This Sunday, the Georgetown women’s soccer team (8-4-0, 3-0-0 Big East) will take on Butler (9-5-1, 2-2-0 Big East) in its fourth Big East matchup of the season. The Hoyas improved to 3-0-0 in conference play after defeating Villanova (1-11-0, 0-3-0 Big East) in a 5-1 rout Oct. 1 and St. John’s (11-2-0, 3-1-0 Big East) by a 3-1 decision Thursday.
“[We want] to be attack-minded, to create chances and to hope we score some goals. I think that’s important for us, to be aggressive,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said.
Nolan will rely on junior forward Grace Damaska and sophomore midfielder Rachel Corboz to help the team maintain an offensive mindset. Damaska, who was named to the Big East weekly honor roll Tuesday, leads the team with 15 points. She has six goals and three assists on the season. Corboz has recorded a team-high four assists and is just behind Damaska in points and goals with 14 and five, respectively.
“Rachel is sort of getting the hang of it and connecting well with our forwards. Grace has been able to score a lot of goals,” graduate student goalkeeper Emma Newins said.
The Hoyas hope that Damaska and Corboz duo can lead them to yet another Big East victory.
In past games, the Hoyas have struggled to convert on some of their set piece opportunities, but after working on consistency, Nolan believes that his team is now more prepared to capitalize on corner kicks and other such set piece opportunities as it prepares for the Bulldogs.
“In the last couple of games we’re starting to create some good chances and many of the goals we’re scoring are pretty good,” Nolan said. “We’ve also become a little bit cleaner with our set pieces, our set piece execution has been better, we’re scoring off corner kicks and free kicks now. So there’s a variety of ways for us to score goals.”
In addition to working on perfecting his offense for Sunday’s game against Butler, Nolan is still tinkering with his back line.
“We’re still giving up goals, which is a concern. … We want to try to get a little cleaner at the back,” Nolan said.
Georgetown hopes that its defense will be able to shut down a Butler team that has scored 24 goals in 14 games so far this season. Freshman forward Halle Stelbasky leads the team with eight goals in 2015, and senior midfielder Sophie Maccagnone has added five goals and a team-leading four assists.
Senior defender Neela Mohan has stepped in as one of the team’s central defenders and will continue to provide a veteran presence for the team’s back line as it looks to limit the Bulldogs’ offense.
“Neela has stepped in as center back. She’s more of a vocal presence on the defense, which is good; she’s always talking to the fullbacks and making sure everyone’s in line and in position, and then myself, I’m always just communicating with the defense to make sure we’re in the right positions,” Newins said.
The graduation of key seniors from last year’s team, including superstar midfielder Daphne Corboz, has forced members of this year’s team to take on new roles. The Hoyas will try to build on their early Big East success despite still being in the process of defining their identity as a team.
“It’s a different type of offense to last year. Different types of players doing different types of things. So I think that has been a challenge because last year, we played a particular style, and in moments we’re still trying to play the same way but with different types of players that have other strengths,” Nolan said.
The Hoyas are hoping that on Sunday they will be able to maintain a style that suits their skills through the 90 minutes of play against the Bulldogs.
“I’m trying to get our players a little bit more tuned into recognizing the strengths of their teammates, and not trying to play them in such a way where they’re not more comfortable,” Nolan said.
Sunday’s kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
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