Despite dropping its third conference game (4-2), the Colonials came out of the second half of play heartened by their performance.
GW (4-7-1, 0-3) faced off against Atlantic 10 opponent Charlotte with aspirations of earning its first conference victory and simultaneously handing the 49ers their first conference loss. But Charlotte dominated the first half, scoring three goals while holding the Colonials to only three shots.
Despite the three-goal hole, GW was determined to bring its best effort in the second half, taking the field with the sort of heart and determination that makes even the worst loss seem a bit brighter.
“Out of all of our performances, it’s probably the best we’ve ever played in terms of energy, effort and heart. I’ve never seen the girls go out there and fight like they did today,” senior defender Samie Cloutier said. “We had nothing to lose, so we fought. I think that everyone was on the same page in the second half on where to play and how to play.”
The Colonials began the second half with ambitious forward passes, testing the 49ers’ defense. The team finally broke through Charlotte’s line in the 60th minute when Cloutier gathered a loose ball in Charlotte’s half. Cloutier – who previously had zero goals in her collegiate career and rarely strayed into opponent territory prior to Saturday’s game – saw an open net and scored her first career goal.
Senior forward Adriana Moya followed 20 minutes later, netting a goal after receiving a pass from senior midfielder Molly Bruh to give the Colonials a pair of points in the second half. It wasn’t enough to overcome the first-half deficit, but GW’s play in the second half proved it could compete with the best teams in the league, Moya said.
“The first half was a little bit rough, but the second half, we were a different team. I think that we won that half,” Moya said.
The Colonials outscored the 49ers 2-1 in the second half, limiting the team to only three shots. But the
Colonials have yet to win a conference game this season and are still searching for their first A-10 victory.
GW has consistently underperformed in the first half this season, before taking the field to play at a high level in the second half. The Colonials need a game during which they can excel in both halves to end their current losing streak.
“Sometimes we get caught offguard in the first half of games. In the second half, it’s then a matter of getting settled and coming back,” Moya said. “We are viewed as underdogs sometimes, and I think that that’s okay with us.”
Despite the first-half stalls, head coach Sarah Barnes said the team puts in effort, and the difficult opponents GW faced early on in the season – like Charlotte – will help as their season advances.
And GW is not focusing on the negatives, Cloutier said. Saturday, the team became more aggressive and motivated once it found itself in a three-goal hole, rather than feeling discouraged. It is the kind of attitude Cloutier said she has grown to expect from her teammates, and one Barnes said will serve the Colonials well down the road.
“We have to get better each day. We’ve played some quality teams in conference thus far, which is preparing us to be at our best at the end of the season,” Barnes said.
The Colonials will begin a stretch of four straight road matches Friday when they face conference opponent La Salle. Like Charlotte, La Salle is undefeated in Atlantic 10 conference play, but Barnes is not concerned about her team’s next opponent and said she remains confident in her team’s determination and effort on the field.
“The great thing about this team is that they do compete. They are fighters, and they will fight to the end, no matter what the score is,” Barnes said. “They push themselves. A lot of teams would have given up today, but they didn’t.”