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George Washington women’s soccer posts undefeated A-10 season

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WASHINGTON (Via George Washington University) – Junior MacKenzie Cowley’s third consecutive game-winner lifted the Atlantic 10 regular season champion George Washington women’s soccer team over Saint Louis, 1-0, on Senior Day on Sunday at the GW Soccer Field to wrap its regular season with a perfect, 10-0-0, conference record.

The Colonials (15-4-0, 10-0-0 A-10) have reached the 10-win mark in league play while posting a flawless conference record for the first time in program history. The squad is now tied with the 1987 team for the most wins in school history and has extended its nation-leading win streak to 13 games. Saint Louis (8-9-2, 2-6-2 A-10) saw its 2015 season conclude as the Billikens did not qualify for postseason play.

GW controlled the tempo from the start of the match as redshirt-senior Nicole Belfonti rattled off a trio of shots before the 18-minute mark as the Colonials out-shot the Billikens, 5-3, while the first half ended in a scoreless tie.

The Buff and Blue dominated the second stanza early on and nearly found the back of the net in the 58th minute as Belfonti took a header off of a corner kick by junior Lina Proska, but Saint Louis’ keeper was in the right spot to make the save.

In the 81st minute, senior Kristi Abbate dished the ball to Cowley just inside the box. Cowley then drew out the Billiken’s goalie and lofted a perfectly placed shot into the far, upper right corner to give the Colonials a 1-0 lead and the eventual game-winner.

Cowley is the first Colonial to reach the double-digit goals mark since 2003, when Kim Warner tallied 13 scores, and now ranks eighth on GW’s all-time single-season list with 10 goals in 2015.

A strong defensive performance solidified the victory for GW and secured the 12th shutout of the year. Senior Ellen Conway tallied a pair of saves on the day while posting her first solo clean sheet of the season.

The Buff and Blue out-shot Saint Louis, 9-6, led by Belfonti’s four attempts, and held the advantage in corner kicks, 4-2.

“Patience is on our list of top things that we always want to accomplish,” said Head Coach Sarah Barnes. “Today we were so good, and so disciplined to do the simplest possible things, which isn’t always easy. Our team has really grown and evolved as the season has gone on, and today was a really good example of a complete game coming together.”

Prior to the game, the Colonials honored their graduating seniors, Belfonti, Abbate, Conway, Emily Brown, Kyla Ridley and Brooke Stoller – a group that has played a large role in in the season’s success, combining for eight goals on the year while leading defensive efforts.

“Our group of seniors is so determined,” said Coach Barnes. “They are hard-working, disciplined, resilient and competitive. They want to win. Their level of play rises when the pressure rises, and they have been critical to our team and the growth of this program over the last four years.”

The Colonials will travel to Davidson, North Carolina, for the 2015 Atlantic 10 Championships, where GW will compete as the top seed and open play on Thursday against eighth-seeded George Mason at 11 a.m.

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