Women’s soccer split its first two games of the year for the first time since 2015.
The Colonials (1–1–0) opened the season outshooting their opponents but have spent the majority of the two games played trailing their competitors. Head coach Michelle Demko said scoring will come as long as the team works to create opportunities near the net.
“If we’re in a game and we’re not creating those opportunities, then that’s going to make it more difficult to score,” she said.
GW began play against William and Mary on Aug. 22 and endured a grueling 0–2 loss. The squad gave up two goals in the first half and tightened its defense to allow fewer shots in the second frame.
Despite the loss, GW fired 13 shots during the game over the Tribe’s nine – six of which came on goal. A six-save night from the Tribe prevented the Colonials from breaking through.
The Colonials’ aggressiveness continued into Wednesday’s game against American. GW outshot the Eagles 14–6 and defeated them 2–1 thanks to goals from redshirt senior forward and midfielder Sofia Pavon and sophomore midfielder Maria Pareja.
The Colonials have outshot their opponents through the first two games for the second year in a row. Demko said the squad mastered the difficult part of scoring – creating opportunities at the net – and now just needs to refine its final touches on the ball.
“The missing piece for us was just the final ball, which was either too far out in front or behind us or technically just being a little bit cleaner just on that final touch,” Demko said.
The last time the Colonials split their first two games was in 2015, when the squad opened its season with a 1–0 overtime win against UC Riverside and fell to Cal State Fullerton 1–4. The team went on to finish 16–4, earning a clean 10–0 Atlantic 10 record.
Although the Colonials outshot American, they struggled with accuracy and put nine of their 14 shots on goal. In contrast, five of American’s six shots were on frame. Redshirt senior defender Megan McCormick said the team struggled to remain composed throughout the game.
“At William and Mary, we didn’t do as well a job as we did against American about calming down and realizing that 45 minutes, even one half, is a long time for you to work together and get a goal and come back from behind,” McCormick said.
One reason for the high number of shots taken is Miami transfer and redshirt junior Rachel Sorkenn. The forward fired off six shots – four of which were on goal – in her two games with the Colonials. She started both games and has accrued 135 minutes for the Colonials.
McCormick said Sorkenn’s confidence and aggressiveness are strong additions, adding that she brings a new style of play that will enhance the team’s attack.
“It’s awesome to have that new confidence and to have someone that can dribble up players and likes to take on a center defender and take shots,” McCormick said. “It’s something that we tend to not have a lot of – shots – so I think it’s nice that we have her.”
In addition to Sorkenn, the Colonials added two other transfers and five freshmen to the 2019 mix. Sophomore midfielder Sammy Neyman joined the Colonials from Miami and redshirt sophomore midfielder Anyssa Ibrahim transferred from South Florida.
Midfielders Tori Minda and Isabelle Eskay, defender Haley Curtis and forwards Monique Perrier and Isabella Buck joined the team this season as freshmen. The Colonials lost four players to graduation, including starting goaltender Anna Tapen.
Goalkeeper Tamaki Machi joined the squad last January and has been GW’s primary goalkeeper this season. She started both games and has made six saves on three allowed goals.
McCormick said Tamaki’s confidence and steadiness has improved the overall dynamic of the team’s backline.
“If you don’t have a connection with the keeper, and they don’t really have the confidence that Tamaki has, sometimes there’s no communication and some things get lost in translation, so it’s definitely been awesome having Tamaki back there,” McCormick said.
The squad returns to action Thursday on its home field at 3 p.m. against Liberty.