ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA
ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

Sunday afternoon’s win over UConn marked the end of the non-conference schedule for the No. 10 Georgetown women’s soccer team – a series of games that could not have gone much better for the Hoyas.

Georgetown (8-0-1) used a late goal from senior forward Katilin Brenn to down UConn (6-4-0) 2-1 and finish its most successful out-of-conference campaign in recent memory.

“We hoped to come out of the non-conference schedule with a significant number of wins and a significant number of wins over quality teams,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said.

With victories over NC State, UConn and William & Mary, Georgetown has certainly achieved that goal.

“The bottom line is we’re unbeaten after nine games,” Nolan said.

The ninth game was not an easy one for the Hoyas. The Huskies are a familiar foe, having been a fellow member of the Big East up until last year, and Nolan knew that his squad was going to be in for a dogfight in Storrs, Conn.

“UConn is never an easy place to come play,” Nolan said. “They’re a good team and they’ve got some good players.”

It was Georgetown however, who landed the first blow of the match. In the 23rd minute, a pass from senior midfielder Kailey Blain found junior midfielder Daphne Corboz at the top of the 18-yard box. Corboz drove the ball into the back of the net past Husky goalkeeper Emily Armstrong to give the Hoyas a 1-0 lead. It was the junior’s third goal of the season in just her fourth game.

Georgetown would take the lead into the locker room at the half.

“We had a really good goal in the first half and dominated play,” Nolan said of his team’s early play.

The second half was a different story, as the Huskies came with a strategy that they executed well. Aided by a stiff breeze at their back, UConn fell into a pattern of lobbing long balls from the back up to their forwards.

The tactic paid off for the Huskies who outshot the Hoyas 11-3 in the second half and managed to tie the game in the 73rd minute.

“In the second half they came out fast and furious,” Nolan said. “[They] were very predictable, but [they] were still something you have to deal with and they got away once with their goal.”

With less than 20 minutes to play, the Hoyas found themselves in a need of a goal if they were to avoid their second sudden death overtime in as many games. The game-winner for Georgetown came in the 85th minute when Brenn managed to get on the end of a set piece from junior forward Audra Ayotte and float it into the goal over Armstrong. Georgetown would hold on in the last five minutes for the 2-1 victory.

“We were happy to get out with a win,” Nolan said.

The Hoyas now turn their attention to conference play in a new-look Big East. Gone are Cincinnati, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and UConn; replacing them are Butler, Creighton and Xavier.

Georgetown — currently the only ranked member of the conference — would appear to be the odds-on favorite to win the league championship. The top challenger to that claim is Marquette (6-3-0) who began the season ranked 14th in the country and defeated Georgetown in last year’s Big East Championship 1-0.

The Golden Eagles have struggled so far this year, losing to ranked Portland and Wisconsin as well as lowly Illinois State.

The Hoyas know better than to take any match for granted in conference play, however, beginning with DePaul (6-1-1) on Thursday afternoon.

They faced the Blue Demons twice last year, once in the regular season and once in the Big East tournament; both matches were tight affairs won by the Hoyas 1-0.

“They’re a very good defensive team and they’re a very well-coached team,” Nolan said. “It’ll be a tough game.”

That defense has been on display thus far this season. DePaul has surrendered only five goals in eight games, but on Thursday, the Hoyas’ balanced attack will pose a difficult test. It is unlikely the Blue Demons have faced an offense of Georgetown’s quality, led by preseason all-Big East selections Corboz and Brenn and leading scorer Ayotte.

Kickoff for the match is slated for Thursday at 3 p.m. on Shaw Field.

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