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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon.

In a span of just 11 minutes, the Colonials saw their 0-0 tie turn into a three goal deficit.

GW fell to Saint Francis 3-1 at home in last match of the D.C. Invitational, despite outshooting the Flash 18-10.

Sophomore Brooke Bean breaks out across midfield in an offensive push against Georgetown on Friday. Hatchet File Photo by Elise Apelian | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Senior Jane Wallis, with the assist from freshman Kate Elson, connected for the Colonials’ lone goal with 50 seconds to play in regulation, but the play of Saint Francis senior and NCAA Division I active leading scorer Tesa McKibben was too much for GW to contain.

McKibben helped tally the first goal of the game for the Flash (1-2-1), as she took a free kick and lofted a ball just over the Colonial defenders and into perfect position for a header from Alecia McNiff.

“She’s [McKibben] a very good player and honestly I thought we did alright. Really good players like that – you can do a really good job marking them for 89 minutes and the one minute you slip or the one minute she cuts by you. That could be enough to punish you,” head coach Sarah Barnes said.

The game slowly unraveled from there, as McKibben’s touches turned into goals. Just nine minutes after the first strike, McKibben broke free ahead of the GW defenders, putting senior goalkeeper Nicole Ulrick in a tough situation. Ulrick came out to the front left corner of the box to try to cut off the strike, but the veteran goalscorer punched it into the back right of the net.

Ulrick recorded four saves on the day, with three goals allowed.

Before GW (1-2) had time to react, two minutes later McKibben skillfully dribbled around the Colonials, leaving one on the ground, and placed the ball in the back right corner for a final deflating goal, leaving GW in an insurmountable hole.

The Colonial defense played a solid game despite the outcome, highlighted by junior Elizabeth Casey’s many successful clears.

Wallis, whose goal came far too late for GW, had a total of four shots on the day. The offense was finally able to break through, she said, because of their adjustment to look for “simple” touch passes, instead of longer, more complicated crosses.

In addition to Wallis’ four shots, senior Alex Neal contributed with four of her own. Meanwhile, sophomore forward Kyla Ridley earned herself playing time over freshman MacKenzie Cowley and sophomore Kristi Abbate, finding herself in the middle of goal scoring opportunities when in the game, including three shots on goal.

“She went in, she took advantage of the situation and that got her more time. I’m excited about that I think you have to take away some of those points from a game like this. Kyla stepped up and we’re looking for that from all of our players,” Barnes said.

GW will go on the road for its next four games, starting with Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va. on Friday.

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Senior Alex Neal leaps up for a header between Georgetown seniors Emily Menges and Alexa St. Martin during Friday’s loss. Elise Apelian | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Josh Solomon. 

Playing the No. 13 team in the nation was sure to be a challenge for the women’s soccer team. But a 1-0 halftime lead against rival Georgetown made the Colonials eventual 3-2 loss hurt that much more.

It was a test, that if completed, would affirm the team’s strong improvement under second-year coach Sarah Barnes after the team won only one conference game last year.

“It helps that it’s a crosstown rivalry and the team gets excited about it,” Barnes said. “But as I told them, it’s a fun game, it’s an exciting game but now it’s over and we have a year until we play them again.”

After the Colonials jumped ahead in the first half, GW made an early second-half mistake leading to an equalizer in the 48th minute. The Hoyas outshot GW 9-3 in the second half, and 12-5 overall.

Georgetown continued to attack, exhibiting why they are a nationally ranked team in the 67th minute. With constant pressure, they crowded the box and converted a goal as senior goalkeeper Nicole Ulrick scrambled to save the tie.

“Those are kind of the worst goals because they seem like they’re right there, but it’s just so hard when everyone is so close on the end line,” said Ulrick, who recorded five saves on the day.

In the 73rd minute, Georgetown subbed in its 5’ 11” freshman striker who, just second later, lofted a ball from outside perfectly into the top left corner for the Hoya’s third and decisive goal.

Barnes quickly tried to plug in an attack to get within one goal. Before her three subs came in, just two minutes after the Hoyas’ third goal, junior Nicole Belefonti headed in a cross from junior Elizabeth Casey, re-energizing the team with 15 minutes left to go.

“We practice [that play] always before every game. I’ve gotten a head on it during American, but I couldn’t finish but I just found the back of the net today,” Belefonti said.

The Colonials continued to press, never once appearing significantly outmatched by their crosstown rival. Despite a few threats, including a couple shot attempts, they could not tie it up.

But there was much to take away from the game, said Ulrick – who wanted the win especially after tearing her ACL to Georgetown in the first game of the season last year.

“I don’t even remember going up one-nothing over Georgetown. It was really exciting because it was at the end of the half, you would’ve thought we won the World Cup in one half of soccer,” Ulrick said on

In the 44th minute freshman MacKenzie Cowley’s found the right place, just as she had in the team’s 1-0 defeat of American last week. Junior Madison Davis got the assist for Cowley, and then found the far post, capitalizing on a misplayed ball by a Hoyas defender.

“I was in shock. I just couldn’t believe it actually went in. It’s what we wanted. It was a great,” Cowley said.

At halftime, she added, with two goals now under her belt, her teammates joked with her, saying, “Who are you, freshman?”

GW plays its second and final game of the D.C. Invitational on Sunday against Saint Francis.

This story was updated on Sept. 4 at 4:45 p.m. to reflect the following correction:

The Hatchet incorrectly reported the number of years Sarah Barnes had been head coach.

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Media Credit: Gabriella Demczuk | Senior Staff Photographer

Women’s soccer freshman midfielder Kristi Abbate is a member of the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team, following a standout first season on the pitch for the Colonials.

Abbate was the only freshman, and just one of five players, to start all of GW’s 18 games this season, and matched senior teammate Adriana Moya to lead the team with eight points on three goals and two assists.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Kristi as she is an up-and-coming player in the A-10,” head coach Sarah Barnes said. “We are confident in her skills as well as her continued development and we are prepared for her to make an impact in the conference for years to come.”

Abbate tallied a team-high two game-winning goals this season, and took 34 shots, a team-high, recording a .471 shots-on-goal percentage. She and the Colonials closed the season with an overall record of 5-12-1 and a 1-8-0 mark in Atlantic 10 play.


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

Junior Alex Neal heads downfield earlier in the season. Hatchet File Photo by Michael Boosalis | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Sophia Omuemu.

GW headed into this weekend with hopes of securing two wins in its final away games of the regular season but ultimately fell twice: 1-0 to the Rhode Island Rams and 4-0 to the Massachusetts Minutewomen.

The Colonials entered their game Friday aggressively with a 3-1 shot advantage. Prior to the game, the Colonials had emphasized the importance of finishing their shots and moving the ball forward.

“We always try to focus on possession with the intent to go forward and to create scoring opportunities,” head coach Sarah Barnes said.

Freshman Kristi Abbate took the first shot at the 10th minute that sailed by the net, followed by shot attempts from juniors Alex Neal and Jane Wallis. Despite the initial shot advantage, the Rams were able to score the lone goal off of a header at the 28th minute.

“We needed to be more precise with our decision making in the attacking third,” Barnes said. “We needed to put the ball in the box and shoot.”

Sunday, Barnes emphasized to her team the need for strong defensive play and better decision making in order to win.

Both teams battled until the 22nd minute when Massachusetts was able to rebound a shot and convert it into the first goal of the game.

“I thought we played pretty well in the first half.  We were pretty optimistic going into the second half,” Barnes said. “But every time we made a couple mistakes, UMass punished us.”

After 42 seconds of play in the second half, the Minutewomen quickly dribbled the ball into the center and netted a goal into the top right corner.  The Colonials picked up their aggression defensively but Massachusetts was able to score a penalty kick goal at the 50th minute.

The Minutewomen scored their final goal at the 57th minute when they stole the ball from freshman goalkeeper Nicole Fasano which led to the final goal of the game being shot into an empty net.

“It’s really more about us then them. We need to focus on making good decisions when we have the ball,” Barnes said.

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

Junior Alex Neal heads downfield earlier in the season. Hatchet File Photo by Michael Boosalis | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Sophia Omuemu.

With 53 seconds left in the second half, freshman Kristi Abbate rocketed a shot into the net, forcing the game into overtime. But despite Abbate’s hard shot, which tied the game at one, and the ensuing extra period, the Colonials couldn’t secure the victory, ultimately falling 2-1.

It was the second loss of the weekend for GW. Friday, the Colonials dropped a 1-0 game  against A-10 leader La Salle despite freshman goalkeeper Nicole Fasano tallying 10 saves.

Both losses taught the Colonials an important lesson about maintaining their attack on the pitch, head coach Sarah Barnes said.

“We’re going to continue thinking about creating opportunities and finishing,” Barnes said. “Those are important aspects and they’ll be really important going forward in these last conference games.”

Within the first 20 minutes of Friday’s game, it was apparent that the Explorers came ready to shoot the ball, quickly attempting seven shots while Colonials had zero. After 45 minutes of play, La Salle ended the half with 18 shots compared to GW’s two.

But Barnes said the Colonials expected that style of performance from La Salle, and in preparation for the game, GW familiarized itself with the Explorers’ quick style of play. Barnes knew that La Salle would bring a physical, high-pressure approach to the field, and in order to rebut that, GW needed to keep the ball in their half for most of the game.

“They played a pretty frantic pace and we needed to keep the ball,” Barnes said. “We chased a lot but we created good chances.”

GW’s first shot attempt of the game came in the 39th minute, when freshman midfielder Brooke Bean headed an unsuccessful shot towards the goal. Ultimately, the ball was mainly on the Colonials’ defensive end, forcing Fasano to tally eight saves during the first half.

After battling through 72 minutes of play, the Explorers set up a corner kick and volleyed the ball towards the net. Fasano fumbled with the ball, which lead to the lone goal of the game.

“I thought we played well. I thought we played with our chances. You’ve got to roll with the punches,” Barnes said. “We have to be more efficient.”

GW headed to Fordham Sunday prepared to play against the Rams’ uncommon 3-5-2 formation on the pitch, an approach that isn’t seen across the rest of the A-10. In order to combat that, Barnes said, the Colonials’ wanted to “play forward aggressively,” focusing on getting the ball down the field and maintaining solid possession throughout play.

The Colonials started the half off strong with three shot attempts from freshman Amanda Gaggioli, junior Alex Neal, and senior Kayley Sullivan within the first three minutes of play. GW ended the half with eight shots, while the Rams had seven. But at the 56thminute of the second half, the Rams fired the ball from 35 yards out to the top right corner of the goal to nab the first slot on the scoreboard.

“We had several quality chances in the first half. We went one on one with the goalkeeper,” Barnes said. “We were really confident going into the second half.”

Taking the field after the break, GW hoped to pull ahead and earn its first conference victory. The Colonials’ momentum was still high when Abbate dribbled through the Rams defense and shot the ball to the upper right corner of the net, tying the game 1-1.

Both teams entered into overtime battling for a goal, but Fordham scored the final tally of the game at the 96thminute. It was the second OT contest for the Colonials this season, who fell to 0-5-0 in conference play.

 

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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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Senior forward Adriana Moya battles for the ball against a Bryant opponent during a match last season. | Hatchet File Photo

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jake Deitcher.

The weekend’s record was split for the Colonials, but head coach Sarah Barnes sees both the victory and the loss as proof of a team that grows stronger with each passing contest.

“They believe they can win games and have a clear understanding of when they play well and why,” Barnes said in an email. “We should feel very confident in our ability to continue to improve and get results.”

The Colonials (3-3) entered the weekend riding a two-match win streak, opening with a game against Towson where GW controlled the tempo of play early. After sophomore forward Meg Murphy saw three shots blocked in the first 17 minutes of play, senior midfield Adriana Moya was finally able to break through the defense, heading a pass past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

At the beginning of the second half, Towson responded with a long punt from their goalkeeper that threaded through GW’s lines, setting up a goal. Freshman midfielder Kristi Abbate rose to the occasion, putting the Colonials on top again with a goal in the 65th minute, the deciding tally in the 2-1 victory.

“We showed that multiple people can step up and score goals, that we have the ability to come from behind and weather the storm defensively when opposing teams put us under pressure,” Barnes said.

But GW couldn’t ride its win streak into the final contest of the weekend, battling Rider Sunday in a hard-fought match that pitted two defensive-oriented teams against each other.

Rider broke a 0-0 tie in the 62 minute by converting a free kick, and though GW outshot Rider 13 shots to 7, the Colonials could muster only two shots on goal. Despite the loss, Barnes said her team’s fight throughout the game showed its ability to withstand pressure and continue to grow.

The Colonials remain encouraged by their record, but are also confident that they are better than their win-loss total suggests. The games leading up to conference play are important for the Colonials, because they have many new players who are still adjusting to the team. Each player is earning valuable experience playing against tough competition and playing together as a team.

“We obviously want to win as much as possible. Each game we are getting better and everything is gelling for us right now,” Moya said “We will move forward as a team and continue to improve. We really do like where we are as a team right now.”

The Colonials play an away match against Liberty Friday before beginning a five-match home stand that features matches against local rivals Howard and American and that will also mark the beginning of Atlantic 10 conference play.

 

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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Jake Deitcher.

Junior midfielder Alex Neal is the Atlantic 10 Women’s Soccer Player of the Week after leading the Colonials to two victories over the weekend.

The Colonials (2-2) prevailed 1-0 against Columbia with Neal’s second-half goal serving as the deciding tally in the game. It was Neal’s first goal of the season, and led to GW’s first victory of the season and new head coach Sarah Barnes’ first victory with the Colonials.

Neal followed her performance against Columbia with strong play against Cornell. The Colonials were deadlocked with their opponents at one, until Neal dribbled through the Big Red defense and drilled a shot past the opposing goalkeeper. GW defeated Cornell 3-2 to cap off a successful holiday weekend homestand, and Neal’s two goals over the weekend matched her entire goal total for the 2011 season.

Neal and the rest of the Colonials will work to extend their two-match win streak Friday, when they face Towson to kick off the Navy Invitational.

 

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women's crew, rowing

Twenty members of the woman's rowing team made the A-10 commissioner's honor role this spring. Students had to earn a 3.5 GPA in the spring 2012 semester. File Photo

The Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the spring 2012 semester contains 89 GW student-athletes, the league announced today.

Every University program sponsored by the A-10 is represented on the list. To be eligible for the honor roll, a student-athlete must compete in a conference-sponsored sport and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale for the semester.

“In what was a banner year in terms of championships for GW Aahletics, we’re equally as proud that all of our 16 A-10 programs and 89 student-athletes were recognized on the commissioner’s honor holl,” Associate Athletic Director for Educational Support Services Karen Ercole said in a statement. “These 89 student-athletes proved to be extremely committed both in competition and in the classroom, characteristics that are paramount to the success of GW athletics and the George Washington University.”

The women’s rowing team, which earned a berth in the A-10 championship last season, led all University programs with 20 members named to the honor roll. The women’s soccer team was next, with 10, followed by the men’s soccer team, with seven. The women’s basketball team saw four players named to the honor roll, the men’s basketball team had two.

A combined 1,369 student-athletes were named to the list, the most during current A-10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade’s tenure. GW was one of seven member institutions to have all of its league-sponsored programs represented on the honor roll.

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President Steven Knapp, men's basketball, locker room, pep

President Knapp speaks to the men's basketball team before a home game. Hatchet File Photo

University President Steven Knapp is the chair of the Atlantic 10 Conference Council of Presidents for the 2012-13 season, chosen at the group’s annual spring meetings this week.

Knapp will replace outgoing chair Xavier President Rev. Michael Graham, and was selected by the group, comprised of the leaders of each university represented in the A-10. Knapp is responsible for the oversight of the council’s business meetings next year.

The council also completed various tasks in its spring meeting, chief among them beginning procedures to officially bring Butler and VCU into the conference July 1. The league’s 2012-13 operating budget was approved, and the council also established a conference-wide men’s basketball sportsmanship pre-game protocol.

The council also made changes to league schedules and championship formats. The championship field in men’s and women’s soccer was expanded to eight teams each and the field for the baseball championship to a seven-team tournament. Echoing the change made to the men’s basketball schedules, the council also announced that the conference schedule for women’s basketball will increase from 14 to 16 games beginning with the 2013-14 season.

Lastly, the council adopted a policy that would make a program ineligible for Atlantic 10 championships if that school was ineligible for NCAA Championship participation due to Academic Progress Rate penalties.

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