In the 13th minute of Tuesday’s game against American, GW women’s soccer freshman Molly Bruh sent the ball into the Eagles’ box amidst the gridlock of American defenders and Colonial forwards looking to score. Sophomore Sierra Smidinger jumped up to meet the ball head on, sending it past the diving keeper and giving GW the first goal of the day.
“That was what we were looking for,” Smidinger said of the goal. “We knew we needed to come out and do it. Everyone had the mentality that this is our game.”
The Colonials added another goal less than five minutes later when junior Ashley Starks collected the rebound of senior Dara Rosen’s shot. Open on the left side, Starks chipped the ball over the keeper’s head, giving the Colonials the two goals they needed for a 2-1 win.
Head coach Tanya Vogel said she was impressed with her team’s intensity and the way GW, having improved to 3-3-2 overall, took advantage of the game.
“What I’m very excited about with this team is we’ve been talking about making a statement and using today’s game to take advantage of an opportunity, which was essentially to say to people that are questioning us, ‘Don’t worry, we’re here and we’re here to stay,’ ” she said.
The Colonials applied offensive pressure on the Eagles’ defense throughout the first half. By moving the ball from one side to the other quickly, GW created chances to score.
After falling behind in the first half, American came into the second half rejuvenated and looking to score. The Eagles beat the Colonials on balls in the air and used their quick forwards to give themselves scoring opportunities.
Eleven minutes into the second half, the speed of the American forwards overtook the GW defense. American freshman Kristin Piorun, who was left open in front of the net, capitalized on chaos in the box to kick a slow dribbler in past sophomore goalkeeper Lindsey Rowe.
The Eagles continued to battle for the remainder of the second half, but the Colonials’ defense stepped up the intensity to preserve their lead. Rowe stopped any chances the Eagles had, knocking away shots and collecting balls in the box.
In the final minute of play, what looked like a chance for the Eagles to tie the game turned into a dramatic save by Rowe. With the final thirty seconds ticking off the clock, American had a shot inside the box punched just over the crossbar by Rowe.
Vogel was proud of the intensity her team brought to the field.
“Winning is really hard to do,” she said. “It takes 90 minutes of battling for every ball. Although it wasn’t beautiful, it was impressive to see our team battle for 90 minutes.”
The Colonials turn next to Atlantic 10 play, traveling to Cincinnati to face Xavier on Friday at 7 p.m. and, before returning home Sunday, to play Dayton. Sunday’s game is set for a 1 p.m. start.