Women’s soccer fell just short of the Atlantic 10 Tournament after battling Davidson to a draw Sunday.
The Colonials (6-4-1, 4-3-1 A-10) concluded their season on a bittersweet 1–1 draw. Despite scoring a game-tying goal in the 79th minute of regulation, GW failed to come away with the victory against the Wildcats (6-3-3, 4-2-2) in a must-win scenario to advance to the postseason.
“I thought we played a really good half of soccer,” head coach Michelle Demko said. “It’s unfortunate, that type of goal to give up, which just looked like a little bit of miscommunication on our part. But in terms of us getting in the final third and creating chances, I felt good about that today.”
Despite GW dominating the time of possession and creating multiple chances throughout the first half, the Colonials failed to put the ball in the back of the net and instead found themselves in a hole heading into halftime.
In the 16th minute of play, the Colonials put together a give-and-go down the sideline.
Freshman midfielder Elizabeth Cruz played a low curving cross to the top of the box, forcing a Wildcat defender to dive in front to clear the ball. Senior midfielder Natalie Silberman came away with the ball and struck it toward the net, but the ball deflected into the hands of junior goalkeeper Mary Grace Bunch.
Davidson broke the stalemate in the 29th minute of play. The Wildcats played a high bending cross into the Colonial box. A miscommunication along the GW backline caused redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Tamaki Machi to hesitate coming out of the net to clear the ball.
It settled at the feet of Wildcat sophomore forward Hailey Braemer, who chipped the ball past a stranded Machi. The momentum shifted in the remainder of the half as the Colonials were not generating opportunities on offense.
The Wildcats continued to apply pressure in the second half. In the 65th minute, Machi was forced to make a diving save to push the ball away from the net, conceding a corner in the process. Machi tallied five saves on the day to keep the Colonials in the game.
Moments later, a cross off a Davidson counterattack left midfielder Riley Patton alone in the box. She failed to corral the ball at her feet, allowing sophomore midfielder Isabelle Eskay to step in front of the shot.
Senior midfielder Kelly Amador attempted to tie the game with a long-range try in the 74th minute, but the shot traveled straight into the waiting arms of Bunch.
“We knew about the 20 minute mark, we had to get two goals, because a tie wasn’t great for us today,” Demko said. “It just kind of leaves things in the air. So we really needed to get a goal, a tying goal first. So we changed our formation, we threw bigger numbers up in the attack for us.”
The Colonials finally drew the game level nearly five minutes later. Sophomore midfielder Tori Minda sent a long ball into the opposing box. After a brief scramble, junior midfielder Maria Pareja hit a sliding shot to slot the ball into the back of the net.
“Maria Pareja did a great job of just kind of being scrappy, and got her foot on it and was able to poke it in for us,” Demko said.
The Colonials had a brief scare in the final minute of the game. Wildcat junior forward Kendall Bushick broke away on the counter attack, launching a shot at Machi from the edge of the box. But Machi came up with the save to send the game into extra minutes.
In the first half of overtime, the Colonials earned a free-kick try at the edge of the box after a handball by a Wildcat defender, but the attempt was cleared. Junior midfielder Beth Ellinport hit a shot wide, but the frame remained scoreless at the horn.
With just more than five minutes left in overtime, Amador had a chance just outside the six-yard box but was stonewalled by Bunch. The Wildcats spent the remainder of the second half of extra time milking the clock.
“I thought we put ourselves in really good positions in terms of being goal dangerous and breaking that final line from Davidson,” Demko said. “Just a bit unlucky not to put one in the back of the goal today in overtime.”
The Colonials awaited their fate as they hoped for a chance to compete in the A-10 Tournament, but the program was not named as one of the four qualifying teams for the postseason.
“What I said to the team after the game was, we did all we could today and we left it all on the field,” Demko said. “I’m just proud of the way they have approached this entire season.”