WOMEN'S SOCCER | Wildcats Only Barrier to Big East Tourney
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 01:10
Heading into its final season game this afternoon, the No. 12 Georgetown women’s soccer team (14-1-2, 8-0-1 Big East) can reflect on a season with precious few mistakes.
The Blue and Gray had only one true slip-up: a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Stanford in early September. And with 13 clean sheets and a Big East-low 10 goals conceded on the year, the Hoyas seem like they could be poised for a run at the national title.
Head Coach Dave Nolan, though, is refusing to concede that even a place in the tournament is assured, and for good reason.
“Quite frankly, last year, we were left bitterly disappointed by the decisions of the NCAA selection committee,” Nolan said. “So [we’re] really not getting ahead of ourselves in that I feel that we probably need to win every bloody game to get into the NCAA tournament, so that has to be our approach.”
Despite a 15-6-0 record last year, the tournament selection committee left the Blue and Gray out, and redemption has been at the center of the team’s mandate for 2012. Knowing that one bad loss could have consequences has played a role in Georgetown’s conference domination.
Even though the Big East tournament — for which the Hoyas have already secured a bye to the quarterfinals — is just around the corner, Nolan’s team is taking its hardworking attitude to Pennsylvania today.
Villanova (6-8-3, 4-4-1 Big East) is fighting for home-field advantage in the first round of the Big East tournament — and will be looking to avenge a 6-0 blowout at North Kehoe Field last October.
“Last year, we kind of got them here in a big game … They didn’t really come to play and we got out on them,” Nolan said. “And I know that’s been mentioned in their locker room a few times this year.”
Another challenge for the Hoyas will be the fact that the Wildcats play with a personality and style that are similar to the Blue and Gray’s.
“They’ve got a good goalkeeper, and they’ve got two strong defensive center [midfielders],” Nolan said. “It’s going to be a tough game — it really will be. They’re a good team.”
Considering Georgetown’s Big East seeding is already locked up, many coaches might send out a diluted lineup to rest star players, but considering what happened at the end of the Hoyas’ season last year, Nolan is taking no chances.
“It’s too important of a game. We want to try and keep momentum going,” Nolan said. “We need to win. I don’t want to put anything in the hands of the NCAA selection committee. I want it to be beyond doubt, where they would have to be even more insane than they were last year to leave us out.”
That means the Wildcats will see plenty of Georgetown’s star sophomore midfielder, Daphne Corboz. She scored two of the team’s six goals in last year’s contest and currently ranks seventh in the nation with 2.24 goals per game and has 38 points — 16 goals and six assists — on the year.
Even going beyond the traditional rivalry between the two schools, Friday’s game holds special significance for many of the players on both sides.
“Many of the kids at Villanova are kids we had recruited, and many of the kids here are kids who Villanova had recruited,” Nolan said. “So I feel it’s going to be a very difficult game.”
If they can overcome that difficulty, Georgetown also has a shot at finishing with the best record in either Big East division. To do so, the Hoyas will have to hope that South Florida springs an upset on Marquette.
Kickoff in Villanova, Pa., is set for 3 p.m.