By Eric KimHoya Staff Writer

Opening on the road at the third annual Boilermaker Challenge Cup in West Lafayette, Ind., the Georgetown women’s soccer team split its first two games of the season. After losing a very physical game to host Purdue 3-1 on Aug. 31, Georgetown recovered to best Miami University 2-1 in the consolation game Sunday.

“It was a good result on the road,” Head Coach Diane Drake said. “Splitting the weekend is what I would expect.”

Freshman forwards Casey McCann and Lauren Eyler, as well as freshman defender Elizabeth Roberti, took little time to get adjusted to the college game, altogether contributing two goals and three assists in the two contests.

Georgetown took advantage of Miami’s defense early, getting two goals in the first half of the consolation game. Sophomore midfielder Alyssa Conlow notched her first goal of the season with Roberti on the assist, making it 1-0. Later in the half, Roberti and fellow freshman Eyler assisted on McCann’s first goal of the season, extending the team’s lead to two.

“We played brilliantly in the first half,” Drake said.

The Hoyas looked like a different team in the second half as the Red Hawks stormed the ball on offense and kept Georgetown on its heels. Miami struck back with a goal from forward Brooke Paul only four minutes into the second half.

“In the second half, we lost pressure from our midfielders and the defense could not clear the ball,” Drake said. “We panicked when we didn’t need to.”

Georgetown held on long enough to close out the game with the one-goal lead.

In their first game of the year, the Hoyas faced off against Big Ten team Purdue in an intense matchup that featured 37 total fouls and a couple of controversial official’s calls.

“Purdue likes to run at teams, and they kept flooding new players into the game,” Drake said. “They definitely disrupted us with their pressure.”

Playing in front of its largest home crowd ever, Purdue quickly capitalized on the advantage. Early into the first half, Annette Kent put the Boilermakers on the board with a goal from the top left of the 18-yard box. After holding the one-goal lead into halftime they struck again, this time with a goal from freshman Lauren Sesselmann.

However, the Hoyas would not go down quietly, notching their first goal with less than 20 minutes remaining in the contest. Junior forward Karin Ostrander found Eyler, who scored her first collegiate goal. Riding on the momentum of the goal, Georgetown attacked Purdue’s defense and tried to establish a rhythm. Unfortunately, a controversial official’s call would spell the end for Georgetown’s rediscovered energy.

“It was 2-1 and momentum had swung in our favor,” Drake said. “There was a ridiculous call where Purdue got a direct kick on our side of the field, when we should have gotten the direct kick.”

Purdue’s direct kick led directly to a back-breaking third goal at the 78:47 mark, the second for Sesselmann in this game, and put the game out of reach.

Frustrations boiled over toward the end of the match-up as Hoya sophomore forward Courtney Shaub and Assistant Coach Dave Nolan received red cards for arguing with officials. Shaub was punched in the back of the head by a Purdue player but was thrown out for arguing with the referee.

“It was a mentally draining game and it was like [Purdue] was playing ice hockey,” Drake said.

Despite the controversial opening loss, Drake believes that this year’s squad is much better than last year’s team. For the first time in Georgetown history, the women’s soccer team fields a nationally ranked recruiting class. The Hoyas’ freshmen, who were ranked 37th out of 300 Division I schools and sixth in the Mid-Atlantic region, have already made an impact in the team’s first two games. Freshman midfielder Nicole DePalma, as well as Eyler and Roberti, have started in both games.

Another newcomer is Shaub, a transfer who had five goals with Arkansas last year, and displayed her offensive skills during a great preseason for Georgetown.

In two preseason games, the Hoyas disposed of George Mason 4-1 and tied 1-1 with William and Mary, the 15th-ranked team in the nation.

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