Women’s soccer fell to VCU in overtime Sunday in the opening game of conference play.
Despite a narrow and hard-fought 3–2 defeat, the Colonials (0-7-2, 0-1 A-10) notched their first two goals in the past three games against the Rams (5-2, 1-0 A-10). After 107 minutes of play, the Colonials conceded the final goal in double overtime to lose their A-10 opening game.
“When the first half of your season isn’t going great, understand that the second season is beginning and you can’t carry that with you,” head coach Michelle Demko said. “It’s a new season, almost like new energy, new focus.”
VCU outshot the Colonials by a margin of 32-6, forcing redshirt junior goalkeeper Tamaki Machi to make 10 saves on the day. The Colonials registered just two shots on frame, both of them ending up as goals.
The Rams jumped out in front in the 30th minute when senior forward Aileen Guthrie buried the ball into the right-hand side of the net. The Colonials lost control of the ball in the midfield, allowing the Rams to play a long through ball toward Guthrie on the break.
Just three minutes later, the Colonials found the equalizing goal. Junior midfielder Isabelle Eskay finished a cross from junior forward Isabelle Buck, slotting the ball into the bottom left corner with a right-footed strike and earning her first goal since 2019. Despite conceding four corners and enduring 12 shots in the first half, the Colonials held on into the second half of play.
“One thing that stood out to me was just the response after we got scored on, just the response in terms of scoring another goal in the next five minutes,” Graduate student defender Cammie Dopke said. “I think that was really good on our part, and just being determined, persistent and playing throughout the entire game. So I think that was a good takeaway.”
Graduate student midfielder Kelly Amador gave the Colonials the lead three minutes into the second half of an assist from senior midfielder Maria Pareja. Butthe Rams managed to tie the game in the 78th minute courtesy of a right footed finish from graduate student forward Bri Kropinack, forcing the match into overtime.
After a scoreless first half of extra time, redshirt senior forward Samantha Jerabek won a one-on-one battle against a GW defender to get inside the box, then delivered a left-footed strike inside the left post to put the game away and hand the Colonials their first conference loss.
Though the Colonials earned just two corners to the Rams’ 10, Amador said the team improved its finishing against VCU and capitalized on the chances they did have. She said she hopes that aspect of their game will remain on a positive trajectory throughout the rest of conference play and the team will continue to look ahead, not toward the games that have already passed.
“I think offensively all season, even regardless of how the games have ended, we’ve been creating a lot of chances,” Amador said. “And I think what we will continue to take with us is to continue creating those chances and just putting more away. It’s just that final piece.”
Demko said the team will take the rest of the season “one game at a time.” She said maintaining the culture and leadership within the team will be critical to the team’s success going forward.
“There’s no question I have that same, if not more belief, that I have today than I did walking into our first day on August 4,” Demko said. “I know what these players are capable of. I know what their talent level is. I know what their want is and the will to compete and the will to succeed.”
The Colonials will look to earn their first win of the season against Rhode Island Thursday. Kick off is slated for 3 p.m.
This article appeared in the September 23, 2021 issue of the Hatchet.