Redemption doesn’t come around often, but Georgetown will have an opportunity this evening when they take on the 11th-ranked Fighting Irish in the Big East tournament quarterfinals in organtown, W.Va.

The last time these two teams met, the Hoyas were still a question mark. They entered the game with a record of 9-3, but were just 2-2 in the Big East. The Irish quickly showed why they were the class of the Big East en route to their 3-0 victory. The Hoyas enter this contest having won four of their last five games, including last Sunday’s victory at Connecticut, and with a confident swagger that was missing earlier this season.

A bevy of postseason awards will do little to keep Georgetown’s confidence in check.

Head Coach Dave Nolan was named the Big East coach of the year last night for leading the Hoyas to their best season in school history. Freshman forward Ingrid Wells is the league’s rookie of the year and was named to the league’s first team. Senior forward Sara Jordan was picked to the second team.

“This is a confident team that expects to win every time they set foot on the field,” Head Coach David Nolan said. “It’s a nice thing to have. We played well against them in the first game, we gave them moments where it was all they could handle. We’re going into the game with full confidence that we’ll give them a scrapping.”

The Hoyas will need confidence against Notre Dame, which has lost to Georgetown just once in 14 meetings. Morgantown may not be the friendliest of destinations, but the Hoyas are thrilled to play the Irish on neutral ground, away from hostile Alumni Field where they have been outscored 49-2.

“The past two times we played them at home were 1-0 games, but when we go out [to South Bend] we seem to get dominated, with the exception of this year. So not playing on their home field will definitely be to our advantage,” senior forward Elaina Filauro said.

The Irish will be led by preseason Big East offensive player of the year junior forward Kerri Hanks, who enters the contest with 12 goals and 14 assists. Joining her will be up front will be junior forward Brittany Bock, who scored two goals last month against Georgetown.

The game plan for Georgetown should be similar to last month when they sat back and tried to slow down the Irish, hoping to take advantage of counterattack opportunities. By sitting back the Hoyas will be able to stretch the game out and avoid letting the quick Notre Dame offense gain momentum.

Georgetown’s back line of senior defender Karen Waskewich, junior defenders Alex Gargano and Nicole Smith, and freshman defender Michaela Buonomo will be called upon to lock in Hanks and Bock. After a 4-2 victory over Pittsburgh, during an October weekend when they gave up seven goals in two games, Nolan challenged his defense. They responded in a big way and have been superb in the last four games, allowing just one goal, which came in extra time versus Louisville.

“Since that West Virginia-Pitt weekend, we’ve only allowed that one goal in overtime,” Nolan said. “If we can defend like we have for the last three weeks, we definitely have a chance to do something.”

Senior goalkeeper Jade Higgins appears to be back at 100 percent from a shoulder injury that sidelined her earlier in the season. She has recorded two shutouts in her last three games, increasing her career total to 20 clean sheets.

The Hoyas offense will revolve as usual around freshman forward Ingrid Wells. Wells, who has six goals and 13 assists this season, will never be far from an Irish defender. For the past three weeks every team has man-marked Wells, positioning a defender on her at all times. Notre Dame junior defender Carrie Dew, the preseason Big East defensive player of the year choice, will most likely be charged with that job. The 5-foot-9 junior will use her size to push Wells off the ball and limit her touches. The weight of the offense will fall on Filauro and senior forward Sara Jordan, who will need to create chances if Georgetown has any chance to win.

“We need to take advantage if we get opportunities in front of the goal because you don’t get a lot of those opportunities against Notre Dame,” Filauro said.

After the win last Sunday, the Hoyas seem to be a guarantee to reach their first NCAA tournament berth in the history of the program. With that and their underdog status, the team does not feel any pressure going into this game.

“Right now for our program, we’re in uncharted waters, we’ve never been here,” Nolan said of his team’s success this year. “Not many people gave us a chance, but the kids did and they believed in it. We’re a confident team.”

Game time is set for 5 p.m. at Dlesk Soccer Stadium in organtown, W.Va.

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