After a season that’s seen five overtime matches end in three victories and two ties, the Colonials seem to hit their stride when a game is sent into an extra period.
GW (5-9-2) rebounded from Friday’s tough 3-0 loss against No. 21 Dayton with a physically dominant game against Xavier Sunday, committing 12 fouls that forced a hesitant Muskateers offense. Over the course of the game, GW outshot Xavier 11 to seven, keeping them from getting off any shots in overtime and earning a 1-0 victory.
“We have a very specific game plan that we follow,” head coach Tanya Vogel said. “We also need to play physical and battle. We had 12 fouls so I think that we did well physically.”
The Colonials main offensive force Sunday came from an unexpected source, with freshman forward Meg Murphy making the crucial difference against the Musketeers. Murphy entered the game as a substitute in the first half, immediately making an impact when she lined a shot from the outside of the box that sailed just wide of the net.
Murphy’s efforts immediately rejuvenated the Colonial offense, forcing the Musketeers to revamp their defensive play to address her impact.
“Meg has been working hard, but she also is a really talented player,” Vogel said “We are excited about what she will do for our team in the future.”
It was Murphy’s offensive push that ultimately won the match in the 98th minute of play. Sophomore Alex Neal delivered the ball to Murphy to the right of the goal, who faked right before rushing to the left, blasting a shot into the wide open net.
It was her first collegiate goal, and it lifted GW to a 1-0 overtime victory over its A-10 rival.
“I’ve been going to practice 30 minutes early this week to work on my shot,” Murphy said. “I’m just glad that I could help our team win.”
Sunday was also a memorable day for senior goalkeeper Lindsey Rowe. Rowe eclipsed the 100 saves mark Sunday with 101 saves for the season and 339 for her career.
Rowe’s efforts ensured GW its fourth shutout of the season, the 16th of her career, and the victory pushed the Colonials to a tie for sixth place in Atlantic 10 standings.
“We haven’t lost in overtime yet and we are confident in our play at the end of games,” Vogel said. “Our program has a commitment to proper nutrition and health. We are a strong team physically and that makes us tough to beat in overtime.”
Sunday’s victory over Xavier was a morale booster for the Colonials after a disappointing loss to Dayton Friday. GW took on the league’s top-scoring team, holding them to a single goal in the first half. But they were unable to keep pace with the Flyers after halftime, surrendering two more goals.
The Colonials made an offensive push in the second half, striving to answer Dayton’s scores. Despite shots from four separate players, GW failed to net a single goal, kept scoreless on the loss.
“We did not play hard for 90 minutes,” Vogel said. “We know that this is a good team, but we need to play harder. We cannot get behind and give up early goals. We have to play better early and try to be the first team to score.”
Sunday’s victory gives GW an important boost as the team heads into its next A-10 match, hosting Richmond Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. The home field advantage, Vogel said, is huge for her team.
“Today was a great day for our team. It’s great to be back home,” Vogel said. “We are confident that we are going to go on a winning streak here at home.” u