Within the first five minutes of Monday’s women’s lacrosse game, the score was tied at two.
It looked as if GW was in for a back-and-forth game, the kind that would necessitate limited mistakes and tight play.
But the Colonials were determined to ease the pressure, picking up their energy with 22 minutes and 55 seconds left in the first half. They exploded on a 5-0 scoring run, never looking back en route to a 16-8 victory. The win pushed GW’s opening play to a 6-2 record and tying the best start through eight games in program history.
Mount St. Mary’s (1-7) began the game with aggressive defense, forcing the Colonials to be patient and read their defenders critically. GW adjusted quickly to the pressure, eventually turning the tables and causing the Mountaineers to struggle to hang onto the ball.
“Our transition defense was incredible. The attackers really worked hard to get the ball back. Defenders were marked up really well, so it enabled us to get a lot of caused turnovers,” head coach Tara Hannaford said.
The Mountaineers scored first, netting a goal during the first three minutes of the game, but junior Nicole Lacey, assisted by senior Sarah Phillips, responded quickly, beginning a volley of goals that tied the game early. Sophomore Lindsey DiAntonio broke the stalemate, zipping in a goal after a successful and quick transition down the field.
GW continued the run, aided by its defense. After scoring several goals off the recovery of ground balls, it became clear that the team’s solid transition defense was the defining component of its attack against the Mountaineers.
“There was a lot of team play today – we spread out on attack. Really good team defense and a lot of slides,” Phillips said.
The Mountaineers broke the Colonials’ 6-0 scoring run with the last goal of the first half, but not before freshman Addi Bolin netted two goals, and Phillips and senior Megan Seidman each added one goal to elevate the score to 7-3 at the break.
Freshman Rachel Mia jumpstarted GW’s offense in the second, netting the first goal of the half. Mia ultimately finished the game as the leading scorer with three goals – the third hat trick of her career. The Colonials unleashed another scoring run in the second and limited the Mountaineers’ offense, maintaining a comfortable lead throughout the rest of play.
“It was a total team effort. Defensively, we played great team defense. The attacks looked for each other,” Hannaford said.
The Colonials took a total of 25 shots, netting 16, and obtained 15 draw controls, with Lacey leading the way after eight draw wins.
As the Colonials reach the halfway point of their season, Hannaford is looking for her team to stay consistent. GW’s record is currently tied with the 2005 squad for the best opening through eight games in program history, and if the team maintains its current level of play, Hannaford said, the success will continue.
“The basic principle stays the same – good strong defense, good strong team attacks and really looking for high percentage opportunities when we’re taking our shots,” Hannaford said.