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Women’s soccer drops third straight match against GW

Eagles undone by second half goal, fall to rival

Women’s soccer drops third straight match against GW

The AU women's soccer team huddles before their match against George Washington University on Sept. 3

A well-worked second half goal by the George Washington University Colonials overshadowed a strong performance by the AU women’s soccer team Sunday, as the Eagles fell 1-0 on Reeves Field.

This was the Eagles’ third consecutive loss since defeating Virginia Military Institute in their home opener and marked the fifth time in six games the Eagles have been shutout. AU (1-5-0) applied pressure on the Colonials’ goal, forcing GW goalkeeper Miranda Horn into six saves, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

“It was probably our best performance so far [this season],” head coach Anabel Hering said. “We were able to defend well and pressure them and win the ball higher up on the field and were also able to attack and have more shots on goal than we have had in any of our games so far this season.“

AU started the off on a bad foot, as GW (1-2-1) dominated possession early in the match. The Colonials almost took the lead within 10 minutes when GW midfielder Sofia Pavon’s low driven shot was pushed onto the post by freshman goalkeeper Ryleigh Brown. Brown was making her first start for the Eagles after playing the second half in defeats against University of South Florida and Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I thought she did great,” Hering said of Brown’s performance. “We really needed a goalkeeper who could come aggressively off her line and she is the type of keeper to be able to do that. She’s quick and explosive enough to be able to close in the gap behind the three-back [defensive system] we were playing today.”

Brown agility served her well 17 minutes into the first half, after AU turned the ball over in midfield. GW forward Brittany Cooper’s pass to Alexis Williams put her one-on-one with Brown, who decisively came off her line to cut off the goal-scoring angle and smother Williams’ shot.

The Eagles’ resolute defenders prevented GW from breaking the deadlock in the first half, despite the Colonials’ four shots on goal. AU began the second half strong, using its wide midfielders to carve out several strong scoring opportunities. The Eagles’ crisp ball movement from side to side found sophomore midfielder Samm Francucci in space on the left wing early in the second half, but her shot sailed just above the crossbar.

GW finally broke the scoreless tie 10 minutes into the second half. After working the ball down the right wing, a centering cross to Pavon was played to midfielder Tuhina Dasgupta. Dasgupta fired a low cross from inside the 18 yard box, which Williams redirected into the net.

AU searched for an equalizer for the remaining half hour of the game, peppering the Colonials’ goal with shots from distance, but was unable to carve out a clear-cut scoring opportunity.

“We’re doing a good job getting to the final third, which has been a challenge in the past,” Hering said. “We’re seeing shots from outside the box and some services into the box but we need to get on the end of the services, which is something we need to work on.”

The Eagles continue their three-game homestand with a match Sept. 8 against Campbell at 4:00 pm at Reeves Field.

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