ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA
ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

The No. 10 Georgetown women’s soccer team took to Shaw Field on Sunday afternoon to face Xavier for the first time in Big East play. The Hoyas (9-0-2, 1-0-1 Big East) used their superior skill and athleticism to overwhelm the Musketeers (7-3-1, 0-2 Big East) and cruise to an easy 7-1 victory.

The win extended Georgetown’s unbeaten streak to 11 games, making this year’s start the best in program history. That record had previously been held by the 2008 Hoyas, who began the year 8-0-2, but ultimately failed to reach the NCAA Tournament, a destination that appears almost inevitable for this year’s squad.

Despite the lopsided result and record-setting afternoon, all was not well for head coach Dave Nolan.

“I wasn’t happy with the performance,” Nolan said. “From the first minute to the last, I don’t think we played anywhere near our capability.”

From the opening kick, Georgetown prevented the Musketeers from generating any meaningful possession. Xavier’s defense was initially successful at keeping Georgetown out of the box, but the Blue and Gray’s athleticism ultimately overwhelmed the Musketeers.

The Hoyas got on the board in the 33rd minute, when a corner kick from junior midfielder Daphne Corboz was headed home by senior defender Mary Kroening. It was Kroening’s fifth goal of the season, putting her one behind team goal-scoring leader Kaitlin Brenn. The 5-foot-10-inch senior forward has been a potent weapon on set pieces, where her height provides a natural advantage.

Defending corner kicks against the Hoyas’ taller players was a problem for the Musketeers throughout the game. Sophomore midfielder Marina Paul, also 5-feet-10 inches tall, scored twice off corners later in the match.

However, it wasn’t just the Hoyas’ usual suspects scoring; six different players — including sophomore Sarah Adams, senior Kaitlin Brenn, junior Jessica Clinton and junior Vanessa Skrumbis, all forwards — combined for the seven goals, and three additional players contributed assists.

Despite the explosive offensive show, Nolan was unsatisfied with almost all of the players’ performances.

“I thought [senior defender] Emily Menges was the only kid on the team who played up to her capabilities today,” Nolan said.

The defense was not without its issues either, however. Early in the second half, when junior starting goalkeeper Emma Newins had been pulled to give the younger goalies experience, Menges and sophomore goalie Christina Mangels botched an exchange that provided Xavier with its best opportunity of the game to that point. Mangels would recover to make the save, but the Musketeers would ruin the Hoyas’ shutout moments later in the 56th minute. A Georgetown turnover led to a counterattack, and Xavier sophomore forward Erin McGauley lofted a shot from 25 yards out over Mangels’ outstretched arms and into the back of the net.

“[Their goal] was just indicative of the play,” Nolan said. “We did a couple of sloppy things that led to their goal that we wouldn’t have done last year. We wouldn’t have given them a goal, and that was disappointing.”

The defense was also hurt by the absence of center defender Alexa St. Martin. The senior has started every game this season for the Hoyas, but missed Sunday’s match with an injury that Nolan termed “nothing serious.”

“I didn’t want to risk her playing today,” Nolan said. “I had a feeling we could get by without her.”

That feeling turned out to be correct. After losing 2-0 in their first-ever Big East game to St. John’s on Thursday, the Musketeers’ defeat against Georgetown dropped them to 0-2 in league play.

“I kind of feel bad for them because they’ve been thrown in the deep end,” Nolan said. “They finally made themselves competitive in the Atlantic 10, and now they’ve come into [the Big East] and have to try to get competitive again.”

The win extended the Hoyas’ unbeaten streak at home to 18 games, a feat that stretches back to October 2011. Georgetown has now outscored its opponents 40-8 this season and despite Nolan’s criticism things are looking up for the Blue and Gray. He may be tough to please, but he’s the first to acknowledge it.

“If we’ve played 11 games, are unbeaten, just won 7-1 and I’m unhappy,” he said, “maybe I’ll just never be happy.”

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