Home stretch will be crucial for Colonials

Just two wins.

That’s what the women’s soccer team needs to clinch its first trip to the Atlantic 10 Tournament since 2002. The Colonials (9-7, 3-4 A-10) control their own destiny entering the final two games of conference play this weekend. Should they top St. Bonaventure Friday and Duquesne Sunday, they’ll extend their season for the first time in almost a decade.

Conference play for the Colonials has been a roller coaster ride for much of the season. GW opened A-10 play with a three-game winning streak and followed that with a four-game losing streak. The Colonials are undefeated at home, and have won just one conference game on the road. Even after such an up-and-down season, head coach Tanya Vogel seems confident that her team will once again defend its home turf this weekend.

“I am extremely confident in our team’s ability to win games,” Vogel explained. “We just need to each focus on our individual best to ultimately achieve our team best.”

The fact remains though that GW is playing with very little momentum as it approaches arguably the most crucial stretch of its schedule. Vogel, however, sees the silver lining in her team’s recent struggles.

“We actually played very well in our last game against La Salle,” Vogel said. “We outshot them in the game 11 to 10, but we just couldn’t score despite playing well. They only won by one goal. If we hadn’t had success in that game then I would be more concerned headed into our final two games.”

Even with her optimism, Vogel said she knows changes have to be made. She said she’ll gear her team’s practices this week toward goal-scoring after the Colonials were held to just one goal during their four-game skid.

“We are going to focus a lot of our practices on striking. We plan on scoring a lot of goals in our next couple of games,” she said.

Vogel was hesitant to say that the season would be judged a failure without a sweep of GW’s final two games, but did stress the importance of advancing to the conference tournament.

“We’ve done a lot of good things this season,” Vogel said. “For example, our three-game-winning streak showed what type of team we are capable of being. Of course, we do want to play in the A-10 tournament.”

Playing at home, she said, will be a major advantage for the Colonials.

“They love playing at home. They are more relaxed there,” Vogel said. “[Duquesne and St. Bonaventure] are blue-collar and hard-working, but they still have to come here to play. St. Bonaventure has never won here at GW.”

Ultimately, the next two games will have to be team efforts. Friday’s game against the Bonnies is set for 3 p.m. and kickoff for the Colonials’ game on Halloween is scheduled for 1 p.m. If GW wins out and advances to the A-10 tournament, Vogel said it will be because the team plays the way it has played all season long.

“Our motto for the year has been ’27.’ We have 27 players on the roster,” Vogel said. “If the 27 players maximize their efforts then we have that synergy and we play like we have more than 27 players.”

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