Senior Misa Eiritz lined up to the right of the penalty box 24 minutes into Sunday’s game at Mount St. Mary’s, aimed, and set to send a left-footed free kick up and toward the goal. Her shot went toward the goal just fine, but never left the ground, skipping past the wall of defenders and a goalkeeper screened by teammate Brittany Eger, and into the net.
“Usually they’re supposed to go in the air,” she said. “But you just get lucky sometimes, I guess.”
Eiritz’s unusual goal would prove to be the game’s lone score, providing all the difference in the women’s soccer team’s 1-0 win.
With sophomore goalie Lindsey Rowe registering her first shut out of GW’s (2-1) young season and the rest of the Colonials withstanding numerous threats to protect their slim advantage, Eiritz and head coach Tanya Vogel said the win was a complete team effort.
“It definitely took everyone out there to get the job done,” Eiritz said.
The team effort took a different form than GW had been accustomed to – literally. Between the team’s loss at Old Dominion Friday and Sunday’s game against the Mount, Vogel decided to shift from the 4-3-3 formation her team employed in its opening two contests, to a 4-4-2, a change that she said allowed them to play a more possession-oriented game.
Without practice time between games to implement the new strategy, the Colonials had to adjust on the fly – a challenge Vogel said her team rose to meet.
“Whenever I give them something to try, they’re up for it,” Vogel said. “They embrace it and they did a good job with it (Sunday).”
Eiritz said the shift was made easy by the team’s versatility and ability to adapt.
“We’re pretty compatible in both formations,” she said. “Personnel-wise, everyone is capable and tactically everyone understands what they need to do.”
That understanding has been an important aspect of the team’s development, especially considering the eight freshmen joining the team this season. Due to that youth, Eiritz said the team is still in the process of forging an on-field identity that will continue to grow over nonconference play as the Atlantic 10 season approaches.
One key facilitator of their play on the field: a newfound sense of camaraderie off of it, where Eiritz said she and her teammates are enjoying a stronger chemistry than the team has had in recent years.
“It makes things easier on the field, definitely,” she said. “The team is only as deep as the relationships within it.”
The Colonials will resume their season next Sunday, when they head over to nearby Howard for a 1 p.m. match.