For Georgetown women’s soccer team, its wild 4-3 loss to No. 14 Virginia Tech (15-6-0, 5-5-0 ACC) in the second round of the NCAA championship marked a disappointing end to the season. However, the Hoyas (11-5-6, 6-1-2 Big East) had a tremendous run, despite losing six seniors who were vital to the team during the 2013 season.

At the outset of their season, the Hoyas set out to win the Big East tournament and reach the third round of the NCAA tournament — both things they have come painfully close to accomplishing in prior seasons. Although the team was not able to realize their loftiest goals for the year, Georgetown saw several high points to the season, including an 8-0 demolition of Seton Hall (13-10-5, 0-6-3 Big East), a penalty-kick upset of No.7 West Virginia (16-2-4, 7-0-1 Big 12) in the NCAA tournament and multiple late, exciting match-winning goals.

Senior midfielder Daphne Corboz led the team in her final season as a Hoya. A two-time All-American who was named one of 16 Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy semifinalists, an honor bestowed on the best collegiate soccer players in the country, Corboz spurred the team to improve over the course of the season.

“In preseason, we really did not know what to expect,” Corboz said. “I think it was great that players, such as [sophomore midfielder] Emily Morgan and the freshman class, played very well for us. We improved a lot over the course of the season, and that is always a goal of ours.”

Corboz leaves the Hilltop as Georgetown’s all-time leader in points and goals. She set the single-season Georgetown assist record this season with 18 assists, a tie for the third best record in the country.

Head Coach Dave Nolan knows that Georgetown will struggle to replace Corboz, but he remains optimistic about the team’s future.

“[Corboz is] a winner, and she’s a competitor,” Nolan said. “And I think her personality forces people to raise their game. She’s going to be very difficult to replace, obviously, but we were in this situation four year ago when people thought we’d never replace Ingrid [Wells] (COL ‘11). … When Ingrid left, we were in a better place when she left than when she got here, and I think Daphne has done the same thing.”

Nolan’s expectations appear to be well founded, considering the success that the newest players achieved in their first seasons on the team. Freshmen defenders Drew Topor and Liz Wenger and midfielders Taylor Pak and Rachel Corboz stepped up to replace the outgoing seniors and did an admirable job.

“We knew coming into the season that it was essentially a new team from last year,” Nolan said. “In number and the quality of kids we had to replace from last year, we had a lot of question marks, and we needed people to step up and step in … The biggest thing for me was that we managed to have a similar level of success as we had managed over the past few years, with basically a new lineup.”

A tactical issue the Hoyas occasionally struggled with was the prevalence of opponents “parking the bus,” or putting 10 players behind the ball for the sole purpose of preventing the Hoyas from scoring.

“This year, we had a lot of teams in the Big East that sat in against us and made it very difficult for us to play, so I think we need to improve in dealing with those situations by playing our style of play and coming at them from the start,” Corboz said. “There were a lot of younger players playing this year so I hoped they gained a lot of experience from games.”

The Hoyas were ranked as the 20th best team in the country in the beginning of the year, but a weekend of disappointing results, including a 6-1 loss to Virginia Tech and a 2-0 loss to an unranked Wake Forest team (5-9-3, 3-5-2 ACC), dropped them from the rankings.

Despite some underwhelming regular-season matches, Nolan took heart in the team’s growth as playoff season approached.

“We started to play our best at the end of the season,” Nolan said. “In the Big East tournament, even though we were unlucky to lose to DePaul, and in the NCAA tournament, we showed an improvement, and that was good to see.”

Corboz, reflecting on her years spent at Georgetown, saw her development as a player and as a person.

“It’s college, so I think everyone grows up, but Georgetown has surrounded me with such smart, inspiring people that have really helped me develop and become a better and more well-rounded person in these last four years,” Corboz said. “Choosing to go to Georgetown was the best decision of my life.”

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