CHARLES TOWN — A season opener always means more when you’re the state champion the previous season, which likely helped George Washington’s women’s soccer team edge Washington, 1-0, on Friday night.
“For Game 1, we’re always getting closer,” Washington coach Tim Michael said. “I think they did pretty well. George Washington is one of the best teams in the state and we held on. There are things we definitely need to work on – we’ve been exposed in a few areas – but, overall, I’m happy with the way we came out and played, especially in the second half.
“Except for the goal that went in. But I couldn’t be happier.”
The first half was a display of high-quality defensive work, as both teams stood scoreless, despite a continuous attack from Washington throughout.
Mere seconds into the second half, however, GW kicked into high gear and quickly pushed the ball down the field. It looked like they would finally have room between Washington’s strong back line to get a shot, but the ball bounced off a defender and into the corner. The next corner kick also looked like GW had an open shot, but Washington’s sophomore goaltender Erica Schnable was there to stop it — another of many throughout the game.
Finally, as the clock read 29:45, Deryn Doamekpor fired a lob that sailed over Schnable and into the back left corner of the net. It was the last time either Patriots team scored, despite multiple shots on goal for both.
Asked about his thoughts on the game, GW coach Ali Sadeghian said he was happy with the game as a whole, but liked the way his side looked more in the second half.
“In the second half we had a bit more possession of the ball and (made) better decisions on how to shoot,” he said. “It worked for us, and we were lucky to have the advantage (with) the shot.”
Sadeghian, while pleased with his second-year goaltender Shelby Tharp, also praised Schnable, noting that with her in goal he was a force to be reckoned with.
Michael was also high on his keeper.
“(I see her) doing the same thing she did there,” Michael said of Schnable’s performance. “I said this last year when she was a freshman, she’s definitely one of the top three (goalies) in the state, hands down. I think she showed it right there. She still has room to grow, but we expect the same game from her; it is consistent.
Washington returns to action August 30 with a road game in Hedgesville.