The Labor Day heat didn’t seem to bother the GW women’s soccer team, who racked up two home victories over the holiday weekend. The Colonials defeated UMBC Friday and Mount St. Mary’s Sunday, both by scores of 1-0. Senior goaltender Bridget Mahon recorded both shutouts.
“It’s always nice to get two wins at home,” Mahon said. “To take advantage of that is huge.”
GW (2-2) stormed onto the field in its home opener Friday in a display of offensive strength, earning eight shots and winning possessions that enabled them to maintain control of the hard-fought game. Freshman Claire Haft scored the game-winning goal in the 34th minute of the game, assisted by sophomore Molly Bruh.
“Scoring was amazing,” Haft said. “I’ve been waiting for that since our first game. The entire team came out so strong – we were ready to win.”
Head coach Tanya Vogel agreed, excitedly pointing out that “three major things went well [on Friday]: we won, we scored and we kept [UMBC] off the board.”
Vogel added that the improvements the team made on ball movements and speed of play were evident throughout the game, emphasizing the key contributions of junior Sierra Smidinger, senior Jillian Morgan and Bruh.
“Sierra is a warrior,” Vogel said. “She epitomizes our battling mentality. And the mature performances of Jillian Morgan and Molly Bruh were key today.”
Even after earning their first victory of the season, there was little time to rest for the Colonials, who took on a Mount St. Mary’s team Sunday that Vogel called “a hard opponent” that had “improved tremendously.”
The two teams traded blows for much of the first half, with neither team scoring and GW out-shooting the Mount by just two. After halftime though, Mount St. Mary’s came out on fire, putting five shots on goal against the Colonials, an offensive assault Vogel said her team was lucky to survive.
“We were lucky to get out of the second half alive,” Vogel said. “The team needs to work on sticking to the game plan. We started off playing the way we wanted to, and we need to have the confidence to do that until it works.”
The Colonials managed to keep the Mount off the board, however, and forced overtime, during which forward Cara Cadigan put the game away for her team, scoring a sudden-death, game-winning goal off of an assist from freshman Melanie Keer to give GW its first winning streak of the season.
“We have strong, fast players in our flanks,” Cadigan said, “and Melanie’s assist provided me with a great ball and scoring opportunity.”
Vogel was also quick to praise the play of defender Jillian Morgan Sunday, who returned to the backline after spending last season as a midfielder. Morgan’s presense on defense, Vogel said, gave the Colonials a “more mature, physical defensive presence.”
Mahon, the goalie, was similarly enthused about Morgan’s return to her former position.
“It’s awesome to be able to switch it around and still be so in-sync as a team,” she said.
Next up for the Colonials are games at Loyola Maryland Friday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m., and then a home game Tuesday, Sept. 14 to face American. Kickoff for that game is set for 4 p.m.