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Women’s soccer clinches best A-10 finish in four years

Arielle Bader | Assistant Photo Editor
Midfielder Kelly Amador heads the ball during the game against Saint Louis University Sunday. The Colonials fell to the Billikens 1–2, ending in second place in the A-10.

Updated: Oct. 28, 2019 at 5:23 p.m.

Women’s soccer nabbed its best seeding in Atlantic 10 tournament play since 2015, clocking in at No. 2 in the conference.

The Colonials (12–2–4, 7–1–2 A-10) will take their highest place since achieving an undefeated 2015 season. Head coach Michelle Demko and players said the second-place finish was the result of investing in the program and in players instead of focusing solely on winning games.

“I’m proud of the way that we’ve worked and that they’ve invested in the details and trying to understand who the opponent is,” Demko said. “We have not talked about winning, we just show up, we invest in each other, we work hard. We just take care of the details. The winning is nice – there’s no doubt about it.”

The team’s finish marks its seventh consecutive year earning a bid to postseason play. With 12 wins on the season overall, GW posted its most successful season since 2015, when the team went undefeated in conference play and advanced to a regular season championship.

Demko said the team will treat the quarterfinals as “business as usual,” and the squad will focus on its strengths instead of becoming intimidated by opponents.

“For us, just in terms of our preparation, it’ll be the same,” Demko said. “We’ll look at our opponents, but more so it’s all about us and where we feel like our strengths are and where we can expose our opponents.”

The Colonials’ two losses this year came in the first and last games of the season, bookending a 14-game stretch of undefeated play. After the last regular season game against Saint Louis, junior midfielder Kelly Amador said this season is the result of the team’s hard work over the past few seasons.

“All season we’ve been fine,” Amador said. “Our first loss other than today came in our first game, and I think that’s a huge accomplishment for us, even with the results today. I’ve seen this team work and grind the last three years and I think this is the payoff this season.”

The Colonials wrapped up their regular season with a tightly-contested match against No. 1 seed Saint Louis. GW had an opportunity to clinch the top spot with a win over the Billikens but dropped the game 2–1. But GW ended the regular season a full four points ahead of No. 3 Massachusetts in the standings.

Amador said despite the team’s advantageous standing, the team needs to stay focused on being competitive.

“Our biggest issue with the team has always been playing up to our potential, and I think that we knew who we were playing today and it was easy for us to come out and grind, playing against the other top team in our league,” Amador said.

The full seeding was decided Monday, pairing the Colonials with No. 7 Saint Joseph’s.

The squad topped the Hawks 2–0 earlier this month. GW has a slight historical edge over Saint Joseph’s, winning four of its matchups, losing three contests and tying two games.

The squad did not face the Dukes this season but toppled them 1–0 on the road halfway through the A-10 slate last year. The Colonials hold the historical edge, with four wins, two losses and two draws in eight games against Duquesne.

The Colonials rank first in total shots taken in the conference overall and score an average of two goals per game. The squad ranks No. 13 among NCAA Division I teams in shots per game with 18.06 per game.

Of their total shots, 10.06 are on goal, ranking the Colonials second among all Division I programs. Despite their league-wide domination, redshirt sophomore forward Rachel Sorkenn said the Colonials need to be more efficient and execute in the final third to capitalize on scoring opportunities.

“We need to finish our chances in front of goal – in big games like this, we’re not going to get 10 chances,” Sorkenn said.

The Colonials took six games into overtime this season, giving them ample experience in high-pressure situations that should prove invaluable in the postseason.

“There were games when we were down and we fought so hard to come back,” Sorkenn said. “Mostly all of our games went into double overtime, but we were able to get the W. So I’m just really proud of everyone for not giving up even when we did lose the first game, everyone just worked harder each day.”

Editors note: This post was updated to include information about the team’s first postseason matchup. 

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