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FRESHFARM workers ratify union agreement
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 15, 2024

Women’s soccer drops first A-10 match

Junior midfielder Nicole Belfonti fights for possession against an Old Dominion player on Aug. 24. Hatchet File Photo
Junior midfielder Nicole Belfonti fights for possession against an Old Dominion player on Aug. 24. Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Mark Eisenhauer.

Women’s soccer (7-3-0, 0-1-0) dropped their first Atlantic 10 conference match against La Salle (5-4-2, 1-0-0) Friday, losing 3-0 to the two-time defending conference champions in GW’s third loss of the season.

Despite the shutout loss, head coach Sarah Barnes said the Colonials were close to matching the Explorers play for much of the game.

“I don’t think the score was indicative of how the game went,” Barnes said. “It was in many ways an even game. [La Salle] is just very good at punishing errors.”

Two of those errors came early in each half: The Explorers took a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute of the game and made the score 2-0 in the fifth minute of the second half.

La Salle forward Kelsey Haycook scored both goals, the first by penetrating the GW defense and chipping the ball into the back of the net past redshirt freshman goalkeeper Miranda Horn, and the second by burying a cross from a teammate.

The Colonials threatened to come back by creating some offensive chances, but Barnes said the early goals left the team with an uphill battle in both halves. La Salle would outshoot the Colonials 15-9 in the game.

“It’s really difficult to give up goals so quickly, it takes a little bit of the wind out of your sails,” Barnes said. “But we did respond well to both of them. We had the ball a number of times in good spots, and we just didn’t do a good enough job capitalizing.”

Even with their aggressive response, the Colonials could not break through on the score sheet the entire game. La Salle scored a third time in the 69th minute off a header sent to the top right corner of the net to secure the team’s victory.

Top scorers like sophomore MacKenzie Cowley and junior Nicole Belfonti were both held to zero shots on goal for GW. Junior Brooke Bean had a team-high two shots for the Colonials.

Junior midfielder Kristi Abbate said despite the lopsided score line, GW made a good offensive effort.

“There was a lot of times where we had more possession than them. It’s just that we have to get better at taking those chances, taking risks and overall just getting up the field more so we can be more dangerous in their box,” Abbate said.

Although Abbate stressed finishing on offense, the backline was slow to react to the movement of teammates and left holes for La Salle to exploit.

The GW defense, led by Horn, had only allowed five goals in nine games coming into the match, but faltered under the Explorers’ offensive pressure. Horn would be replaced in the 85th minute after giving up three goals and making only six saves.

Barnes said improvement at reading and covering long ball service, pinching when backs come off the line and precision in the offensive third are “huge” areas of priority going forward. Still, Barnes was optimistic even with the loss.

“I’m not happy about us losing, but I think [La Salle] is a very good team, and I think if we can come out against other teams and possess like we did against them, we are going to be successful,” Barnes said.

GW continues conference play Saturday at Fordham before returning home for a three-game stretch.

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