Strong defense leads women’s soccer to shutout win

Media Credit: Donna Armstrong | Photographer

Freshman forward Alexis Williams dribbles around a Fordham defender during the team's 1–0 win over the Rams Thursday.

Women’s soccer only allowed Fordham to record two shots on net and zero scoring opportunities Thursday afternoon at the Mount Vernon field.

The performance duplicated the Colonials’ win Sunday where they also allowed only two shots on net in a shutout over Rhode Island.

GW (7-3-1, 2-1 A-10) defeated the Rams (5-4-3, 2-1 A-10) 1–0 after a scoreless first half as redshirt senior goalkeeper Miranda Horn picked up her fourth clean sheet of the year.

“It is always nice to only have two shots on goal but I think we did really well from forward to back line,” redshirt sophomore defender Megan McCormick said. “It was just nice to have a team defensive day and it is always nice when we feel like our job is kind of easy during the game.”

The win moved the Colonials to 2-1 in the Atlantic 10, good for third place with seven games to play. Despite a 4–3 loss to George Mason on the road, GW has now won seven of its last eight games – outscoring teams 15-7 over the stretch.

“Certainly the trajectory is really good with 19 freshmen and sophomores and seven juniors and seniors, we are moving in the right direction,” head coach Sara Barnes said. “I still know we can be better and I am excited to watch us continue to progress.”

The game’s only goal came from the penalty spot where junior midfielder Sofia Pavon shot the ball into the upper-right side and around Fordham’s goalkeeper. After the game, Pavon said the shot was a “mishit” but she couldn’t complain with the result.

The Colonials finished the game with 10 shots on goal, compared to five for the Rams, but still experienced challenges finishing – an issue they have battled all year.

“I thought there were a number of moments when we moved the ball pretty well and we got to some pretty good spots,” Barnes said. “We just weren’t quite able to finish the play.”

Fordham started out the game with enough offensive pressure to force the Colonials to play in their own half. GW’s defense cleared several balls out of its 18-yard box during the opening 10 minutes.

In the 13th minute, Pavon had the game’s first scoring attempt off of a free kick. Her shot was lofted over defenders and straight into the hands of the Rams goalkeeper.

The Colonials improved their passing consistency and share of possession as the first half progressed. The most dangerous shot of the first half came from Colonials senior forward Brittany Cooper. She was wide open at the top of the box, but didn’t shoot hard enough to beat the goalkeeper.

“I think it was much more like a roller coaster today, there were times when we had control, they were times that they did,” Barnes said. “For us it is probably about being a little bit better under pressure and keeping the ball.”

About 10 minutes before the halftime break, Fordham took what ended up being one of its best shots of the game – an attempt that sailed over the crossbar.

The two sides went into the half tied 0–0 following a final opportunity for GW where sophomore defender Deena DeSilva received service from Cooper 10 yards out from the goal, but no shot was taken.

Less than two minutes into the second half, Horn made her second and final save off of a distance shot from the Rams.

After the Colonials took a lead on the scoreboard, the two sides traded offensive attacks. Following an unsuccessful Fordham corner and a wide miss from Pavon, Colonials freshman forward Alexis Williams and Cooper both took and missed shots.

With 18 minutes remaining in the contest, sophomore forward Sheila Albertson dribbled past the keeper and shot in hopes to extend the lead. Instead, a Rams defender got in the way and cleared the ball.

Fordham tried to go on numerous counterattacks as the final minutes ran off the clock, but GW’s starting back-five – who played together in all but six minutes of the game – did not crack.

The Colonials return to action Sunday when they host St. Bonaventure (0-9-2, 0-1-1 A-10) at 1 p.m.

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