As GW ended their final two games of the regular season with a loss and a victory against Temple and Saint Joesph, senior Nicole Lacey became the fifth-ever Colonials’ player to reach 100 career goals.
During the opening game against Temple, the Owls used the first three minutes to quickly score the first goal of the game. Both GW (9-7, 4-3) and Temple (9-7, 4-3) then proceeded to trade goals with each other for the next five minutes.
“This weekend, we just continued to focus on us and our offensive and defensive philosophies,” head coach Tara Hannaford said.
Lacey netted the first goal for the Colonials, followed by a score from sophomore Rachel Mia. Lacey would go on to end the game with three goals, moving her into fifth place on GW’s all-time list with 102.
Sparked by Mia’s goal, the Colonial’s went on a 4-0 run that was not stopped until the Owls netted a goal with 11 minutes left in the half. By halftime, GW had increased their lead to 6-3, despite another Temple goal in the half’s last minute.
Though the Colonials held the momentum going into the half, the Owls were able to steal it back from them when the second half opened. Temple embarked on a 5-0 run, not allowing the Colonials to net their first goal of the second half until Lacey converted on a free position shot at 14:29.
“In the second half of our Temple game, we struggled to get the draw and take care of the ball. On the defensive end, we were slow to slide,” Hannaford said.
Despite the Owls run, GW’s impressive first half left them only a goal down. Again, over the final 13 minutes, both teams traded goals until the Owls were able to score the final goal of the game with five minutes left, and clinch the 12-9 victory.
GW returned Sunday for its regular-season finale against the Saint Joseph Hawks. Similar to their first game of the weekend, the Colonials opened up the first half strong.
“St. Joe’s and Temple have different styles,” Hannaford said. “St. Joe’s plays a little slower pace so our goal was to speed them up today.
Lacey quickly netted the first goal of the game during the first two minutes of play. Juniors Jordy Bathras and Lindsey DiAntonio, and Mia followed soon after with goals of their own. The Hawks would be able to score only one goal before GW went on another 5-0 run.
“I thought our team did a great job in the first half the game today. Our defense effectively executed our game plan. On the offensive side, we saw the open player and finished our shots,” Hannaford said.
At the half, GW had attempted 11 shots and netted 9 of them. Defensively, senior goalkeeper Jess Hicks had five saves compared to the Hawks two. It was clear that the attacking mindset GW had been working on the entire season was helping lead them to victory.
The Hawks, though, were not going to lose without a fight. Saint Joseph’s ended the first half with a 2-0 run, and opened up the second half with an additional 2-0 run.
“We just talked about relaxing on the offensive end. Toward the end of the first half, we started to force it. We wanted to continue to focus on getting the draw and creating caused turnovers,” Hannaford said.
Stepping up for GW was Lacey, who netted two more goals to extend the margin as the seconds began to tick away on the regular season. The Colonials five goal lead soon became six, until a 2-0 Hawk’s run slightly closed the gap. Down by four with 1:01 left, the Hawks attempted a free position shot, but there was Hicks to save it.
“St. Joes made a run in the second half but I thought our players did a nice job of answering back,” Hannaford said.
GW was able to hold onto their lead for the 12-8 victory, splitting the weekend series, and making Lacey’s 100th career goal from Friday’s game that much more sweet.
The Colonials will now move onto the A-10 Championship, the first time the program has qualified for consecutive conference tournaments. GW will be seeded fourth in the tournament, thanks to a head-to-head tie-breaker with Richmond.