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Freshman midfielder Kelly D’Ambrisi

Georgetown ended its Big East regular season of play with a pair of wins this weekend, moving its record to 13-3-2 on the season, with a Big East Conference record of 8-3-0. The Hoyas’ closing wins against Cincinnati and Louisville this weekend put the Hoyas into second place in the National Division of the Big East, nine points behind the undefeated Notre Dame. The Hoyas’ second place finish earned them a spot in the Big East Tournament, as well as a bye in the first round.

The Hoyas defeated Louisville on the road 1-0 on Friday afternoon, a win that clinched their spot in the Big East Tournament.

“Louisville was a very tough game,” Head Coach Dave Nolan. “We haven’t had much success against them the past three years, and we just thought we were due. We played well enough to win the game. Overall, I felt we were better.”

Georgetown had two shots on goal in the beginning of the first half, one from senior defender Laurie Snyder that sailed over the Cardinals’ goalposts, and one from junior defender Norah Swanson that was blocked by a Louisville defender. The Hoyas had three more attempts on goal during the first half, but the offense was unable to get the team on the scoreboard.

The Georgetown defense also prevented the Cardinals from capitalizing offensively in the first half – sophomore keeper Jackie DesJardin and the rest of the Hoya defense thwarted four shots on goal from Louisville during the first 45 minutes of play, keeping the match tied going into the halftime break.

After halftime, sophomore Courtney Kent – the defender who came on as a forward to score the game winning goal last week against St. John’s – started the Georgetown offensive charge early with a header attempt on the Louisville goal. The early shot on goal was quickly followed by attempts from freshman midfielder Samantha Baker and senior midfielder Stephanie Zare. Midway through the second half, junior forward Toni Marie Hudson subbed in for Kent and orchestrated another attempt on the Louisville goal that didn’t manage to make it past the Cardinals’ goaltender. It was not until the 72nd minute that Baker succeeded in breaking down the Louisville defense to score the first goal of the game, and the freshman’s eighth of the season.

On the opposite side of the field, the Georgetown defense stopped eight attempts on goal from the Cardinals, and DesJardin racked up four more saves during the second half. The sophomore goaltender blocked six shots in total, bringing her shutout total to eight for the season. The Hoyas have shut out their opponents 10 times this season, tying the all-time record at Georgetown.

After defeating the Cardinals on the road, the Hoyas traveled to Cincinnati on Sunday for their final regular season match up. The Hoyas struggled in the first half, getting a few looks at the goal – two from Kent and one each from Zare and freshman forward Camille Trujillo – but none that found their way past the Cincinnati defense. The Georgetown defense held the Bearcats to only one shot at the Hoyas’ goal during the first half, keeping the game tied at 0-0 after the first 45 minutes.

Kent came out strong in the second half of the contest, firing off four shots on the Bearcats’ goal throughout the second half of play. Zare, Baker, Trujillo and sophomore midfielder Caitlin Durkee all added attempts of their own on the Cincinnati goalposts, but no one could find the back of the net. DesJardin made two important saves during the closing minutes of the match up to put the game into overtime. The Hoyas finally managed to push one past the Bearcats during the first overtime, when a corner kick from Baker resulted in a game-winning header into the goal from sophomore defender Michaela Buonomo.

“Cincinnati was always going to be a difficult game because they play on an artificial field, which is not great and it evens out the play. Their style is definitely an emotional, high energy, high-pressure style, which is usually where we have the most difficulty,” Nolan said. “Between the field and Cincinnati’s emotion, I knew that game was going to be difficult. We were outstanding in that game, we were clearly better, and I’m amazed the game got to overtime without us winning it.”

The Hoyas’ win pushed them ahead of Rutgers in the Big East standings and earned them a free pass to the second round of the Big East Tournament.

“We had a huge weekend,” Nolan said. “Coupled with the win against St. John’s on Tuesday, it allowed us to end our season the way we would have wanted.” The Hoyas’ second-place finish in the National Division is the highest finish in Georgetown’s history, and the Hoyas’ eight Big East wins this year is also the most in the program’s history.

Nolan remarked that he feels that a greater majority of the team has contributed to the squad’s success this year. Indeed, this past weekend, the Hoyas’ leading scorer of the season, Hudson, was injured and unable to play for most of both games. Despite that gap in the lineup, other Hoyas – namely Kent this past week – rose to the challenge and contributed huge performances of their own. Nolan said that his team’s ability to persevere and continue to exceed expectations has become a common trend this season, allowing them to put together one of the best season performances in the program’s history.

The Hoyas begin postseason play this weekend, as they take on the University of Connecticut at home on Sunday at 1 p.m.

For staff writer Hijab Shah’s take on Hoya futbol, check http://blogs.thehoya.com/paranoia/?p=365#more-365.

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