Women’s soccer loses conference momentum against Saint Joe’s

Media Credit: Then-sophomore midfielder Kristi Abbate dribbles by a defender during the 2013 season. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor

Sophomore midfielder Kristi Abbate dribbles by a defender in Sunday's 2-0 loss against St. Joseph's.  The match served as GW's Kickin' it for a Cure game, as the Colonials wore pink jerseys and shoe laces in support of breast cancer awareness month. Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor
Sophomore midfielder Kristi Abbate dribbles by a defender in Sunday’s 2-0 loss against St. Joseph’s. The match served as GW’s Kickin’ it for a Cure game, as the Colonials wore pink jerseys and shoe laces in support of breast cancer awareness month. Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor

This post was written by contributing sports editor Sean Hurd.

After handing La Salle their first Atlantic-10 conference loss in three seasons, the Colonials were unable to find the back of the net Saturday afternoon as they were shut out 2-0 by Saint Joseph’s.

The Colonials outshot the Hawks 15-7, but struggled to capitalize on their five shots on goal. It was a matter of inches, as GW could not capitalize on their momentum from Friday’s big win.

“You’re talking about [Jane Wallis] strikes the ball an eighth of an inch higher and that’s a goal,” head coach Sarah Barnes said. “With Belfonti, she tried to bend it with the outside of her foot and again either she hits it the same way or an eighth of an inch to the right and it would right in. Sometimes that’s the way it goes.”

In the 20th minute, senior midfielder Jane Wallis was able to create space from her defender and powered a shot on goal, but the ball caromed off the top crossbar. Running in on the play was sophomore Kristi Abbate who attempted a rebound shot on goal which slowly cut left out of play.

The Colonials next scoring opportunity came off the foot of junior midfielder Nicole Belfonti, who after crossing over her defender, lined a shot on goal that banged off the side crossbar.

St. Joe’s, unlike GW, was able to convert its opportunities in front of the net. After beating the Colonials backline inside, Mo Hawkins scored her fourth goal of the season on a point blank shot past GW senior goalkeeper Nicole Ulrick in the 24th minute.

The Hawks’ second goal came on a corner kick, where Ulrick admits she made a mistake under the crossbar by stepping forward when she shouldn’t have. The corner taker, Shannon Mulvey was able to curve a shot, which was credited as an own goal, after aGW player struck the ball as it crossed the plane.

GW, who Barnes said played fatigued after Friday’s hard fought shut out win over La Salle, saw the game run out of their reach. Despite a strong second half showing where they held the Hawks to just two total shots, the Colonials could not recover from the first-half deficit.

“The first half just wasn’t our team,” Ulrick said. “We weren’t connecting like we normally do. We weren’t making smart decisions defensively like we normally do. It’s just unfortunate because we should’ve played better but we didn’t.”

Despite the loss, Barnes remains optimistic about the state of her ballclub after what they accomplished this weekend.

“I thought we actually played well,” Barnes said. “We created a ton of opportunities and obviously we had a cross bar and a post that clearly was the difference in the game. I think we’re all disappointed and feel like we let one slip away from us today.”

For Ulrick and the rest of her team, it’s a matter of learning from every game and then preparing for the next matchup in a conference where GW is in position to grab a high playoff seeding.

“We focus on the next opponent and take it from there,” Ulrick said. “We have to have a short memory because conference play goes quick and each game counts just as much as the last one.”

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