FILE PHOTO: CHRIS GRIVAS/THE HOYA Senior defender Christina O’Tousa (foreground) set up the Hoyas’ first goal against South Florida in a game ultimately won on penalty kicks.
Senior defender Christina O’Tousa (foreground) set up the Hoyas’ first goal against South Florida in a game ultimately won on penalty kicks.

The No. 13 Georgetown women’s soccer team (15-3-3, 8-1-1 Big East) entered last weekend looking to extend what’s already been a record-breaking season and capture its first Big East tournament title in the process.

But despite a semifinal win over South Florida (12-5-4, 6-2-2 Big East) Friday, the Hoyas faltered in the finals when they were handed a heartbreaking loss by No. 15 Marquette (16-2-2, 9-0-1 Big East) in the 1-0 championship game.

That defeat was all the more disappointing because of the Blue and Gray’s thrilling win over the Bulls, who got off to a hot start and scored in the 15th minute.

USF had a free kick that redshirt freshman goalie Emma Newins came off of her line to save, but she was bumped by a South Florida player in the box and lost control of the ball, which Bulls junior forward Sharla Passariello gathered fired into the top corner of the goal to give the Bulls a 1-0 lead.

“It was very windy in the first half, and it was very difficult for us to get the ball moving because we were playing against a pretty tough breeze,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “So at halftime … I just told the girls that we needed to step up the intensity a little bit and we would have the wind with us and thought that would help turn the tide in the game and, thankfully, it did.”

The Blue and Gray though were able to respond in the second half and outshoot the Bulls, 6-4, with a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks. But Georgetown was unable to score the equalizer until the 83rd minute.

That was when senior defender Christina O’Tousa sent a free kick into the box, which junior forward Kaitlin Brenn passed to sophomore midfielder Daphne Corboz. Her ensuing shot was blocked, but she headed the rebound into the back of the net, tying the game at 1-1.

Both teams had opportunities in the closing minutes of regulation but neither could finish, leading the squads into overtime. The Hoyas threatened in the first overtime period, as Brenn was able to get off two shots, but her first shot was blocked and the second sailed just high.

“By the end of regulation and overtime, we were definitely the team that was more likely to score. We had two really good chances, [but] their keeper made two really good saves. While I don’t think we played our best game of the season against South Florida, we did enough to win,” Nolan said.

After both overtime periods ended without the scoring budging, the game went to penalty kicks. Both the Hoyas and the Bulls converted on their four of the first five penalty kicks, which led to a sudden death period.  Junior Colleen Dinn connected on the next penalty kick while Newins saved the Bulls’ attempt, giving the Hoyas a 5-4 win in penalty kicks.

“The lineup was exactly the same, and the South Florida players shot to the exact same side as they did against Louisville,” Nolan said. “That is how Emma was able to save two and probably should have saved two more.”

With the win, Georgetown advanced to their ill-fated matchup Sunday against Marquette. Both the Blue and Gray and the Golden Eagles entered the final looking to seize their first Big East tournament championship, and a late goal by Marquette ultimately propelled them to the title.

“We knew it was going to be a very difficult game. All along I have felt that Marquette is the best team in the conference,” Nolan said. “I definitely felt that we were a close second.”

Georgetown had the first scoring chance for either team in the opening minutes as a shot from freshman forward Sarah Adams was blocked — but Marquette soon took control of the game after that. The Golden Eagles were able to keep possession in Georgetown’s final third, but timely saves from Newins kept the game scoreless.

In the second half, Nolan’s side was able to find more space and generate more opportunities. Their best chance came in the 57th minute off of a Daphne Corboz set piece from about 10 yards outside the box, but her shot was saved by Marquette freshman keeper Amanda Engel.

The Hoyas then continued to dominate for the next 25 minutes, but one big lapse would cost them. Marquette picked up a loose ball and, with just over 2:30 left, fed it to junior forward Taylor Madigan, who fired a low shot past Newins.

“I think there were three or four minor breakdowns that led to them being in the position to cross the ball, which they do a lot of. Emma made a great save on the first shot and the ball happened to rebound to the girl in the only place she could score,” Nolan said. “It could have gone anywhere, and it happened to rebound to the only place where she had an angle to the goal.”

Despite two good opportunities in the closing minutes, Georgetown was unable to tie the game, and the Golden Eagles walked away with the win and the Big East tournament title.

“I was very pleased by how well we played, and, if anything, I felt that on the day we were the better team,” Nolan said. “The goal was always going to be either a moment of genius, a scrappy goal or a mistake. It turned out to be a scrappy goal.”

The Hoyas will look to rebound after the disappointing loss as they begin the NCAA tournament. Georgetown opens the tournament against the Hokies at Virginia Tech Sunday at 5 p.m. in Blacksburg, Va.

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