WASHINGTON – A firm first-half header from senior forward MacKenzie Cowley extended George Washington’s perfect start to the season Thursday as the Colonials beat the University of Maryland, Baltimore County by 1-0 at GW Soccer Field.
Cowley’s goal lifted the defending Atlantic 10 Conference regular season champions to 4-0 in non-conference play and maintained her record of scoring in every game this year.
It was a comfortable win for the Colonials if not completely convincing. Senior midfielder Lina Proska found her passage range early in the game to conduct proceedings with Olivia Di Cristofaro taking advantage of UMBC’s narrow defensive shape to exploit space on the left wing.
Di Cristofaro supplied the cross on 30 minutes that Cowley met perfectly to power a downward header inside UMBC goalkeeper Leah Roth’s right post. The pair almost combined again two minutes before halftime when Cowley’s give-and-go with Brittany Cooper gave her space to drive in a cross from the right side that narrowly escaped Di Cristofaro’s reach.
Cowley almost doubled the Colonials’ lead on 56 minutes when right-back Kate Elson marauded forward before cutting the ball back across the 6-yard box. Cowley met the ball on the swivel with a rasping drive that walloped the center of the crossbar.
Elson’s dazzling charges became a feature of the second half as GWU pushed to finish the contest. Roth denied Dani Frese with a kick save after the sophomore defender broke clear on a long clearance, and Cooper was unable to find the target when the visiting goalkeeper spilled a dangerous outswinging cross by substitute Mia Barreda.
Roth pulled out a good save in the closing minutes to foil Cowley after Proska tricked her way around UMBC’s right side.
The Retrievers’ best spell came late in the first half. Jessica Hopkins took advantage of a defensive slip to sneak in behind GWU’s back line before firing a weak shot at goalkeeper Miranda Horn. Colonials defender Brooke Bean made an excellent block on Hopkins a minute later to prevent the UMBC substitute from getting off a clean strike from the edge of the penalty area.
GWU’s winning streak in regular season games now stands at 17. The girls will look to extend that Sunday afternoon when Arkansas visits the nation’s capital.
George Washington (4-4-2): Miranda Horn – Dani Frese, Brooke Bean, Megan McCormick, Kate Elson – Olivia Di Cristofaro, Ivana Szwejkowski, Lina Proska, Charley Prevost – Brittany Cooper, MacKenzie Cowley
UMBC (4-3-3): Leah Roth – Marissa O’Connor, Skyler Mackey, Sydney Donovan, Shannon Phillips – Rayven Conner, Nikki Saad, Jenna Denis – Dee Morris, Jamie Shiflett, Alexa Quaranta