Women’s soccer takes down Duquesne in final game of the season

Media Credit: Maya Nair | Photographer

GW opened the game aggressively, playing at a high tempo through the first three minutes.

Women’s soccer defeated Duquesne 2-1 at the Mount Vernon soccer field in the last game of the season Sunday, where the GW team bid goodbye to seven senior players.

The Colonials (7-5-6) outlasted the Dukes (6-6-3) with a combination of tactical offensive pushes at the top of the zone and a heightened focus on defense. With the win, the team shifted up to 11th place in the Atlantic 10, but failed to qualify for the A-10 Championship tournament for the third consecutive season.

Head Coach Michelle Demko said the team hoped to honor the senior class with a win in its final match against a competitive opponent. She said the win showcased how much the team cares about and celebrates its senior players.

“I think in terms of us having the ability to show up, it’s an emotional day for the seniors, but to kind of withstand those emotions and put those aside and still come out and complete the task at hand,” Demko said in a post-game interview.

GW opened the game aggressively, playing at a high tempo through the first three minutes. But after a shot in the third minute by senior forward Isabella Buck missed high, Duquesne was able to clear the ball and begin their first offensive set of the game.

After a lengthy back and forth in which both teams pushed the ball upfield to take shots on goal, the first score came by way of Duquesne midfielder Mackenzie Muir in the 33rd minute. A shot on goal hit the top of the crossbar and bounced straight down, drawing freshman goalkeeper Grace Crowe out of position and leaving Muir open to score off the rebound, putting the Dukes on top 1-0.

The Colonials pushed upfield seven minutes later, setting up midfielder Abby Mansoor for a shot that Duquesne’s sophomore goalkeeper Maddy Neundorfer stopped. Midfielder Isabelle Eskay recovered possession for the Colonials, crossing it from the left side of the field to midfielder Sammy Neyman in the box.

“​​We talked about coming out and really making sure that we continue to press the game and press it in their final third and really try to go after a goal, within the first 15 minutes if we could,” Demko said. “I thought that they really stuck to the game plan well, and the changes that we made brought energy and they brought confidence.”

While Neyman attempted to corral the ball after it bounced off of the crossbar, Duquesne goalkeeper Maddy Nuendorfer clipped Newman’s legs from behind, sending her falling to the ground and affording her a penalty kick.

Neyman’s penalty kick careened into the top left corner of the net, just past a diving Nuendorfer, giving GW the goal and knotting the game up at 1-1.

In the second half, Duquesne had possession for the majority of the 45 minutes but was unable to capitalize on any of its five shot attempts. In the 56th minute, Duquesne had two opportunities to score, but GW sophomore goalkeeper Ainsley Lumpe, who checked into the game at the start of the second half, made a diving stop, and a follow-up shot by sophomore forward Emma Bundy missed wide to the left of the goal.

Two minutes later, Duquesne senior defender Kayla Winicki fired another shot that hit the top of the crossbar and bounced directly down, but she was unable to score off the rebound.

GW scored the game-winning goal in the 65th minute after taking possession off of a Duquesne throw-in. The Colonials pushed the ball upfield and junior midfielder Elizabeth Cruz lined up a shot from just outside the box.

It missed right, ricocheting off of the post and toward freshman midfielder Aoi Kataoka, who sent a cross pass back to Cruz in the middle, who lined up a shot and buried it into the left side of the net.

For the rest of the game, the Colonials abandoned any substantial offensive push and focused most of their energy on defense by adjusting to tighten their coverage of the zone. They allowed Duquesne to make multiple drives upfield, but consistent stops both on the sides and in the box coupled with timely saves by Lumpe allowed GW to hold on.

The Colonials goalkeepers notched a total of three saves, with Crowe notching one save and Lumpe two, good for a combined .750 save percentage.

“It was the last game of my career, so I just wanted to win,” Neyman said. “I didn’t care if I played good or bad. It was more about our class, so tight-knit all seven of us. So it’s kind of just more about winning and getting momentum from winning a game that we knew we could.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.