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Junior forward Toni Marie Hudson leads the team with 10 goals in the season so far.

After suffering its first loss of the season last weekend against Notre Dame, Georgetown will look to add a few more wins to its record as they continue Big East play this weekend. Having already defeated DePaul and Syracuse, the Hoyas will look to build up on their winning momentum as they face West Virginia this Friday and Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The Blue and Gray (10-1-2, 5-1 Big East) struggled in the first half against the Orange, but made up for their lackluster performance coming on the field after halftime, banging in three goals over the course of the period to take the game away from Syracuse’s reach.

Junior forward Toni Marie Hudson was the main proponent in all three Hoya goals – Hudson headed the first one in just a minute into the second half off a throw-in. She was in the fray again 10 minutes later, crossing a ball in that found the back of the net thanks to an own goal, putting the Hoyas up 2-0. The final goal for the Blue and Gray and for Hudson came off an assist by Caitlin Durkee. Although the Orange did manage to pull one back in the 85th minute, it was too little too late.

And it will be this winning streak the Blue and Gray will be hoping to continue in the upcoming match against West Virginia. The Mountaineers have compiled an 8-2-5 (3-1-3 Big East) record thus far this season and are ranked right behind Georgetown at 17th in the nation. The Mountaineers are also the defending Big East champions, having come out on top in the conference in both the regular season and in the postseason tournament. The squad also advanced all the way to the Elite Eight in last year’s NCAA tournament. Coming off of that impressive season, the team – headed by Nikki Izzo-Brown in her 13th season as head coach – has a lot to prove this year.

“West Virginia is obviously a very good team,” Hoya Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “They proved that when they dismantled a very good UVA team earlier this month.”

The Mountaineers are returning eight seniors this season, including three all-American selections. The all-American players have all aspects of the field covered: Greer Barnes on the defensive backline, Amanda Cicchini at midfield and Deana Everrett at forward. The team also has deepened its lineup with the addition of several new freshman prospects.

Izzo-Brown is known for placing a great deal of emphasis on defense. Anchoring the Mountaineer defense this year are goalies Kerri Butler and Mallory Beck, both of whom saw playing time last year and are looking to continue to strengthen the Mountaineer defense.

Nolan also commented on the work ethic of the West Virginia squad, calling them the “hardest-working team in the country.” Nolan says he views the Mountaineers as a prime example of a strong program that never seems to rebuild, only reload the team’s talent year after year. However, the Mountaineers know it’ll be tough to top the huge successes of last season this year.

“Right now, probably the first time since I’ve been here, Nikki’s talking up her team as almost the underdog in this game, which is always what those kids needs to hear,” Nolan said. “So I know they’ll be ready to go. . They’ll probably consider us a big scalp and I know we’re going to get their best effort.”

After facing off against West Virginia, the Hoyas will head to Pittsburgh to take on the 5-10-0 (2-5 Big East) Panthers. While Pittsburgh’s win-loss record may not be quite on the same level as that of Georgetown or West Virginia’s, Nolan is wary of the squad.

“Pitt is a dangerous team to play right now,” he said. “They’re scrapping on their side of the division to get points to make the tournament. They’ll have to be looking at the two home games this weekend – against us and Villanova – to get some points.”

The Panthers are returning seven starters this season, including last year’s leading scorer Ashley Habbel. But Nolan and the rest of the Hoyas are less worried about the Pittsburgh attack as they are about their opponent’s playing field. “My bigger worry going out there is the condition of the field,” Nolan said. “It’s not a very good playing field, and right now we’re hearing horror stories about it.”

Nolan said that he is concerned that the Pittsburgh field will nullify the talent on both teams and tip the scales in favor of the team that is more physical.

“It’s a tough weekend for us,” Nolan said. “If we could come away with two wins this weekend, I would feel that we could solidify ourselves as an NCAA team, but it’ll be very difficult.”

The Hoyas will not only have to contend with fired-up opponents this weekend, but also with a schedule that has become increasingly difficult. The Hoyas had to postpone two games a fortnight ago as a result of the Norovirus outbreak, but have already made up one game and will have another game to play on Tuesday.

Georgetown came away with a win against Syracuse on Tuesday, but Nolan knows it will only become tougher for his squad to remain energized as they are forced to play multiple games in the span of five days.

The Hoyas will kick off another three-game Big East weekend this Friday in West Virginia.

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