There was a lot on the line for the women’s soccer team this weekend as GW took on its final two opponents of the regular season.
With wins in both of their last two games over the weekend, the Colonials could have qualified for the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time in more than a decade. Both games were at home, where, before this weekend, GW was undefeated this season.
The Colonials couldn’t defend their home turf though, falling 2-0 to St. Bonaventure Friday and 1-0 against Duquesne Sunday. The losses left GW (9-9, 3-6 A-10) in 11th place in the conference and on the outside looking in for the A-10 tournament later this week.
Even after watching her team lose twice and miss out on postseason play, head coach Tanya Vogel was surprisingly upbeat.
“Every season presents challenges, and some teams respond negatively and some teams respond favorably,” Vogel said. “This team looked at every situation as an opportunity, they did a great job all season long dealing with every challenge they faced.”
Friday, the Colonials played their first home game since Oct. 3, but GW failed to capitalize on its home-field advantage like it has for much of the season. The team moved the ball well and had a nearly identical shot total as the Bonnies, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Vogel said she was frustrated with her team’s lack of shots Friday.
“You can’t score if you don’t shoot, that’s the bottom line. You have to get shots off if you want to score,” the head coach said. “We started so slowly going into the game, and we weren’t physical. You can’t win soccer games if you don’t score, and you can’t score if you don’t shoot.”
Friday’s loss didn’t completely eliminate GW from the A-10 tournament. With a win against the Dukes Sunday and some help, the Colonials could have still earned a spot in the conference tournament. A victory Sunday also would have given the team an overall winning record for the season and allowed GW’s seniors to end their Colonials career with a win.
“Sunday is the seniors’ day,” Vogel said Friday, in anticipation of Sunday’s game. “You’re going to see the seniors putting their all into it, and any freshman, sophomore, junior on the field is going to be playing for their seniors. That’s gotta be the focus, we need to finish the season in the right way.”
That focus was evident Sunday as GW repeatedly amd concictently put pressure on the Duquesne goalkeeper but never managed to get on the board. The game stayed tied at zero for most of the game, until the Dukes went ahead for good on a free kick in the 67th minute.
“I think we gave it our all today,” senior Ashley Starks said after the final game of her career. “Sometimes you just don’t get lucky. What’s important it that it’s a learning experience, a journey. Today was definitely very special, very emotional, but it was good.”
With her team’s season now completed, Vogel said her attention was already beginning to turn toward next season and building on some of the success the Colonials had at times this season.
“More than anything, we have to get better at scoring goals. You’re not going to be the type of team we want to be if you’re scoring fewer than one goal a game,” Vogel said. “Our sophomores and juniors are going to have to rise up and become strong leaders. That will be key – we’re losing some of the best leaders that have ever been a part of this program.”