Sam Baker doesn’t always get the start, but when her name found its way into the Georgetown first 11 for Sunday afternoon’s Big East clash with Rutgers, she certainly made it count.

Typically filling the role of the game-changing substitute, the explosive senior forward thrived in her starting role against the Scarlet Knights (6-3-0, 1-1-0), assisting on two goals and scoring a third. TheHoyas (7-3-0, 1-1-0 Big East) pummeled their perennial “bogey” team in a resounding 4-1 victory just two days after a disappointing 3-2 overtime loss at Seton Hall (6-1-2, 2-0-0 Big East) in Georgetown’s conference opener.

“Samantha just has that gift of making things happen, whether it be the danger off set pieces, whether it be just her ability to score goals when you need them,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “I just felt we needed to shake it up a little bit, I felt we were at times a little bit pedestrian against Seton Hall.”

It was a welcome result for the Hoyas, who entered their second matchup of the weekend anxious to right the ship after falling to the surprising Pirates on the road Friday night. And given the Blue and Gray’s recent history with the Scarlet Knights — having beaten the visitors just once since 2005 prior to this weekend — Georgetown had no lack of motivation.

“There was no way we could go out of this weekend 0-2 with what we want to do with this season,” Baker said. “Especially the returners are a little bitter about last year. We should have beaten Rutgers and it just didn’t bounce our way … there were a lot of things which led to us absolutely [thinking] ‘there’s no way of going off this field [without a win].'”

Seton Hall 3, Georgetown 2 (OT)

The Hoyas made the trip to South Orange, N.J., for their conference kick-off with a meager 1-4-2 record all-time when meeting Pirates on the road despite a 3-0-1 advantage in the teams’ past four fixtures.

Unfortunately for the Blue and Gray, their record only worsened on Friday night, as Seton Hall’s senior midfielder Taylor Wilson rifled the game-winner into the upper-right corner of the net from inside the 18-yard box in the 96th minute to give the Pirates a dramatic 3-2 golden-goal victory.

Georgetown trailed after just 13 minutes, but Hoyas’ sophomore centerback Emily Menges converted on a free kick to equalize in the 31st minute. The Blue and Gray trailed again after a 55th-minute goal by the Pirates before Baker’s first goal of the weekend set the stage for overtime in the 69th minute. The visitors outshot Seton Hall 21-17 and accumulated eight corners to the hosts’ two but failed to capitalize on their opportunities.

“Friday’s result was disappointing, we played well enough to win the game, we had plenty of chances, I have to give credit to Seton Hall because they had chances too and ultimately the game was about taking your chances,” Nolan said. “We deserved more out of the game than we got, but that’s Big East soccer. Every game is going to be a scrap and every game is going to be a fight.”

Georgetown 4, Rutgers 1

Things got worse before they got better for Hoyas in the first half of their home clash with the Scarlet Knights, as the hosts found themselves in a 1-0 hole after 16 minutes.

The Blue and Gray controlled play throughout the half, however, outshooting Rutgers 11-3 before the break. It didn’t take long for the Hoyas to respond to the Rutgers opener, as Baker’s long throw-in found sophomore defender Mary Kroening, who headed the ball into the back of the net in the 22nd minute for her second goal in as many weeks. The goal seemed to give Georgetown a much-needed shot in the arm, but the two teams went into the break knotted at one despite the hosts’ shot advantage.

Led by Baker, redshirt senior midfielder Ingrid Wells and senior forward Camille Trujillo, Georgetown created chance after chance as the hosts piled on the pressure in the second half. The Hoyas were finally rewarded for their good work in the 55th minute when the Scarlet Knights failed to clear yet another Baker throw-in, which bounced through the six-yard box to senior midfielder Kelly D’Ambrisi, who redirected it with her left foot past the keeper for the eventual game-winning goal.

The Hoyas grabbed an insurance goal in the 77th minute when Baker sparked a counter-attack by intercepting a Rutgers pass near midfield. She fed Wells, who found sophomore forward Kaitlin Brenn at the edge the box. Brenn played a square ball to Baker, who collected the pass on the left side of the box, faked a shot and then calmly fired a low shot inside the near post to give the Blue and Gray a 3-1 lead.

Trujillo, playing in her favored central forward role thanks to Baker’s presence in the starting lineup, terrorized the Rutgers defense throughout the afternoon with her pace, constant ball-pressure and play-making abilities.

“I thought Camille was fantastic. It’s a shame she didn’t get a goal or two, I thought her performance merited it,” Nolan said. “But as I told [her], I said ‘listen, you were the reason we scored four goals today.’ She’s that type of player. She’s a team player. She’s more worried about the team than she is about herself.”

It was Trujillo who set up the Hoyas’ final goal of the match, charging down the opposing keeper and deflecting the attempted clearance. Trujillo was fastest to the deflected ball and was subsequently brought down from behind by a scrambling Scarlet Knight defender. Wells sent the ensuing penalty kick low off the inside of the left post and into the net to ice the victory.

“When we’re on like this, we’re a very attacking team with the creative attacking personalities we have,” Nolan said. “We can score goals, and to tell you the truth I’ve been waiting for a game like this. I knew one was coming, and thankfully it was today.”

The Hoyas will kickoff next at 7 p.m. on Friday as they travel to upstate New York to face archrival Syracuse.

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