Women’s soccer wins non-conference finale

The women’s soccer team wrapped up non-conference play Friday with a 1-0 win over Gardner-Webb, the Colonials’ fourth consecutive win and their sixth win in the last seven games.

After opening the season with a pair of exhibition-game losses followed by regular season-opening losses to Georgetown and Robert Morris, the Colonials (6-3) have found their stride of late. This recent success is due in no small part to sophomore Adriana Moya, who leads the team in goals after sitting out of games early in the season with a hamstring injury.

It was Moya’s second-half goal off of an assist from junior Sierra Smidinger that proved to be the difference in the game. For Moya – who has scored in each of GW’s last three games – her game-winner was especially sweet.

“It feels amazing, especially coming back from an injury,” she said. “I’ve been working on my speed, I came back kind of slow, and it’s really paying off.”

Moya also got a near assist in the first half, passing the ball to graduate student Liz Hillin, whose diving header went just wide of the Gardner-Webb goal. For head coach Tanya Vogel, the near-goal was evidence that the team is starting to play with the physicality she has been preaching since the beginning of the season.

“They’re playing better,” Vogel said. “They’ve really picked up the physicality, and tightened up some things defensively as well.”

The win Friday was GW’s third shutout of the season and maintained the team’s perfect 4-0 record at home. GW has been especially good on defense in the preseason, holding all but one opponent to one goal or less.

“The shutouts feel great,” Vogel said. “The team should be confident. I’m really looking for this team to have confidence this week in training.”

With Atlantic 10 play set to begin at the end of next week, Vogel said she is already identifying new areas of focus. The coach said GW would look to improve its ball movement in training this week in order to open up the team’s offense as well as improve team chemistry and cohesion. All of it, Vogel said, comes with the overall goal of creating a level of consistency in the team’s play.

“We have games where they played very well the first half, and where they played well in the second,” Vogel said. “We have to find a way to tie two halves together.”

The Colonials will be looking to continue their improved play, along with their winning streak, when they take on Temple at home next Friday at 4 p.m., the team’s first A-10 game of the year.

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