Although she might not get as much attention as some of her teammates, sophomore midfielder Kelly D’Ambrisi is making it impossible for opponents to overlook her this year.

D’Ambrisi has accumulated 15 points, which is good for fifth-most on the team. But perhaps even more impressive than those numbers is her flair for the dramatic. D’Ambrisi leads the team with three game-winning goals – most notably a strike against Providence a few weeks ago that gave the Hoyas a double-overtime victory and three critical points in the Big East.

As she is one of the keys to a potent Georgetown attack that is second in the conference in goals and first in assists, Head Coach Dave Nolan understands the difficulty of D’Ambrisi’s role. Nolan is especially impressed with D’Ambrisi’s progression since the beginning of last year; she has grown from a young, tentative player into a veteran who he wants to have the ball when his team needs a goal.

“I think it’s taken her a while to figure out how good she actually is – and with that then comes a reluctance to take over games,” Nolan said. “When the game is on the line, [D’Ambrisi] is someone you want with the ball at her feet.”

Both D’Ambrisi and Nolan point to her success last year as an important part of the player she has become. With redshirt sophomore midfielder [Ingrid Wells](http://www.thehoya.com/sports/following-stint-national-team-wells-readjusts-collegiate-game/) away playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team duty, there was a gaping hole in the midfield into which D’Ambrisi stepped, starting all 17 games for the Blue and Gray in 2008.

“Last year I had a great opportunity to come and start right away,” D’Ambrisi reflected. “I had huge shoes to fill with Ingrid being away at the World Cup, [but] it’s a good thing I got that experience behind me.”

Nolan agrees that starting – and being successful – last year went a long way toward making D’Ambrisi confident enough to assert herself on a team that includes a World Cup winner (Wells) and Georgetown’s all-time leading scorer ([graduate student forward Sara Jordan](http://www.thehoya.com/sports/last-year-eligibility-jordan-aims-make-most-opportunity/)).

“It was great last year, because [D’Ambrisi] was able to come in and just play and make her own identity and show everyone what a good player she was,” Nolan said. “She’s just a wonderful talent. . She can [dribble] with her head up, which is huge. A lot of players cannot run – even at the top level – with the ball at their feet, keeping their head up.”

D’Ambrisi is quick to attribute her dribbling prowess and ability to pick her way through opposing defenses to Nolan’s tutelage.

“Being able to take players on and run at them with my head up, looking to slot balls through, I didn’t really do that in high school,” D’Ambrisi said. “It basically came with [Nolan] forcing it on me, telling me to do it every time I would get the ball. . I did play the same position in high school, but I didn’t play it the same way as I do now.”

As impressive as D’Ambrisi’s array of offensive skills are, she is also making her mark defensively for the Hoyas, who have been laboring a bit on that side of the ball after logging seven shutouts in their first eight games. This past Sunday against West Virginia, D’Ambrisi was matched up against Mountaineer senior midfielder Carolyn Blank, who Nolan describes as “one of the best players in the conference,” and held her own.

“Offensively and defensively, I thought Kelly kept [Blank] out of the game,” Nolan said.

Despite the offensive fireworks and game-winning goals that D’Ambrisi has been a part of, she also points to the West Virginia game as her best effort of the year, despite not making it onto the score sheet.

“The best game for me this season was definitely the one on Sunday, the West Virginia game,” D’Ambrisi said. “I tried my best to shut [Blank] down, and I did good things offensively too, so it worked out on both sides of the ball.”

As Georgetown nears the end of its regular season and D’Ambrisi gets farther away from a quad injury that limited her playing time earlier in the year, the Hoyas look forward to carrying their current momentum into the postseason. Like the rest of the team, D’Ambrisi is focused on making the NCAA tournament after narrowly missing out last year.

“It would be huge for us [to make the tournament],” D’Ambrisi said. “Last year we came so close. If we win this weekend and perform in the tournament, that should give us a pretty good chance.”

As uncertain as the Hoyas’ NCAA bid is, one thing is certain – Georgetown’s opponents like their chances of winning the midfield less and less with each passing week.”

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