There were few similarities between the first and second games of Atlantic 10 conference play for the GW women’s lacrosse team.
Friday, the Colonials (4-8, 1-1) earned their first conference victory, defeating St. Bonaventure 18-15, but they were unable to extend the momentum to Sunday, and fell to Duquesne in a close 7-6 loss.
Head coach Tara Hannaford’s reaction to the split action was mixed, but she focused on the improvements the Colonials made during their first foray into league play.
“I told the girls that 1-1 is not awful but it is clearly not what we wanted,” Hannaford said. “I think that we played better defense against Duquesne and we set the foundation on defense going into next week’s games.”
Friday’s game showed both offensive and defensive inconsistencies for GW. The Colonials opened play in the second half with a 10-1 run, jump-started by three quick goals from sophomore attack Nicole Lacey, who would go on to score a team-high five goals during the game. Sophomore attack Hannah McLaughlin also added three goals against the Bonnies, and junior middle Sarah Phillips, the team leader in points with 41 this season, added four goals and an assist.
Despite its strong offensive showing, GW almost gave up its lead when it allowed St. Bonaventure an 8-2 run to close out the game. Though the Colonials never trailed during play, Hannaford felt that their focus on the game slipped.
“We came out and were willing to fight a little bit more and I think that that was the biggest difference and after they went on their run we lost that intensity.” Hannaford said. “We got complacent and really the biggest thing is that you have to keep up the intensity for 60 minutes.”
Against Duquesne, the Colonials struggled to repeat their offensive success, scoring just six goals during a back-and-forth game in which neither team lead by more than two goals throughout play. Redshirt senior attack Mia Breheny tallied a hat trick with three goals Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to power GW to victory, a symbol of the tight play that characterized the game.
“At times we have had point blank shots and we haven’t been focused and haven’t put the ball into the back of the net. At other times, we have focused and we have been efficient,” Breheny said. “The opportunities are always there. It was a one-goal game and it could’ve have gone either way, but we are definitely going to see them in A-10s.”
Despite their offensive struggles, GW tightened up its defensive play against the Dukes. Junior midfielder Casey Disharoon won a game-high five ground balls and caused a game-high four turnovers. Sophomore attack Lacey won a game-high five draws, bringing her career high to 99, which breaks the GW program record.
“The girls did a much better job today at bringing up the intensity against Duquesne than we did on Friday,” Hannaford said. “We are going to continue to stay focused.”
The Colonials continue conference play Friday, April 8, when they travel to Philadelphia to take on Temple at 3:30 p.m. It’s an important step on the way to the Atlantic 10 Championship, a goal on the minds of all the Colonials.
“I’ve been here for five years. I definitely want to see us go to the A-10 championship game and win it,” Breheny said. “Definitely finish up strong and get to that championship.”