Women’s soccer’s defense holds Maryland scoreless in double overtime draw

Media Credit: Ethan Stoler | Senior Staff Photographer

Freshman defender Hannah Zaluski dribbles down the field in women's soccer's game against Maryland Sunday night.

Women’s soccer (4-2-1) gutted out a 0–0 draw with the Maryland Terrapins (2-3-3) in double overtime Sunday night in head coach Michelle Demko’s return to her former school.

Senior forward Sofia Pavon led the Colonials with five shots followed by sophomore midfielder Alexis Williams with four. The tie marks the third consecutive game the Colonials have not found the back of the net.

“We had moments where we got a hold of the ball and we really mapped it and we made them really chase the game a little bit,” Demko said. “And then we had moments where we got into that same kicking match which really is not our style of play.”

An athletics department spokesperson declined to provide interviews with athletes on site postgame, citing a department policy.

Minding the net, senior goalkeeper Anna Tapen posted six saves in 23 shots faced to keep the Terrapins at bay.

“I thought Anna in goal had her best game ever,” Demko said. “She did a really good job of coming out and picking up any penetrative balls that would’ve been dangerous so she had a higher line tonight, which was good to see.”

The Colonials stormed out of the gates in the first half, keeping the ball in Maryland’s half for the first 30 minutes of the match.

With possession time heavily favoring GW in the first half, the Colonials fired off eight shots while limiting the hosts to just six attempts of their own. Williams, who leads the Colonials with four goals this season, took three shots – two on goal – in the half.

In the final 10 minutes of the first frame, the Terrapins launched four of their six first-half shots as their fast-paced offense began to break through, but GW’s defense held up to keep the ball from finding the back of the net.

The Terrapins came out with similar intensity in the second half, speeding up the pace of the game with an attack that saw them flip the shots differential to their advantage. When the final whistle blew, the hosts came away with a 23-18 shot advantage.

But the Colonials had an airtight defense, allowing few clean shots at the back of the net for the Maryland offense.

“The back line did a really great job of that for 90 minutes and then in the overtime,” Demko said. “When you have a solid structure like that on the back line you’re willing to risk a little bit more higher up in the field so hats off to them.”

A blow was dealt to GW’s offense in the 78th minute, when Williams appeared to suffer a lower body injury in a collision with two Maryland players while attempting a chip shot at the near post.

In the 87th minute, Pavon fired a shot from 30 yards out that smacked off the crossbar, robbing the Colonials of what could have been the game-winning goal.

When the game concluded with a blank slate, the team went into extra time with both teams fighting to get on the board. In the 104th minute, Tapen made a save to shut down Maryland sophomore forward Mikayla Dayes, who was running in from the left side of the penalty box.

The Colonials’ last chance to take the win came in the final minute of the second overtime when junior defender Deena DeSilva took the corner kick and found Pavon at the near post, but the shot was saved by Maryland’s keeper.

Demko, who played part of her collegiate career at Maryland, said after the game it was special to return to College Park as a head coach for the first time.

“It’s always exciting coming back to Ludwig — this place has great memories for me,” Demko said. “The last time I played on this field we won and we were heading to the Elite Eight, and we were top-5 in the country.”

GW will be back in action Sunday against James Madison at the Mount Vernon Campus. Kick-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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