Opening home play with a doubleheader Saturday, the Colonials knew their keys to victory would be conversions and early points.
GW started with a matchup against No. 15 Princeton, dropping a tight 7-5 game to the Tigers, who used a four-goal third quarter to ensure victory. Still, the Colonials executed an efficient match, and when they returned to the pool later that night to face Bucknell, the team knew it had to get on top early and convert every opportunity into a goal. As a result, GW claimed a 15-12 victory over the Bison.
“We stuck with the same game plan from Princeton, except we converted all of our opportunities this time, so we won,” junior utility Nate Little said. “If we would have made all of our shots, the results at Princeton would have been similar.”
Little contributed four goals to the victory, joined by junior utility Daniel Tyner, who also tallied four goals as well as six assists.
As the game began, GW was surrounded by a roaring crowd and packed natatorium, but the Colonials were not the first team to score, trailing the Bison 2-1 with two minutes and 30 seconds left in the first period. But GW roared back at the end of the quarter with a dominant four straight goals to end the period on top.
The Colonials continued to set the bar high, scoring another five points in the second quarter and pushing the lead to 9-2 over the Bison at halftime. After an impressive first-half, the Colonials needed to keep their cool in order to stay ahead.
“I told my players to stay calm – to keep doing what they have been doing all game – and to not get caught up in anything that Bucknell wants to try to get them caught up in,” head coach Scott Reed said. “We had them backed up in a corner somewhere, so they were going to fight hard. As long as we keep our composure, we are going to be fine.”
With motivation from their coach, GW had the drive to continue its success in the pool. The Bison halted the Buff and Blue’s 8-0 run with back-to-back goals to begin the third, but the Colonials countered with three more goals and an opportunity for a penalty shot after a technical foul on Bucknell. Tyner slammed the ball into the net, leading GW to 13-7 after the third.
Bucknell stepped up its offensive game in the final period and rapidly scored five points. GW countered by scoring twice more, and with just minutes remaining, the Colonials retained possession, keeping the Bison on the defensive and taking the game 15-12.
“Today was a good indication that they’re really starting to come together on the offensive side and are really getting a good flow going.” Reed said.
The doubleheader was particularly impressive for the team’s offense, which had strong showings in both outings. Reed hopes to keep the team motivated and focused as it moves into the rest of the season, and his players say they can use lessons from this weekend’s play to grow and improve.
“We had a tough stretch a couple games before this, but we hope to use this momentum to keep improving,” Tyner said.