The unranked Georgetown women’s soccer team (3-2-1) will try to rebound from a difficult weekend as it faces No. 22 West Virginia (4-2-0) on Friday and then returns to the Hilltop for a Sunday matchup against George Washington (4-0-0).
The Hoyas were ranked No. 13 before a pair of losses in Blacksburg, Va., against Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Now the Blue and Gray look to rack up a couple more nonconference wins before Big East play begins on Thursday, Sept. 25 at DePaul.
Senior midfielder Daphne Corboz described the impact of the weekend’s losses on the Hoyas’ team mentality.
“We obviously were affected. So far, in my four years, I have never lost two games in a row in the regular season,” Corboz said. “We know it isn’t acceptable but we played two good ACC teams last week. Obviously, the mindset for tomorrow is to play well, to have a greater determination to win and hopefully to get a result against another great opponent.”
Head Coach Dave Nolan emphasized the difficulty of Friday night’s game, especially as it is the sixth game on the road in the Hoyas’ first seven matches, and games in Morgantown, W. Va., always draw a big crowd.
“It’s the third leg in a tough road swing. [West Virginia is a] perennial NCAA team, Big 12 regular season and conference champions last year, typically one of the top 10 to 20 teams in the country, and a very difficult place to go and play,” Nolan said. “Our goal this week has just been to try and get back to the things we’ve done well before this past weekend, when we came a little unstuck.”
The team did indeed come a little unstuck, giving up six goals to then-No. 5 Virginia Tech in a disheartening game which saw a couple of unlikely early goals and a few late ones to rub salt into the wound, resulting in the lopsided 6-1 score.
The Blue and Gray followed that up with an even more disappointing 2-0 loss against Wake Forest (2-3-0), a team that garnered no votes in the most recent NCAA poll due to its own bad loss at home against UNC Wilmington (3-3-0).
Corboz spoke about what the team will need to improve on to make this stretch of games better than the last.
“We need to all be focused and ready to play to avoid defensive mistakes. We also need to keep possession of the ball better up top and in the midfield,” Corboz said.
Positive results will not come easily, as GWU Colonials Head Coach Sarah Barnes has helped narrow the gap in quality between the two sides.
“There’s always a rivalry. To be fair, it’s been more on their side than it has been on our side typically,” Nolan said. “But Coach Sarah Barnes has done a great job over there; every year they’ve gotten better, every year they’ve closed the gap on us. And the last two times we’ve played them, certainly when we’ve played up at GWU, it’s been a real challenge.”
Though for now the Hoyas are preparing for their trip to Morgantown, Sunday’s GWU game is not far out of mind.
“We’re focusing on West Virginia right now, and then we’ll worry about Sunday playing a GWU team that maybe could be 7-0 [including exhibitions] by the time we play them, and flying high and full of confidence and ready to come to Georgetown and cause an upset,” Nolan said. Early games against good out-of-conference teams are all the more crucial for the Hoyas since the Big East offers relatively weak competition.
No. 21 DePaul is the Big East’s lone representative in the rankings, as preseason conference favorites Marquette find themselves unranked after consecutive losses against Big 10 teams Northwestern, Minnesota and Nebraska.
This lack of quality teams means that the Hoyas will have little chance later in the season to boost their resume for the NCAA tournament selection committee.
Despite the pressure to succeed before conference season, Nolan downplayed the idea that the West Virginia game on Friday is a must-win.
“I wouldn’t say a must-win, but I would certainly feel a win would be a huge NCAA resume boost,” Nolan said.
When asked who Georgetown’s key player would be this weekend, Nolan was quick to respond.
“I would probably have to say [junior midfielder] Marina [Paul], because we rely on her so much on the field, we rely on her as a captain to give us some leadership,” Nolan said. “[Also, I know she was very disappointed with this weekend’s results and to a degree her own performance.”
Though the lopsided losses to Virginia Tech and Wake Forest exaggerated the Hoyas’ lack of quality over the weekend, major offensive and defensive lapses did contribute to the losses.
Nevertheless, senior forward Vanessa Skrumbis and Corboz continue to rank near the top of the country in offensive categories, with Skrumbis tied for ninth in goals scored with six and Corboz tied for fifth in assists with five.
Before last Friday the defense had also given remarkably strong showings, allowing just one goal in three wins and a draw.
The Hoyas will hope to regain their confidence against the Mountaineers as they kick off Friday at 7 p.m.

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