WOMEN'S SOCCER | GU Seeks to Keep Hot Start Going
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 00:08
Few people, coach included, expected the Georgetown women’s soccer team (4-0) to find themselves undefeated going into Labor Day weekend.
“Four and zero probably exceeded my expectations,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “I knew it was possible, but the likelihood was [that] in the last three games, we would have slipped up in one of them.”
But his team hasn’t. The Hoyas have allowed just one goal in their first four games, establishing themselves as a different entity from last year’s high-flying, senior-laden team.
“Last season we were a very offensive-minded team,” Nolan said, pointing to the Blue and Gray’s 53 goals scored. “This year we’re more the opposite. We’ve become a much better defensive unit. And we’re still managing to win games.”
Despite the encouraging start, Nolan knows that his team must avoid a letdown defeat to either of this weekend’s Ivy League opponents.
First up is Cornell, making its 2012 debut after struggling to a 2-13 finish last season. But similar to his own team, Nolan expects a much-changed Big Red this season.
“They’ve changed coach[es],” Nolan said. “Their coach is one of the great dinosaurs of college coaching, a good friend of mine, Patrick Farmer, who’s coached at the highest level.”
Farmer, who was an assistant at the University of Wisconsin for the past three years, has 19 years of head coaching experience, gathering a 261-97-40 record at Ithaca College, Penn State, Tennessee Tech and Syracuse. He also coached at the professional level, leading the New York Power for two seasons.
“Patrick will have this team as ready as they can be,” Nolan said. “He’ll have them organized, fit, excited, motivated. And then it’s a matter of [whether] they have talent on top of that.”
Nolan also isn’t convinced that the Big Red was as bad last season as its record suggests.
“If you look closely at their results, they pushed everybody really close, and most of their games were one-goal losses, which tells you they’re knocking on the door but they’re missing something,” Nolan said. “Maybe that something is a new coach with new ideas.”
On Monday, Georgetown takes on perennially strong Columbia — making its season debut at Labor Day’s D.C. Invitational — from whom Nolan has a better idea of what to expect.
“They play a certain style that’s high energy, they push you all over the field and they really get in your face,” he said. “The good thing is, it’ll be their second game — they play right down the street at GWU first, so there won’t be as many surprises as with Cornell.”
The Blue and Gray are already riding high going in to these matchups: Junior forward Kaitlin Brenn was named to the Big East weekly honor roll after her performance last weekend.
“Kaitlin is a wonderful player. She’s had to sit patiently behind a Big East first-team player, and this is her time. It’s great to see her stepping up.”
Along with somphomore forward Daphne Corboz, Brenn is tied for first on the team with with six points, although all of Brenn’s points have come from striking the mesh herself.
“Our offense goes through those two, and I … look at them as a sort of Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen tandem, in that one of them is a scorer and the other a creator,” Nolan said. “They’re from the same club in New Jersey, so they do complement each other really well, and they enjoy playing with each other.”
Despite the prowess of his attacking pair, Nolan recognizes the need to spread out the offense.
“Daphne’s one of the best players in the conference even now, but teams will start to hone in on her, so we’ve got to make sure we’re getting more from the other players, not just her and Kaitlin,” Nolan said.
The Hoyas play host to Cornell Saturday at 1 p.m., while Columbia comes to North Kehoe Monday at 1 p.m.