The Collegian
Monday, May 20, 2024

Spiders Fall to George Mason in A-10 Conference Matchup

<p>Sophomore midfielder Kiley Fitzgerald during game against George Mason at home Thursday, Sept. 21. Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics.&nbsp;</p>

Sophomore midfielder Kiley Fitzgerald during game against George Mason at home Thursday, Sept. 21. Photo courtesy of Richmond Athletics. 

The University of Richmond women’s soccer team sought to secure its first conference win in three games in a matchup against George Mason University on Sept. 21, though fell just short in a 1-0 loss.

The pace of the game was dictated early on by the Spiders, whose potent offensive pressure forced the Patriots to develop from deep within their own side. While both sides found channels to effectively move the ball, it was a focused UR counterattack that made the difference. Within the first 20 minutes, GMU recorded no on-target shots, while UR launched four of its own on frame. In multiple instances, GMU’s defensive miscues caused by the Spiders’ high offensive line necessitated multiple saves from their goalkeeper.

The game began to grow more competitive as it progressed, and just four minutes after nearly breaking through themselves, the Spiders conceded what would be the only goal of the match in the 24th minute. 

On the heels of a goal-line clearance by the Patriots’ defense, GMU quickly flipped the field on the Spiders, culminating in a ground ball swept across the face of the goal where a crashing GMU forward struck the back of the net.

The first half closed out with the Spiders once again dominating control of the ball, driving a handful more shots to the net to no avail. In the final play before halftime, however, it was GMU who threatened to go up 2-0, as senior goalkeeper Taylor Montague had to rush the top of the 18-yard box to break up an oncoming Patriots attack.

The Spiders opened the second half continuing to work at the GMU defensive line with the same fervor that granted them an 8-4 first-half shot advantage. Though tallying seven more shots, UR could not beat GMU’s goalkeeper, who made several catches to keep the Spiders off the board. 

Once again, the Patriot's offensive prowess shined through when given the opportunity. After a shot by graduate midfielder Caitlin Sutton floated wide, a GMU attack down the right side on the ensuing goal kick created a one-on-one opportunity between the Patriots forward and Montague. Though not able to corral the ball, Montague challenged the attack enough for the shot to be sent just wide of the far post.

Despite recording four times as many shots on target as GMU – 8 to the Patriots’ 2 – time eventually ran out on the Spiders, dropping them to 0-3-0 in conference play, and 2-6-3 overall. GMU, meanwhile, picked up its first win on the season, breaking a 10-game losing streak.

“The big thing for us right now is to try and remain confident and positive, which is tough,” UR Head Coach Adam Denton said after the loss. “The last two games especially, we should have something to show for them, and we don’t. We’ve just got to keep working. If we can do that, we can turn the corner and get on the board.”

The Spiders’ fourth consecutive conference game is slated for 1 p.m. Sept. 24th, at La Salle University.

Contact sports writer Scott Valentine at scott.valentine@richmond.edu. 

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