WOMEN'S SOCCER | Perfect Home Record on the Line Against Pirates
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013 01:11
The inaugural season of the new Big East conference has been kind to the No. 15 Georgetown women’s soccer team. Aside from a 4-0 loss to No. 14 Marquette two weeks ago, the Hoyas (14-1-2, 6-1-1 Big East) have failed to record a loss and, with one game remaining, have already tied the program record for wins in a regular season.
Georgetown will have a chance to break that record when Seton Hall (5-10-2, 3-5-0 Big East) pays a visit to the Hilltop on Saturday afternoon. The Pirates will be looking for revenge after they suffered an 8-0 defeat at the hands of the Hoyas last year.
Every player who scored a goal for Georgetown in that match will be on Shaw Field Saturday. Junior midfielder Daphne Corboz led the way with a hat trick while senior defender Colleen Dinn and junior forward Ashley Shaffer both pitched in two goals; junior midfielder Audra Ayotte tallied one.
Despite last year’s blowout, Head Coach Dave Nolan is confident his squad won’t overlook the Pirates.
“Each year is different. Last year we got on them quickly, and they kind of fell away a little bit,” Nolan said. “I’m hoping the kids won’t look past them, and if they do, I can easily point out the previous year when we went up there and lost 3-2. I don’t think our kids have forgotten that one either.”
In addition to the defeat two years ago, there is another reason the Hoyas are unlikely to take a victory on Saturday for granted: Seton Hall is playing for a shot at the postseason.
The top six finishers in the Big East qualify for the postseason tournament, with the top two receiving first round byes. Seton Hall currently sits in seventh place, two points behind fifth-place St. John’s and one point behind sixth-place Villanova. That means that one of those schools will have to lose or draw, and Seton Hall will have to win on Saturday if it hopes to reach the postseason.
“It’s a dangerous game for us because [Seton Hall] needs to win. No other outcome works for them, so they really have to go for it,” Nolan said. “They’re coming in with nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Despite having locked up an appearance in the Big East Tournament, the Hoyas have yet to clinch a first round bye. A win over Seton Hall would do just that. DePaul currently sits only three points behind Georgetown in the table, so a Blue Demon win coupled with a Hoya loss would mean that a tie-breaker would determine which team would get the bye.
Nolan is quick to point out the importance of a free pass to the semifinals for the Hoyas.
“It’s huge,” he said. “At some point the winner of the tournament is going to have to go through Marquette, and you want to give yourself every chance you can to be as healthy for that match as possible.”
Securing the bye will not be the only thing on the minds of the Georgetown players this Saturday. It will be Senior Day for the six seniors on the roster, all of who have played crucial roles for the Hoyas this year.
Defenders Colleen Dinn, Mary Kroening, Emily Menges and Alexa St. Martin as well as midfielder Kailey Blain and forward Kaitlin Brenn have a combined record of 60-18-7 over their four years on the Hilltop. They are the last holdovers from the 2010 team that advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in school history, and the group also won a Big East regular season title for the first time in program history last year.
Nolan knows that Saturday will be a special match.
“We’re going to have a lot of emotion; that’s something you always battle on senior day,” Nolan said. “The question is: is the emotion going to be a fuel for you or a distraction for you? I think for these kids it’s going to be a fuel.”
If all goes well for Georgetown, Saturday’s match may very well not be the last time the seniors suit up on Shaw Field. First round games of the NCAA Tournament are, after all, held at the higher seed’s home field.
But that is far from the minds of the Hoyas at the moment. For now, the focus is solely on Seton Hall.
Kickoff on Saturday is slated for 1 p.m. at Shaw Field.