When senior forward Meg Pyle came out of the locker room in the GW women’s soccer game Friday, she was ready to find the back of the net and give her team a win. The first half of the match had been evenly played and the Colonials had few chances to score, but Pyle wanted to put some goals on the board.
What was she wasn’t ready for, however, was Richmond to come blasting out and score two back-to-back goals in the opening seconds of the half.
“I was just in shock,” Pyle said. “It happened so fast, I just thought, ‘Oh, my God, that just happened.’
Richmond scored 26 seconds into the second half, then quickly again and held on to win 2-1, ending GW’s hopes for making the Atlantic 10 tournament. Senior midfielder Kerry Philbin scored for the Colonials in the last minute of play.
GW coach Tanya Vogel was ejected in the first half after arguing with a referee about a call. Vogel was yellow-carded twice.
“I was very shocked,” Vogel said. “I didn’t expect the first one and was even more surprised when he pulled out the second one. The ref just seemed to have a short fuse, and he wanted to make a point so he did.”
Pyle and Vogel weren’t the only ones shocked by the way the game played out. Assistant Neel Bhattacharjee, who took over for Vogel after the ejection, was also caught off-guard.
“It was sort of a shock to the system to have Richmond score like that, but we were able to recover and maintained much better possession after,” Bhattacharjee said.
The team had not been good on maintaining possession in the first half and addressed it at halftime. Players and coaches discussed moving the ball faster and Pyle looked to the midfielders to get the ball where it needed to be. Philbin agreed, adding that there were at times a huge gap between the forwards and midfielders which Philbin attributed miscommunication.
Bhattacharjee also wanted the team to win possession of more balls defensively and have the forwards move up quickly. For Bhattacharjee, the team’s best play came in the last 25 minutes of the second half, but he was disappointed in just getting a last-second goal.
“The girls definitely played much better and deserved more than a last-minute desperate goal,” Bhattacharjee said. “They had some really great chances, but a few hit the posts and a couple went wide. But we were happy to score – we deserved it and needed it.”
With the loss, GW is now 3-6-0 in conference play, putting them in 11th place and seven points behind sixth-place Saint Bonaventure. The top six teams make the tournament. With just two games left, two wins would only earn the Colonials six points, leaving them on the outside looking in.