Less than six minutes into Thursday night’s women’s soccer game, the Colonials were forced to kick the ball off again – already trailing LSU 1–0.
GW responded within minutes with offensive pressure that continued throughout the game – with the Colonials outshooting the Tigers 15-8 – but it was never enough to secure a goal.
After a scoreless stretch of more than 60 minutes to end the game, the Colonials (0-2-1) fell to LSU 2–0 in front of a sizable crowd at the Mount Vernon Campus.
“We gave up a couple soft goals early and that put us in a hole,” head coach Sarah Barnes said. “We are just falling short in terms of execution in the final third but I think tonight was a really good example of what we can be and what we can do.”
The loss extended the team’s losing streak to all three games of its young season. They tied Liberty 1–1 last Thursday and lost to Georgetown 4–0 the previous Sunday.
The LSU win was familiar for the Tigers, they shut out all three of their previous opponents with a 10-0 combined scoring advantage.
Four different Colonials finished with multiple shot attempts, including a game-high four from senior forward Brittany Cooper. Cooper led the offensive charge for GW for much of the time the team was trailing.
“I thought in the second half in particular we were moving the ball, we were creating some really good situations in and around the box,” Barnes said. “I thought we were a little unlucky not to get one today.”
Five minutes after LSU freshman forward Tinaya Alexander gave her team the lead, Colonials junior midfielder Sofia Pavon fired two hard shots at the net and forced the Tigers goalkeeper to make her first important save of the night.
Freshman midfielder Sara Messinger got a shot off just two minutes later and for a good stretch of time GW appeared to be in control of the pace and the direction of play.
In the 26th minute, LSU found an opening after a cross from Alexander reached the foot of her teammate senior midfielder Zoe Higgins. Higgins struck the ball with her right foot into the back of the net, bringing the score to 2–0.
For the next several minutes, the Tigers held the momentum. LSU sophomore defender Jade Clark nearly added another goal to the scoreboard when her 41st minute shot deflected off the post.
With 32 minutes to go in the game, an LSU shot seemed destined to find the goal after already bypassing the GW goalkeeper. An unnecessary Tigers header that was meant to finish the shot sent the ball over the crossbar and caused an offside call.
Sophomore defender Deena Desilva gave GW one of its first goal scoring opportunities of the second half in the 65th minute. Her freekick found the frame but was saved over the net. The following corner kick did not find its mark.
For the final 18 minutes of the game, the Colonials maintained solid control on the offensive side and pressured the LSU defense repetitively.
A corner from Desilva came to the foot of a GW player just a few yards out but was not finished. Nornes and Desilva both had shots within the next few minutes that were inches away from scoring.
Although two unanswered goals seemed unlikely, GW played at its highest energy level of the game as the final minutes ticked off the clock. The Colonials last real chance – a free kick with two minutes on the clock – was also squandered.
“We have created better chances this season than any other time that I’ve been here,” Barnes said. “I think it is just about continuing to work at it. Sometimes goals come in bunches and sometimes they don’t.”
The team will return to action Sunday when the Colonials travel across town to take on American (1-3) at 2 p.m.
“We are looking forward to playing American,” Barnes said. “If we can translate what we did in the second half here to that game I think that we are going to be really dangerous and difficult to deal with.”