In a season of considerable turnover, the Georgetown women’s soccer team (3-2-0) is looking to exceed expectations and prove that it can succeed.
“I think we’re slated for third [in the Big East] right now, so that bothers me a little bit,” senior midfielder Marina Paul said. Led by a solid group of upperclassmen including Paul, graduate student goalkeeper Emma Newins and senior forward Sarah Adams, the Hoyas will try to improve on last season’s 11-5-6 overall record. The team hopes to carry over its strong conference play from last season; it finished 6-1-2 against Big East opponents.
“We want to win the Big East in the regular season, and definitely want to win the tournament this year,” Newins said. “The past two years, we’ve lost in the finals, so it would be great if we could win the tournament and then make it as far as we can in the NCAAs.”
In order to prepare for its Big East matchups, the team is playing a challenging out-of-conference schedule, which has yielded uneven results thus far.
“The nature of the Big East conference on the women’s side is that it’s not as strong and it’s not as challenging as it has been in the past with the changes in conference membership, not as challenging as it has been. Unfortunately, what that means is that you have to really bump up your nonconference schedule, which is the early part of the season. We’ve really made it a very difficult non-conference schedule,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said.
Georgetown’s first regular season game this year was Aug. 21 against James Madison. In a strong performance, the team came away with a 4-3 victory. Junior forward Grace Damaska scored two goals in the game, leading an effective Georgetown offense.
“We’ve identified some weaknesses so far, but we have a lot of threats on offense, which is a good sign. We’re able to score a lot of goals,” Newins said. One of the keys to Georgetown’s season lies in the development of its new team members. Senior forward Crystal Thomas, a transfer from Notre Dame, and Paul, returning from a major injury, will see significant minutes despite the fact that they didn’t play much for the team last year.
Moreover, the Hoyas have seven freshmen on the roster, several of whom will push for significant playing time.
“With freshmen, you never really know what you’re going to get. Even the most talented and prepared kids come in sometimes and find it difficult to adjust to the college game,” Nolan said. “The two [who have stood out] would be [forward] Caitlin Farrell from Connecticut and Megan Shaver, who’s a midfielder from the West Coast.”
With such turnover, the Hoyas will look to new faces for leadership, particularly after the graduation of former star midfielder Daphne Corboz.
“Our team over the past seven years has always been centered around one particular player, whether it be Ingrid Wells, Kelly D’Ambrisi, or for the last three or four years, Daphne Corboz. Now, we’re looking for a bit more balance,” Nolan said. “We’ve seen flashes of really good playing from Grace Damaska, Crystal Thomas, [sophomore midfielder] Rachel Corboz and Audra Ayotte. So, we’re just trying to get all four of those guys producing on a consistent level because I think that’s what we need in order to be successful.”
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