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Women’s soccer team defeats District-rival Howard to close non-conference play

Junior Alex Neal heads downfield during Friday's game against Howard. Photographer: Michael Boosalis | Hatchet Photographer
Junior Alex Neal heads downfield during Friday’s game against Howard. Michael Boosalis | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jake Deitcher.

The Colonials hosted Howard Friday in their final test before Atlantic 10 conference play begins, closing out their non-conference schedule with a victory.

After tying local rival American 1-1 on Tuesday in a grueling double overtime match, GW (4-4-1) outplayed Howard from the first minute of play to the last, bringing the momentum from their victory earlier in the week to the pitch.

“We had a good second half Tuesday against American and that play carried over to this match,” head coach Sarah Barnes said. “I think that they did a good job preparing themselves and we came out aggressive from the beginning.”

The Colonials scored early when freshman midfielder Amanda Gaggioli took control of an errant ball with her chest and the ball found its way to freshman forward Kristi Abbate. Abbate then volleyed a quick shot that landed in the right of the goal, giving GW a lead in the third minute that they never relinquished.

The Colonials challenged the Howard goalie early and often. GW attempted 24 shots in all, and finally added another goal in the 73rd minute when sophomore forward Taylor Katz lobbed a ball over the Howard goalkeeper.

“Honestly, the game should have been higher than it was,” Abbate said. “Hopefully we saved some goals for conference play.”

The victory against Howard keeps the Colonials undefeated at home on the season. The Colonials begin conference play with three straight home matches, but they are not taking their opponents lightly.

“We’re playing Richmond, VCU and Charlotte and those are three high quality teams so being at home will give us a little bit of an advantage going into those tough games,” Barnes said. “We need to be competitive in every game and that will give us a chance to win in every game. You never know what the outcome will be.”

Though closing non-conference play with a victory gives the team a boost of confidence heading into A-10 battles, they remain focused on taking their schedule match by match.

But the back-to-back impressive outings against District-rivals have proved to the Colonials that they’ve bonded as a team, building all-important chemistry as they head into the more weighted games of their season.

“It’s great to know that we are building together and everyone is getting better,” Katz said. “We have so many great freshmen and we have great veterans so it all works well together. We are going to always play our hearts out and we are starting to click. That will be good for us now.”

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