The Georgetown women’s soccer team (1-1-0) suffered its first loss of the young season on Sunday, falling 3-0 to No. 5 Stanford (2-0-0) under a deluge of second-half Cardinal goals.
The three tallies over a span of eight minutes early in the second period cracked a Hoya defense which had remained impressively solid over the first half against formidable opposition, and which later in the second half held firm and even propelled the team into real scoring opportunities.
The defense, consisting of the strong center back pairing of junior Liz Wenger and freshman Sarah Trissel, as well as junior Drew Topor and graduate student Corey Delaney as outside backs, kept the shutout until the forty-eighth minute despite pressure and occasional gaps in the midfield; Head Coach Dave Nolan considered the center back pairing, along with sophomore goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman, the team’s best performers on the day.
Wenger, who has played every minute of the Hoyas’ two games so far, saw through the goals to the team’s resilience after conceding.
“For those eight minutes it just felt like we were all back on our heels,” Wenger said. “We were in our defensive third for most of it. Just being able to come through that, even getting scored on three times, and still pushing forward, I think that shows a bit about our team… We kept playing, we didn’t back down.”
The Cardinal entered the matchup ranked the top team in the country by Top Drawer Soccer, and according to the same site, boast three of the nation’s best twenty players.
Nolan thought his team was at times only half-committal to attack in the face of the constant threat Stanford posed at the other end.
“Probably my biggest disappointment on the day was that we just gave the ball back to them too easy,” Nolan said. “I felt we could have kept the ball a little bit better.”
But ultimately, apart from the vulnerable moments immediately following a goal and halftime, Nolan saw positives in the Hoyas’ performance against tough opposition that pressed faster than they could actually move the ball.
“They’re a very good team,” Nolan said. “And at the end of the year, they’re going to be one of the teams who’s in the shake for the big prize. I felt after an initial fifteen-minute period in the first half where it kind of got away from us and we couldn’t really deal with their midfield three, I thought we settled in. And towards the back half of the second half I thought we dealt with them pretty comfortably.”
The Hoyas created a few scoring opportunities of their own, with senior forward Crystal Thomas providing her usual spark and graduate student defender Marina Paul heading just over off a late corner.
“We wanted to measure ourselves against the best to see what we need to do to get there,” Nolan said. “And we have some work to do, but I thought we learned a lot about ourselves today… No one likes to lose games, but I told them, I said, ‘Listen, girls, that was fun. You got to play against maybe the top team in the country. That’s far more fun than playing six games where you win 6-0.’”
Georgetown next takes on Delaware (0-2-0) at 4 p.m. on Thursday at Shaw Field.
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