WOMEN'S SOCCER | Georgetown Two Wins Away From Title
Published: Friday, November 2, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 23:11
The No. 13 Georgetown women’s soccer team already has the Big East regular season title under its belt. Now, the Hoyas have the opportunity to add another acheivement to their dominant season: conference tournament champions.
The next step in that drive comes today, when the Hoyas (15-2-2, 8-1-1 Big East) face South Florida (10-5-3, 6-2-2 Big East) in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.
“We are certainly going to get [South Florida’s] best effort. They have played pretty much everyone pretty tough this year,” Head Coach Dave Nolan, who was named Big East coach of the Year Thursday, said. “They don’t really have any bad losses — their losses have come against good teams. They are obviously a very good team."
Georgetown, the No. 1 seed from the National Division, will look to upend that feisty USF squad — the No. 2 seed from the American Division. Led by junior forward Colleen Dinn, the Blue and Gray advanced to the semifinals by defeating DePaul in a 1-0 battle last Sunday.
Dinn gave the Hoyas a 1-0 lead in the tenth minute, when she headed the ball past the Blue Demons’ keeper off of a corner kick taken by sophomore midfielder Daphne Corboz, who was named Big East offensive player of the year Thursday. And despite DePaul’s opportunities in the closing minutes of the game, Georgetown did not relinquish the lead.
They will look to repeat such a result this afternoon.
“We just want to play well. We want to play to our strengths,” Nolan said.
South Florida played Louisville in the quarterfinals, and the Bulls emerged victorious with a 4-3 penalty-kick win after ending the overtime periods deadlocked at 0-0. That means that they’re certainly no strangers to pressure.
“South Florida is a very good team. They are fighting hard for not even their Big East life but also for their NCAA life,” Nolan said. “It is a must-win game for them, I feel, if they want to put themselves in consideration for the NCAA tournament and an at-large bid.”
To hold off the Bulls, the Hoyas will once again have to turn to their defense. The Blue and Gray have posted 13 shutouts this season and today will face another tough Big East team.
“[South Florida has] a good offensive lineup. They play in a system similar to ours. They have some good attacking personnel. I don’t think there is one special player, but there are four good players that, if we fall asleep, can punish us,” Nolan said.
While the defense will be tasked with staying awake, Georgetown will rely on Corboz to run the Hoyas’ potent offense. Against recent opponents, though, Corboz has been man-marked and therefore relatively quiet. But Nolan is not worried.
“[South Florida] needs to win — they don’t need to stop us from winning. Certainly, at some point in the game, we may have to move [Corboz] around a little bit in order to put her in space so she can get the ball a little bit easier,” Nolan said. “It has been difficult for her, but it is a sign of respect that she is such a good player, even as a sophomore, that she is getting this special attention.”
Both teams are searching for their first Big East title, the finals for which will be held Sunday. The winner of tonight’s matchup will face the winner of the other semifinal to be held tonight.
The two teams in that matchup are No. 1 Marquette (14-2-2, 9-0-1 Big East) — who is undefeated thus far in Big East play — and the No. 2 seed from the National Division, Notre Dame (13-4-2, 8-1-1 Big East), the winner of 11 Big East tournaments.
“Once you get into the postseason, there are no blowout games,” Nolan said. “Every game is decided by a moment of genius or a moment of misfortune or a moment of bad luck. We will be trying to minimize their good fortune and minimize our bad luck.”
Kickoff against the Bulls is slated for 6:30 p.m. tonight in Storrs, Conn., and will be televised on the CBS Sports cable network. If the Hoyas win, they will play Sunday at noon in the Big East final.