This post was written by Hatchet reporter Marty Fenn.
The women’s soccer team produced plenty of fireworks on a gorgeous fall afternoon at the Mount Vernon Campus Sunday against Saint Louis.
Junior forward MacKenzie Cowley scored her tenth goal of the year with just ten minutes remaining in the second half, and the Colonials tied a program record from 1987 with their 15th win of the year with a 1-0 victory over the Billikens on Senior Day that extended GW’s win streak to 13 games, best in the nation. Just days earlier, Cowley had scored the golden-goal in double overtime at Rhode Island.
Cowley’s eventual game-winner was a beauty. As senior midfielder Kristi Abbate carried the ball on the left wing, Cowley made a run through the middle of the field. Abbate lofted a delicate ball over to defenders to spring Cowley free.
With the goalie coming off of her line, Cowley deftly chipped the ball over the keeper’s head into the top right corner of the net.
“Every time the keeper comes out, I love to go to the far post behind her,” said Cowley. “It’s something I’ve been working on.. I was really excited when she came out because I knew exactly what I was going to do.”
With a flick of her boot, Cowley gave the Colonials their first ever 10-win conference season, and a program-first undefeated season with all victories in A-10 play. In a season that has seen so much sustained success, it is easy to forget that the program was not so well off just a few short years ago.
“When I was a freshman we won one conference game, so I’ve been through a lot,” Abbate said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better season. Going undefeated in conference… I can’t even speak. I’m so happy.”
The Colonials dominated the game from start to finish, possessing the ball and creating quality chances. They outshot the Bilikens 9-6, but even getting those six shots was no easy task for Saint Louis, who had a tough time all game against a Colonial back four that proved quite stingy and composed.
“Our defense has been so significant this whole season,” said head coach Sarah Barnes. “If we don’t keep them off the board, then it doesn’t really matter what we do… because of the style we play we have to keep teams off the board, and I think they’ve been amazing.”
Meanwhile, it was the Colonials who controlled the game with good chances in the box and playing balls into the area from the wing. Even the defensive backs pushed up to provide width and space for the forwards and midfielders to make runs.
With the conference tournament beginning on Thursday, it was important for the Colonials to have a strong showing before entering postseason play. That being said, coach Barnes took time to reflect on what a spectacular season it has been thus far.
“It’s been an amazing ride. We’ve been in all kinds of situations, but they’ve always found ways to [win]. You can go ten years and not have a season like this, so it’s been fantastic.”