WOMEN'S SOCCER | Baylor Next Obstacle On Road to California
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 22:11
For the second straight weekend, the Georgetown women’s soccer team (16-3-3, 8-1-1 Big East) takes to the road in a do-or-die situation.
Following an overtime victory in Virginia last weekend, Georgetown must travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on Baylor, the third seed in the Blue and Gray’s region.
The Bears (18-1-4, 5-0-3 Big 12) have been undefeated in 19 games since falling at Long Beach State in overtime on Aug. 26, claiming a Big 12 Championship along the way. Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan, however, isn’t intimidated by the streak, and he doesn’t think his players should be either.
“I’ve looked at who they’ve played, and I don’t see any significant wins on their schedule,” Nolan said. “I don’t look at it as a team where I am like, ‘Oh, how are we going to beat this team?’ I’m more worried about their style of play and how we’re going to deal with it.”
Contrary to the patient, precise build-up play the Hoyas faced against the Hokies, the Bears push the attack into the opposing box and hope to capitalize on set pieces — off of which Baylor scored twice in a 3-1 opening-round victory over Arizona State.
“They put everything in on top of the goalkeeper,” Nolan said. “And they have a couple of big kids.”
The Blue and Gray had difficulty on set pieces in a 6-0 early season loss to Stanford, while Virginia Tech scored off of a missed assignment on a header last weekend.
Still, Nolan is confident those miscues are the exception rather than the rule.
“It gets harder when you start to play against the tougher teams because the delivery of the set pieces is better and the quality of the players in the box is better,” Nolan said. “But I feel pretty comfortable that we’ve defended set pieces well all year. It won’t be easy, but I feel that we can deal with what they throw at us.”
Baylor’s biggest individual threat will likely be senior forward Dana Larsen, who leads the team with 10 goals and nine assists while starting 22 of the team’s 23 games.
“She’s a very good player — she’s a tricky [one on one] player, she has a great shot and she plays out wide,” Nolan said. “We’ll have to figure out how to defend her individually and try and get some help around her.”
Nolan knows the extra attention that the Hoyas give Larsen will be reciprocated toward their own offensive star, sophomore midfielder Daphne Corboz — who led the Big East with 17 goals and 42 points this year — and junior forward Kaitlin Brenn.
“I think [Corboz] has started to figure out a little better how to deal with the special attention,” Nolan said. “But we’re not just a one-man or a two-man team.”
As the season has progressed, Georgetown has gotten more consistent scoring from junior forward Colleen Dinn and freshman forward Sarah Adams, who notched the winner against the Hokies.
Additionally, players like freshman midfielder Marina Paul and junior defender Mary Kroening have contributed on set pieces, while sophomore forwards Jessica Clinton and Audra Ayotte have brought energy and creativity off the bench.
“Anytime you can get balanced scoring, it makes things better,” Nolan said. “We do need to stretch the field, and we do need to have a balanced attack against [Baylor].”
While the Hoyas take pride in this year’s defense — which hasn’t allowed more than one goal in 13 straight games — last weekend’s 3-2 overtime win was proof that the Blue and Gray can win games in multiple ways.
“For the sake of my physical health and well-being, I would rather win [the game] 1-0, but if we’ve got to win it, 5-4, that means we’ve got to win it, 5-4,” Nolan said. “I think it’s going to be difficult to defend against Baylor, but the good thing is you know what’s coming — you’ve just got to stop it. We’ll see if we can stand up to the fight.”
Georgetown takes on Baylor in Chapel Hill, N.C., today at 4 p.m. The winner will face either Illinois or No. 2 seed North Carolina on Sunday.