JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA Senior goalkeeper Emma Newins earned a clean sheet versus GWU.
JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA
Senior goalkeeper Emma Newins earned a clean sheet versus GWU.

The Georgetown women’s soccer team (4-2-2) ground out two results this weekend, drawing 1-1 at No. 22 West Virginia on Friday night and beating George Washington 1-0 in overtime on Sunday.

These two gritty performances came on the heels of the Hoyas’ first two losses of the season, and the team is rebounding at a good time: just one match away from the beginning of the Big East conference schedule.

Senior forward Vanessa Skrumbis scored from outside the box in the 24th minute of the West Virginia match, but the Mountaineers equalized within three minutes, ending the game at 1-1.

Despite losing senior forward Jessica Clinton and junior defender Neela Mohan to injury, Head Coach Dave Nolan was happy with the way the team played in a tough Morgantown environment.

“It was a great performance. I thought the girls really gritted out a tough performance. If you were to look at the stats, you’d be under the impression that they battered us,” Nolan said. “But I think on chances created, they created six chances [Senior goalkeeper Emma Newins] made three outstanding saves for us, and we created four chances. Their goalkeeper made two great saves for them, especially one in overtime, where we should have won it. But I think it would have been a little bit unfair to West Virginia, for the amount of pressure they had on us, if they had lost it.”

Newins’ saves were enough to earn her Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors. It is the first time that she has won the award, although the conference has recognized her with other honors previously.

After a tough opening stretch to the season that featured many difficult away games, the Hoyas came home to Shaw Field on Sunday to beat a strong GWU team in the District derby.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game. George Washington is a good team, and they’re a very well-coached team,” Nolan said. “And those kids are super motivated to play us. We’re the big game on their schedule every year, and the last three years we’ve played them, every year they’ve gotten better… . And today, it was tough for us to break them down. And I told the kids it was either going to take a moment of good fortune or a moment of genius, and I think we got a little bit of both for the winning goal.”

During a scramble in front of the goal, junior forward Crystal Thomas tallied the winning goal after maintaining an impressive show of speed throughout the game; senior forward Audra Ayotte had the assist.

JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA Senior forward Vanessa Skrumbis scored in the 24th minute of the match against the West Virginia Mountaineers in Friday’s 1-1 draw. Skrumbis and the Hoyas then handed George Washington a 1-0 overtime loss Sunday.
JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA
Senior forward Vanessa Skrumbis scored in the 24th minute of the match against the West Virginia Mountaineers in Friday’s 1-1 draw. Skrumbis and the Hoyas then handed George Washington a 1-0 overtime loss Sunday.

“We got the ball toward the middle of the field,” Thomas said. “Somebody played Audra a high ball, and she just flicked it on to me. It was a perfect flick, I just ran on to it. And the goalie and the girl and I just kind of fell together, and then I kicked the ball in.”

Although the Hoyas had the majority of the chances and the overall better quality, the Colonials fought hard to create opportunities, forcing junior midfielder Marina Paul into three crucial last-ditch tackles over the course of the game.

“I thought [freshman defender] Drew Topor did a very good job,” Nolan said. “They had a couple of kids up front that are a handful, [that] have got some pace, so you always have to be wary of them. I thought our two centerbacks, Marina and Drew, did very well. We’re a little bit banged up right now, missing a couple of defenders, and I think that hurt us with the shape of what we were trying to do.”

Ayotte shined as well, menacing Colonial defenders up and down the left side and showing her strength on the ball in addition to notching the game-winning assist.

“It’s been hard for Audra,” Nolan said. “When you have the season-ending injury she had last November, that’s an injury that maybe physically you can recover from in six to eight months, but to get your game sharpness back — the last 5 percent of explosiveness — is what takes the longest to get. So each game, she’s getting a little bit sharper.”

After a weekend of fighting for two solid results, the Hoyas have until Sunday’s 1 p.m. home game against Duquesne University to rest their legs.

“I thought the team did really well, especially after playing double overtime on Friday night,” Ayotte said. “I thought everyone came out and gave a great effort. So, definitely to get a win today was big for us, especially in overtime when everyone’s legs were tired. And to see the goal go in the back of the net was such a relief. I was like, ‘Thank God, I can get some water now.’”

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