Women’s soccer fell to La Salle in a match Sunday afternoon.
The Colonials (1-11-2, 1-5 A-10) suffered their third consecutive loss to the Explorers (4-7-2, 2-3-1 A-10) in a 1–0 defeat. Despite outshooting La Salle 13-7, the Colonials were ultimately unable to convert their chances.
“La Salle historically is a very direct team, so we knew that coming in,” head coach Michelle Demko said. “I thought we really did a good job on our backline to absorb that type of style of play, and then go in and put the ball in there half and play, and be goal dangerous.”
Sophomore forward Lauren Prentice propelled the Colonial attack down the left wing for much of the first half. In the eighth minute, freshman defender Summer Beesley chipped the ball toward Prentice as she made a run in behind the La Salle right back. Prentice played a low cross toward the top of the box, right into the feet of senior midfielder Maria Pareja, who pushed the ball wide right of the goal.
Prentice was involved again in the 16th minute. Senior defender Madi Coyne played a through ball down the right side to freshman midfielder Amelia Booth to spur the counterattack. Booth’s pinpoint cross found Prentice streaking into the box, but Prentice’s headed effort sailed over the bar.
In the 24th minute, GW continued to find success through Prentice, who had a chance off of a low cross from graduate student forward Kelly Amador. A defender blocked Prentice’s initial shot before Prentice’s close range follow up attempt forced a falling kick save by Explorers freshman goalkeeper Michela Auguadro to deny the Colonials a lead.
La Salle then found themselves on the front foot of play. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Tamaki Machi made a comfortable save from the top of the box in the 37th minute but nearly a minute later, the Colonials had a scare when another long range effort forced a save from Machi. The ball deflected off Machi’s hand right into the path of junior forward Danielle Rooney who passed the ball into the back of the net. Fortunately for the Colonials, the goal was disallowed for being offside.
GW dominated the final minutes of the first half as graduate student forward Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky provided a spark to the offense. Danyko-Kulchycky flashed a long range try just wide of the net from the right edge of the box in the 40th minute. Danyko-Kulchycky threatened again in the 44th minute after beating a defender with a step over, but her shot could not find the top corner of the frame.
Demko said she told the team at halftime to continue creating chances to be “goal dangerous” with a focus on winning back defensive clearances to pin their opponents in their own half. She said the team also discussed playing a more possession oriented style of play to counter La Salle’s strategy.
“We talked about putting the ball down and making them chase it,” Demko said. “Teams that have a direct style don’t normally like to play against teams that like to put the ball down and play.”
The Colonials came out hot once again in the second half as Amador hit a shot low and hard to the bottom corner, forcing another impressive save out of Auguadro to keep the scores level in the 53rd minute.
La Salle finally opened the scoring in the 57th minute off a cross from senior defender Bella Gonsiewski. Gonsiewski slashed down the right side and delivered the ball onto the left foot of redshirt junior midfielder Camaren Cox, who finished it near post after Machi came off her line for the ball, but didn’t fully commit to the challenge.
Following the goal, the Colonials took control of the possession again but struggled to carve out clear chances. Graduate student defender Cammie Dopke said the focus was on resiliency following the goal.
“We told ourselves, in the next five minutes, we’re gonna go hard, keep it in their half and just get more opportunities.” said Dopke.
The Explorers had another chance on the counterattack in the 72nd minute courtesy of sophomore forward Madison McCready, but her shot landed safely into the hands of Machi.
In the 78th minute, Amador nearly equalized for the Colonials. Freshman defender Alicia Window lofted a long ball over the Explorers backline into the path of Amador, whose sliding effort went wide of the far post as the goalkeeper collided with her.
The Colonials sustained pressure for the remainder of the match, but were unable to parlay their form into any more shots on goal. GW had an opportunity in the 87th minute when the ball bounced around in the La Salle box following a GW free kick from the right side, but no Colonial could get a shot off before it was cleared away.
“I think we had a lot of great chances and opportunities,” Dopke said. “And it’s unfortunate, we didn’t get one in the back of the net. But I think that’s just a positive from us, just getting those chances and playing in their half.”
The Colonials will be back in action Thursday as they travel to Dayton to take on the Flyers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.