Women’s soccer picks up fourth straight conference victory

Media Credit: Ethan Stoler | Contributing Photo Editor

Senior forward Brittany Cooper dribbles past a Spiders defender during the Colonials' Thursday night game at Richmond.

The career record between women’s soccer and Richmond entering into Thursday night’s matchup was dead even at seven wins apiece.

But based on recent performances, the Colonials were heavy favorites. GW was looking for its ninth win in its past 10 games while the Spiders were searching for their second victory of the season.

The momentum of the season continued as the Colonials (9-3-1, 4-1-0 A-10) commanded the pace of the game in the first half and held on in the second to defeat Richmond (1-10-1, 1-3-1 A-10) 2–0 on the road.

“We worked really hard tonight, but it wasn’t that pretty of a game for us,” head coach Sarah Barnes said. “Richmond is a very good team, so the fact that we could come to their field and get a result is really good.”

The win was GW’s fourth consecutive in conference play – each in shutout fashion. Against the Spiders, redshirt senior goalkeeper Miranda Horn finished with six saves – her most over the past eight games.

“When we do a good job of making sure that everybody is matched up, we typically have seen that we don’t give up a ton of goals,” Barnes said. “I thought we did a really good job defensively tonight.”

Although the Colonials did not allow any goals and held off the majority of the Spiders’ attacks, Richmond finished the game with three more shots and three more corner kicks.

In the first half, GW controlled the pace of play – playing the ball around the back and slowly working up the field.

Barnes said the Colonials struggled a bit in the second half because they didn’t handle the counter attack well and they didn’t stick to what had been working previously in the game.

“I think we struggled a little bit in the second half,” she said. “They put a lot of pressure on us and we struggled to handle it. We didn’t stick to the plan.”

Sophomore defender Deena DeSilva scored the game’s first goal from a penalty kick in the 33rd minute. The Colonials were awarded the shot after senior forward Brittany Cooper was pulled down inside the 18-yard box when positioning herself to receive a pass.

The second and final goal of the game came off of a corner kick from freshman defender Allie Nornes in the 57th minute. Her cross bounced off of junior midfielder Mia Barreda and was finished by the head of junior midfielder Sofia Pavon. The goal was Pavon’s team-high seventh of the year.

The Spiders had the game’s first two chances inside the opening five minutes of play. Saves from Horn stopped both efforts and Richmond did not capitalize on the following corner kicks.

GW’s first dangerous play of the game was a distance shot from Pavon that sailed well over the net.

For the following 18 minutes, the Colonials took complete command of the game and kept Richmond away from the ball for the vast majority of the stretch.

In the 26th minute, the Spiders forced Horn to make her first difficult save when Richmond senior forward Lexi Prillaman aimed her strike at the top right corner of the goal. The Colonials allowed two more open opportunities in the next two minutes, but the Spiders did not get a shot off either time.

After DeSilva’s goal, in the final 13 minutes of the first half, Richmond began to see a little bit of offensive success. Spiders sophomore midfielder Brooke Beam took a shot on net less than 10 seconds before the break. Her attempt was collected by Horn.

Five minutes into the second half, Cooper had a one-on-one with a defender that concluded with a hard shot wide of the goal.

Off of a free kick, Richmond had an opening to tie the game up. Prillaman received a pass inside the box and well behind the Colonials defense, but fired her shot over the crossbar.

The Spiders’ offensive urgency improved following Pavon’s goal. They had three solid shots on net between the 65th and 68th minutes.

GW nearly conceded a goal in the 77th minute when Prillaman went on a breakaway. Her first shot from the top of the box was stopped by the leg of Horn – who was just a few feet in front of her – while her follow up chance was deflected out by a defender.

“I got lucky on the breakaway,” Horn said. “I do get nervous in that situation, but we train it so much in training. I get scored on a million times in training just so I can make one save in the game.”

The Colonials return to action back in D.C. Sunday when they host Saint Louis (11-1-2, 3-1-1 A-10) at 12:30 p.m.

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