Coming off a commanding 22-7 opening victory against District foe Howard, the stage seemed set for GW to carry that momentum into its opening home match Saturday.
But the Colonials dropped their first home game to the Drexel Dragons, falling 10-3.
GW entered the first half with an aggressive but patient offense. Within the first four minutes, the Colonials had made three shot attempts – looking to establish a solid rhythm – but before GW could find the back of the net, the Dragons netted the first goal with 23 minutes left to play.
“We wanted to make sure we were moving the ball. We really wanted to create opportunities and work together,” head coach Tara Hannaford said.
The Colonials responded quickly, though, with a goal by junior midfielder Jordy Bathras, assisted by sophomore Jamie Bumgardner. The momentum fueled the Colonials defensively, led by senior goalkeeper Jess Hicks, who made her first save of the game in the fifth minute.
Fifteen minutes passed before the Dragons broke the 1-1 stalemate. Soon after, they followed with another goal, increasing their lead to 3-1. With hopes of entering the second half down by only one point, senior Nicole Lacey whipped in a goal with 44 seconds left in the half.
“I think the first half was great. We needed to take out some of the fouls, but I think we’ve taken such leaps in working together,” Hicks said. “There was a lot of communication, and we really wanted to work hard and shut them down.”
At the half, Hannaford emphasized the importance of moving the ball on offense to create shot opportunities.
Immediately out of the gates, Hicks opened the second half with her sixth save, showing the energy needed in order to win the game. But despite that effort, the Dragons were able to drive the ball into the net, thanks to GW’s weak recovery.
Three minutes later, sophomore midfielder Allie Rash netted what would be GW’s final goal of the game, making the score 5-3.
“I think we were still playing well on defense, despite them scoring a couple goals. We just had a few poor breaks,” Hicks said.
As the match came to an end, it was apparent that the Colonials’ energy had dwindled. After a series of turnovers, fouls and steals for 13 minutes, Drexel unleashed a 5-0 run that ended in a 10-3 victory.
“I think we struggled up on the offensive side of the ball. We weren’t moving the ball as well as we should have been or as well as we could have,” Hannaford said.
Hicks echoed Hannaford’s statements, but also pointed to the lack of draw control wins the Colonials posted. Drexel controlled a total of 12 draws compared to GW’s three, giving the Dragons a clear advantage in dictating the pace and direction of the contest.
“Draw control is also such a big part of who gets the next goal. But again, that’s something we can work on as a team,” Hicks said.
The Colonials will have a week of practice before they continue their five-game homestand against Denver Friday at 3:30 p.m.