WOMEN'S SOCCER | GU Awaits Stanford
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 00:09
The No. 23 Georgetown women’s soccer team has been perfect so far this season. But the Hoyas face their most daunting test yet when they head to the West Coast for a pair of difficult games.
First up for the Blue and Gray (6-0) is UC Santa Clara, consistently one of the top programs in women’s soccer. The Broncos (2-2-1) have struggled a bit this season by their lofty standards but have ended 20 consecutive seasons in the national top 10.
“Santa Clara is one of the giants,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “It’s going to be everything we can handle.”
The Hoyas have lost their last two meetings with the Broncos but hope that a strengthened back line will help to shut down Santa Clara’s offense — which, like Georgetown’s, has yet to be held off the score sheet this year.
But the date with Santa Clara is just a warm-up for a clash with almighty Stanford this Sunday, and it’s hard not to obsess over their impressive record.
The defending national champions — ranked No. 1 until a tough road loss to West Virginia dropped them down to No. 4 — have gone an incredible 56 games at home without recording a loss.
The Cardinal’s (2-1-1) defeat in Morgantown, W.Va., ended a 64-game overall unbeaten streak. They beat the Hoyas in both of their last two meetings by a combined score of 6-1. And while the prospect of facing Stanford might intimidate Georgetown, that is intended.
“One of the things we try and do here is challenge our kids by playing tough out-of-conference games,” Nolan said. “You play these games with the hope that the more you play them, the more you get used to them, and the less intimidated you become.”
Nolan knows that despite Stanford’s recent loss, they will be every bit the tough test they have proven to be in the past.
“The road to the national championship will still go through Stanford,” Nolan said. “Our kids just need to understand that we can play with anybody. We beat Notre Dame last year at Notre Dame when they were defending national champions. If we play well, we have every chance to get a [good] result.”
For the Hoyas to emerge from the weekend unscathed, they will also need offensive support from midfielder Daphne Corboz. The sophomore was named to the Big East weekly honor roll Tuesday after scoring two goals last weekend against Cornell.
Despite Corboz’s age, she is already a centerpiece of the Georgetown offense and is earning high praise from her coach.
“Daphne compares to anybody who we’ve had here. Ingrid [Wells] (COL ’12) and Kelly [D’Ambrisi] (MSB ’12) are two fantastic attacking midfielders who both had wonderful careers here. Both finished up their senior years as first team all-conference players. In a conference like the Big East, to have two midfielders named first-team shows you how good those two were,” Nolan said. “But Daphne’s her own player. She’s kind of a combination of Ingrid and Kelly, and we’re lucky to have her.”
The Hoyas take on Santa Clara today at 4:30 p.m. PDT before facing Stanford Sunday at noon PDT.