Lifted by injured forward’s goal, offense carries women’s soccer to win

Senior Jane Wallis admits her second-half goal to break a tie on Friday night was “not pretty.”

But when you break the goal down, it impresses. The shot from the top of the box in the 66th minute did not even elicit a dive from Howard’s goalkeeper, who watched the ball sail into the back of the net. It prevented GW from falling into a fourth straight tie.

And Wallis did it with a dislocated shoulder.

“The thing you love about Jane is how competitive and feisty and fiery she is. So you know you can use her somewhere. Tonight is a good example,” head coach Sarah Barnes said.

Wallis’ goal led to another in the second half, as a more fluid offense came alive, leading the Colonials to a 3-1 win over the Bison. GW would compile 15 shots in the night, seven on goal, and 11 corner kicks.

The breakthrough came at the right time for GW.

“We had really been going at them and they had been sitting in, sitting in, sitting in. We were just trying to take shots and it wasn’t my prettiest shot but it went in,” Wallis said. “Especially last couple weeks coaches have been talking to me about leaning over the ball and getting the ball in frame and I tried to do that a few times tonight, and it went in.”

Against a Howard team known for its physicality, many of the Colonials played with extra intensity. Wallis, who added that she did not know she had dislocated when Barnes played in the second half, said she had been pushed down hard several times during the game.

Sophomore Brooke Bean scored the team’s first goal in the 31st minute. She took a quick pass by junior Nicole Belfonti, who played off the bench after sitting out the last game due to a cold, and turned around a defender in the middle of the box. With the goalie up, Bean passed it into the right back corner of the goal to take a 1-0 lead.

“All through the beginning we had good opportunities. We just had to keep pushing and keep shooting and contesting the keeper and eventually something went in,” Bean said.

The team maintained possession most of the first half, but slipped up in the 38th minute. A Bison forward came sprinting down the field and was tripped up slightly in the box to earn a free kick. She kicked it just out the reach of a diving senior goalkeeper Nicole Ulrick.

“It was disappointing but obviously hindsight is 20/20. It was a good challenge for us to have a sort of difficult situation, an obstacle and overcome it. Those are the kinds of things that I’m sure will happen during conference so it’s a good lesson for us,” Barnes said.

After Wallis broke the tie 20 minutes into the second half, freshman Lina Proska added to the lead, putting away the Bison with her quick shot from around 20 yards back.

“I was just sprinting as fast as I could down the field and then I screamed at Kyla to pass me the ball and I just kind of shot it. I wasn’t really expecting for it to go in, but it just went in,” Proska said.

The Colonials were glad to finally put a tally in the win column.

It was their first win since Sept. 6 against Old Dominion. Despite the drought in wins, they were close to a win against William & Mary, but the game was canceled due to lightning three minutes before it would have counted.

“I think we’ve had really similar games in terms of dominating over the last several and we kind of walked away with a sour taste in our mouths. So it was really good to get a win tonight for sure,” Barnes said.

GW improved to 7-0-1 against Howard over the lifetime series. The Colonials will start A-10 play in a week, starting on the road at Rhode Island next Friday.

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