With just under five minutes left to play in Wednesday’s women’s lacrosse game against George Mason, GW head coach Tara Hannaford thought her team might just win their first game of the season. Having lost their first four games of the season and down 12-5 with less than 20 minutes to play, the team scored six unanswered goals to bring the Patriots’ lead down to one.
But it wasn’t enough, as the Colonials failed to score the rest of the game, ultimately falling 16-11.
“I was really going, ‘I think we’re going to win this one!’ ” Hannaford said after the game. “There was just one last score that didn’t go in and if that had, I think we really would have.”
Instead, the Patriots reeled off a four-goal run to win. At one point, everything was in the Colonials’ (0-5) favor: The team was landing passes and found the back of the net six times in 15 minutes. They successfully defended two George Mason penalty shots, but later lapses on the defensive side sealed GW’s loss.
Hannaford discussed getting the team to a higher level of productivity, a sentiment that her players echoed.
“We’ve talked about how we’ve got to play the full 60 minutes,” senior midfielder Katherine Sampson, who scored three goals, said. “We start out strong, but then fall behind.”
Hannaford said she believes her team is playing well for about 50 minutes of their hour-long contests and would like to see better communication and organization defensively to break up big runs from the opposing team, such as George Mason’s flurry of scoring to close Wednesday’s game.
Freshman attack Kristina Beese, whose two goals helped fuel the Colonials’ comeback bid, said she thought the team’s play was improved from past losing efforts. Hannaford said she saw the same thing from her team Wednesday.
“We’ve been [down by a lot] before, and today was the first time that the girls didn’t get frazzled or panicky,” Hannaford said. “You could see that they felt they were the better team, and they played more confidently.”
In addition to working with the defense to prevent the midgame lapses that have plagued GW this season, Hannaford would like to her team improve their patience and composure late in games.
Down the stretch of Wednesday’s loss, Sampson said, the Colonials were teeming with excitement at the prospect of putting their first win of 2009 in the books.
“We were so close and we were all really psyched,” Sampson said of the surge that left them one goal down with three minutes to play. “We really, really wanted it, but then it fell apart again.”