This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jake Deitcher.
The women’s soccer team arrived in San Francisco Sunday afternoon in search of answers and a victory.
After a tough start to the season that saw GW suffer two shutouts, one at the hands of rival Georgetown and a Friday shutout against California’s St. Mary’s College, Sunday’s game against the University of San Francisco would prove to be a test of Colonials’ skill on the pitch as well as their resilience when faced with adversity.
Ultimately, the Colonials (1-2) emerged victorious, pushing their way to a 2-1 double overtime victory that was representative of head coach Tanya Vogel’s desire to build a stronger team through a rigorous non-conference schedule.
“We are really happy with our schedule this year because it is challenging early,” Vogel said. “We hope that by challenging ourselves early in August and September we are more prepared when we enter Atlantic 10 play and are playing in October.”
GW arrived at Saint Mary’s Friday, prepared to play their first West Coast game since 2005. The contest was a tight back-and-forth through most of the first half, but the Gaels found the back of the net for their first goal just three minutes before halftime. After Colonials senior goalkeeper Lindsey Rowe deflected a Saint Mary’s shot, the Gaels collected the ball and fired off a close range goal.
Saint Mary’s carried the momentum through halftime, tallying their second goal off a header twenty minutes into the second half, and scoring their third fifteen minutes later. Rowe made five saves in each half, and junior Adriana Moyer posted a team-high two shots on goal, but their efforts weren’t enough to earn a Colonials victory.
“Our motto for this year is ‘win the next game.’ For us to be successful we have to focus on us. We’re going to focus on ourselves and try to play our best game and not worry about the other team as much,” Vogel said.
When the Colonials faced San Francisco on Sunday, they were challenged early. The Colonials were outshot 8-3 in the first half, and saw the Dons find the back of the net.
The Colonials began the second half with more aggressive play and ultimately found leaks in the Dons’ defense that had yielded only three shots to the Colonials in the first half of play. San Francisco connected on a shot from the top of the box, sending the ball past Rowe to the top right of the net and entered halftime up by one.
GW was undeterred. Fighting through the pressure the Dons applied in the second, the Colonials remained resilient, and in the 64th minute, senior Taryn Dietrich, suiting up for the Colonials after being sidelined due to injury, entered the game. Just four minutes after checking in, Dietrich connected on a pass from sophomore Claire Haft, scoring GW’s first goal of the game and knotting the score at one.
“What Taryn did today was incredible. Coming back from injury and scoring that goal,” Vogel said. “She made some big sacrifices, working hard for 6 months, to be here today and play. And for her to do it at home [in California] in front of her parents was great.”
The teams remained at a stalemate after Dietrich’s goal, fighting through the rest of the second half and one overtime period without a score. But GW’s focus and determination paid dividends early in the second overtime period, when, in the 101st minute of competition, sophomore Alex Neal blasted a shot just to the left of the San Francisco goalkeeper rewarding a dominant last 28 minutes of play where the GW defense allowed only one shot on goal.
It’s a victory indicative of Vogel’s continued emphasis on aggressive offensive play.
“When we play we try to stick to our plan of attack. Right before and after their goal we were pushing tempo and staying aggressive,” Vogel said. “Even down, we were confident that we were going to win.”
The Colonials will try to carry their offensive momentum into next game as they face another tough opponent, facing Big 10 team Iowa from the Big 10 Conference in yet another early season challenge for Vogel’s squad. Play is set to begin at 4 p.m. on Sept. 2.
This article was updated on August 29, 2011 to reflect the following:
The photo caption originally stated that GW lost to San Francisco, but GW won that game.