The No. 7 Georgetown women’s soccer team (15-2-3) beat Depaul (10-6-3) on Friday afternoon for the first time in over four years, winning a dramatic penalty shootout 5-4 after 110 minutes of 1-1 soccer in the conference semifinal.
The win takes the Hoyas to the Big East title game at Shaw Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. against top-seeded Marquette (12-6-2). The game will also be televised on FS1.
Georgetown has never won a Big East Championship, but kept the dream alive thanks to graduate student defender Marina Paul’s equalizer and the final Depaul penalty, which clanged harmlessly against the crossbar and finally exorcised Georgetown’s playoff demons against the Blue Demons.
Paul, the only member of the Georgetown team remaining from the last time the Hoyas beat Depaul, finished deftly off a corner in the sixty-sixth minute to level the match.
“To beat them, in my last time ever playing them, it feels pretty good,” Paul said. “They’re a phenomenal team, and they have four great forwards that gave us a lot of trouble. But after last game, losing to them 4-1, it’s pretty bitter, especially as a center back, to take that. But coming out on top is a phenomenal feeling.”
The Hoyas started slowly, and Blue Demon sophomore forward Franny Cerny opened the scoring in the eighteenth minute; after creating few chances going forward in the first half, Head Coach Dave Nolan changed his system to get more attacking opportunities.
“It was a tough game against a very good team,” Nolan said. “That’s an NCAA-caliber team. Their front four is as dangerous and dynamic as any in the country and we’ve faced some of the best in the country… We were disappointed with the goal we gave up. It was going to take a strong effort. Tactics and all of that went out of the window and it was just going to come down to gut check time.”
In the shootout, neither keeper managed to get a touch on any of the ten penalties. All five Georgetown penalties were converted, by junior midfielder Rachel Corboz, junior midfielder Taylor Pak, sophomore midfielder Meghan Shaver, freshman midfielder Carson Nizialek, and graduate student forward Crystal Thomas.
The celebrations began when Depaul’s fifth penalty smacked the crossbar and rebounded out.
“I say this all the time, but if it were a boxing match, we’d have won on points,” Nolan said. “It went down to PKs. It’s a cruddy way to lose a game, but we lost two of them last year so we know what those poor kids are feeling. But you know, someone has to win and someone has to lose, so today was our time.”
This marks Georgetown’s third appearance in the Big East Championship final. The Hoyas lost on a late 1-0 goal to Marquette in 2012, and 2-0 to Depaul in 2014.
Graduate student defender Corey Delaney made a crucial tackle late in overtime, and bombed forward down the left side in a vital attacking role for much of the second half.
“Always as an outside back I try to get forward when [the game] allows me to, and I found a lot of space on the left side, particularly in the second half,” Delaney said. “It got me into the offense, moving the ball around, which gave our offense a different look. So it worked out well.”
The Big East Championship final will take place at Shaw Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. between Georgetown and Marquette.
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