Last Friday in the Big East tournament semifinals, the Georgetown women’s soccer team (11-5-3, 6-1-2 Big East) came out on the losing end of a penalty shootout and headed home without a guaranteed spot in the NCAA tournament. The Hoyas had no choice but to hope they would receive an at-large bid.
When the postseason selections were announced Monday, Georgetown’s prayers were answered. The Hoyas drew a first-round matchup with Hofstra (13-5-1, 7-1-1 Colonial Athletic Association) and home-field advantage. After three days of not knowing whether its season would continue, the team was full of emotions when it heard its name called in Monday’s selection show.
“Just hearing our name and finding out that we have a home game was super exciting. It was really nice to see everyone celebrating once our name got called,” sophomore midfielder Rachel Corboz said.
Following its tournament selection, Georgetown got back to work and began preparing for the match against Hofstra. Hofstra, which finished first in the Colonial Athletic Association, is also coming off of a loss in its conference tournament semifinals. However, entering the CAA tournament, Hofstra had been riding a six-game undefeated streak, with a record of 5-0-1 in that span.
Head Coach Dave Nolan believes the Pride will be a tough matchup.
“They’re very good. They’re very similar to St. John’s, who we have played this year, in that they’re the same quality team overall,” Nolan said.
Hofstra’s offense is led by senior forward Leah Galton. Galton was named the CAA Player of the Year last season and she has racked up 11 goals and six assists this year.
“She’s definitely one of the best players in the country. We know she’s going to be a handful,” Nolan said.
The Hoyas’ defense will have to be very aware of Galton’s presence on the pitch Saturday but should feel confident with graduate student goalkeeper Emma Newins protecting the net. This will be Newins’ fourth straight year playing in the NCAA tournament and her experience will be a big asset for Georgetown this weekend.
“Experience is a big part of it. They’re always tight games; in NCAAs, I think I’ve been in like four overtime games, so they’re always exciting and close games to play in,” Newins said.
At the other end of the field, the Hoyas’ offense will have to continue the dynamic attacking play led by Corboz, who leads the team with 10 goals and eight assists, and senior forward Crystal Thomas.
Georgetown displayed a deadly attack last Friday, tallying nine dangerous shots in the first half of the match against Providence. Georgetown’s lone goal came off a shot from outside the corner of the box by Thomas, whose play and senior leadership will be invaluable to the Hoyas this weekend.
“Crystal doesn’t lack confidence, that’s what makes her special,” Nolan said. “She wants the ball in big moments.”
Although Thomas and Corboz have been integral parts of the team’s success, Georgetown possesses a well-balanced attack that has allowed the team to remain consistently dangerous in its offensive third. The team’s chemistry on the field has been evident all season.
“It’s important how we have a really good group of girls, and everyone just wants to go out there and give it their all. We all just work so hard, we all want to win and we all just want what’s best for the team, so I think that’s really important because you can see that on the field,” Corboz said.
Saturday’s kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Shaw Field.
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