SOPHIA NUNN FOR THE HOYA | Junior forward Paula Germino-Watnick, third on the team in goals, assists and points, equalized for top-seeded Georgetown in the 70th minute against Central Connecticut State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

After a 20th-minute goal by Central Connecticut State University on Sunday at Shaw Field, the No. 1-seeded Georgetown women’s soccer team trailed 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The goal marked the sixth allowed by senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman this season and the fourth time in 21 games this year that the Hoyas (18-0-3) trailed their opponent.

In the first half, the CCSU (16-2-2) offense dominated possession, generating several scoring opportunities off passes in the box. The Blue Devils recorded three shots and three corners to the Hoyas’ three shots and five corners in the first half.

While the Hoyas created some offensive opportunities off corner kicks and crosses, their best chances came within the last few minutes of the half. In the 41st minute, a set piece into the box found senior forward Amanda Carolan’s feet, but her shot sailed over the crossbar. In the 44th minute, Georgetown sent another free kick into the box that was saved by the CCSU goalkeeper.

Head Coach Dave Nolan explained the difficulties his team faced in the first half and the players’ mindsets going into the second half trailing by one.

“This was always going to be a difficult game, playing against a confident team that was very well coached,” Nolan said in an interview with The Hoya. “The strong wind made conditions difficult for both teams, and going against it in the first half was a real challenge for us. CCSU managed a spell of pressure mostly through set pieces that unfortunately led to us giving up one. However, we have been in this position before this year, and coming out for the second half with the wind now in our favor, we felt once we got the first one, we would go on and win the game.”

Georgetown dominated possession from the start of the second half, limiting CCSU on offense and controlling the ball in the Blue Devils’ defensive half. In the 48th minute, junior forward Paula Germino-Watnick powered a cross into the box but was unable to find her teammates’ feet.

Six minutes later, the CCSU keeper saved a shot from graduate student forward Kyra Carusa. In the following minutes, sophomore midfielder Grace Nguyen sent a shot that was punched over the crossbar, and sophomore defender Kelly Ann Livingstone fired an effort wide of the net. The Hoyas continued their offensive pressure, taking 12 shots in the second half.

CCSU maintained its lead over Georgetown until the 69th minute, when Watnick scored off a  pass slotted into the box by Carusa. With the game tied 1-1, the Blue and Gray offense continued to pressure the CCSU defense until Carolan scored the go-ahead goal off a rebounded shot from senior forward Caitlin Farrell in the 77th minute.

In the 80th minute, the Hoyas drew a foul in the box, and Carusa stepped up to take the penalty. Carusa’s initial shot deflected off the left goalpost, but she capitalized on the rebound and found the back of the net. The goal gave the Hoyas a 3-1 lead and secured their victory over the Blue Devils.

Nolan said that the Hoyas’ first goal allowed them to continue pressuring the Blue Devils’ defense.

“We kept doing our thing and got our rewards with a great goal by Paula. That gave us a great lift  and deflated them, and we stepped up the pressure and got our rewards,” Nolan said. “Great to have Amanda Carolan score our second, and then Kyra finished it off with a rebound off of her own penalty kick. Now it’s onto Friday with a very tough Pac-12 opponent in Washington State.”

Georgetown retains home-field advantage in the tournament and will next face Washington State at Shaw Field at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

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