After being shut out in their opening match against Georgetown, the Colonials headed to a second District rival seeking a chance to reclaim the opening tone of their season.
But the contest against George Mason would prove to be a test of GW’s skill on the pitch, as they sqaured off against a Patriots squad that opened with a crushing offensive salvo.
Ultimately, the Colonials (0-2) fell to George Mason 2-1. The Patriots repeatedly tested freshman goalkeeper Nicole Fasano during the first 45 minutes of play.
The Colonials were able to muster only a single shot attempt in the first half, and the Patriots challenged with 11 shots, in addition to seven corner kicks.
“In the first half, we didn’t do a good job of being organized, and we struggled at getting the ball from their offense and getting it to our offense,” head coach Sarah Barnes said. “But we stayed strong and played well in the second half.”
GW began the second half aggressively. Juniors Alex Neal and Jane Wallis led the attack during a stretch where the Colonials took four shots in just six minutes. Attempting nine shots total in the second, the Colonials held the Patriots to six but struggled to find the back of the net.
In the final minute of play, Neal drew a foul from the George Mason defense. The foul gave GW a penalty kick attempt, which senior forward Adriana Moya took and converted.
But Moya’s score could not muster enough of a rally for victory, and George Mason prevailed 2-1. Barnes, however, said she saw her team responded after a frustrating first half to stick with the game until its final minute.
“The game was a tale of two halves. We never want to lose, and it’s a shame to lose, but the result was still encouraging,” Barnes said. “And when you are on someone else’s turf, it’s always tough, but we can build off of the final 45 minutes.”
Moya’s goal was the first GW tally of the season. Last year, the Colonials struggled to produce goals, making it crucial for the team to improve upon their offensive consistency this year.
Keeping confidence up will be key for the Colonials, Moya said, especially after a frustrating opening two matches.
“After that difficult first half, we remained positive heading into the second half. We know that with a new coach and new players we are going through a transition period, but we will get better,” Moya said. “Starting in the next couple of games, and especially in conference play, we will have to show that we have gotten better.”
The Colonials will look to carry their offensive momentum from Friday’s second half into the Sept. 1 game against Columbia, the first game of the DC Invitational.
Play is set to begin at 1 p.m., when the Colonials will play for their first win of the season.
“Everyone wants to win, but we are looking at this as a process,” Barnes said. “We don’t want or like for our team to have growing pains, but growing pains are realistic. Our early season games are there to get us experience and confidence as we get prepared for conference play.”