no means were we overmatched.”
The matchup against a ranked Deamon Deacon team was just one part of the Colonials’ challenging out-of-conference schedule, which will get tougher when they play the ACC’s Virginia Tech Sunday in Blacksburg, Va.
The objective of these games, according to Vogel, isn’t so much to go out and win every one but rather to use them to prepare the team for the rigors of the Atlantic 10, where the Colonials have a combined 16-30-5 record since the last time they made the conference tournament in 2002.
“We switched our schedule around and put on some major powers because we want our kids to be stretched, and we really want to compete at a national level,” Vogel said. “We’re not focusing on wins and losses per se; we’re focusing on how we’re playing. That focus will start to shift as we near the A-10s because we (also) want to learn how to win.”
And at a national level, winning is all about speed, Vogel said. The head coach’s training sessions since the start of the season have been focused almost entirely on increasing the GW’s quickness of play, forcing her players to play, as she puts it, “as effective and efficient of a game as possible.”
Also high on the coach’s agenda is getting the team to play with consistency through any given game. As opposed to the “half-good, half-bad” pattern that derailed the team’s efforts against Rutgers, Vogel hopes to get her squad playing well all game, every game.
Take care of those things, and the wins will come, she said. In fact, one already has.
“Those are areas that I think we’ve improved upon,” Vogel said. “That Bryant game was great for us because we found a way to win … even though it took us all the way until the 90th minute to do so.”