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George Washington women capture first A-10 regular season title

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KINGSTON, R.I. (Via George Washington University) – The George Washington women’s soccer team won its first Atlantic 10 regular season title since 1995 on Thursday evening with a 2-1, double-overtime victory at Rhode Island on junior MacKenzie Cowley’s golden goal in the 107th minute.

The Colonials (14-4-0, 9-0-0 A-10) tied the program mark for most conference triumphs with their ninth A-10 victory, while extending their nation-leading win streak to 12 games. Rhode Island (3-14-1, 0-9-0 A-10) put the pressure on GW, but the Colonials ultimately prevailed to clinch the top seed in the 2015 Atlantic 10 Championships.

In a back-and-forth first half, senior keeper Ellen Conway tallied four saves as the Colonials fired a pair of shots on goal but were unable to convert.

The second half was much of the same until the 79th minute when redshirt senior Nicole Belfonti drove the ball down the left wing and fired a shot into the top right corner of the net from seven yards out to put the Colonials up, 1-0. The score marked Belfonti’s fourth of the season.

With just 2:09 left in regulation, Rhode Island’s Ari Stan converted a head flick from Emily Wakeford to knot the game at 1-1. Neither team would break the tie before the second half expired, sending the match into overtime.

The Colonials controlled the ball for most of the first extra period but were unable to clinch the match until the second overtime, when senior Kristi Abbate set up Cowley for a header in front of the goal in the 107th minute. Cowley was able to sneak the ball passed the Rams’ keeper to end the contest in favor of GW, 2-1, with her ninth goal of the season.

The victory solidified the A-10 regular season title and the top seed at the conference championships for the Buff and Blue. The Colonials are just one win away from tying the program mark of 15 triumphs set by the 1987 squad.

“Our success and this regular season title has really come from the commitment from the athletics department to improve our programs and really giving us the tools to be competitive,” said head coach Sarah Barnes. “We’re certainly excited to head into the conference championships at the top spot, but we know that any A-10 team can win on any given day. We have been able to build confidence knowing that we have been able to find ways to win, and we’re just focused on being consistent with our play.”

GW will wrap the regular season on Sunday as the Colonials host Saint Louis on Senior Day at the GW Soccer Field on the Mount Vernon Campus at 1 p.m.

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