WOMEN'S SOCCER | Wasting No Time: Hoyas Score Early in 3-1 Win
Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 01:10
The No. 15 Georgetown women’s soccer team traveled to Philadelphia on Sunday to take on Villanova in its second-to-last game of the regular season. The Hoyas (14-1-2, 6-1-1 Big East) got off to a quick start and downed the Wildcats (6-8-3, 3-4-1 Big East) 3-1.
For Georgetown, the scoring began earlier than it had in any game this season. From the opening whistle, the Hoyas controlled possession and were rewarded with a quick goal in the fourth minute, when sophomore midfielder Marina Paul played a ball to senior forward Kaitlin Brenn in the middle of the box, who used her first touch of the game to knock it into the back of the net.
Fast starts have been a recent point of emphasis for Head Coach Dave Nolan, who has seen his squad come out lethargically in several games this season. The quick goal, therefore, was a welcome development.
“Last year, we were such a strong come-out team,” Nolan said. “This year, we haven’t managed to do that on a consistent basis. We were thankful to get off to that quick start.”
It did not stop there. The Hoyas kept the pressure on the Wildcats after Brenn’s goal, and less than seven minutes later, they struck again. This time, it was an impressive individual effort that netted the a goal for Georgetown when senior midfielder Kailey Blain struck a ball from 25 yards out that dipped just under the crossbar to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
The two goals were all the Hoyas would need on the afternoon, but the Blue and Gray added an extra tally for good measure when junior forward Audra Ayotte put home a rebound in the 22nd minute. Before the first half reached its midway point, Georgetown held a commanding 3-0 lead.
“We chose to play with the wind on the first half with [the purpose of coming out strong],” Nolan said. “We wanted to get on Villanova quickly and not give them anything to fight for, and we were able to do that.”
By halftime, the Hoyas had outshot the Wildcats 7-1, and for the third time in as many games, the second 45 minutes seemed to be only a formality for Georgetown. Nevertheless, Villanova would not go away quietly, outperforming Georgetown on the stats sheet in the second half.
“The second half was a little more even because [Villanova Head Coach John Byford] is a very good coach and challenged their kids to perform better at home,” Nolan said. “They were going to get embarrassed if the first half repeated itself.”
The Wildcats were rewarded for the efforts in their 67th minute when their leading scorer, freshman forward Katie Martin, was tripped in the box and given a penalty kick. Martin converted the opportunity to cut the Georgetown lead to two.
“We were disappointed we let up the goal,” Nolan said. “[Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Emma Newins] really didn’t have to make any tough saves asides from it.”
Martin’s goal would be the last of the game as the Hoyas held on to win a match that was never really in doubt.
“It never really looked like they were going to score another goal,” Nolan said.
The victory was an important one for Georgetown in terms of seeding for next weekend’s Big East tournament. The tournament is set up so that the top six teams in the conference qualify, with the top two receiving first round byes.
No. 17 Marquette (15-3-0, 8-0 Big East) locked up the Big East regular season title with a 6-0 win against Providence on Sunday. The Golden Eagles had an impressive run through conference play, in which they outscored their opponents by a combined score of 21-2.
The impossibility of a first-place finish means that Georgetown will have to hold off third-place DePaul (11-3-2, 5-2-1 Big East) if it hopes to secure a bye.
Sunday’s victory makes that task exponentially easier. The Hoyas would have to suffer a loss to Seton Hall next Saturday, and DePaul would have to win over St. John’s, to finish in a situation where tiebreakers would come into effect to determine the recipient of the second bye.
For Nolan, the importance of that free pass through the first round can be summed up quite simply.
“It’s huge,” he said.