The Georgetown women’s soccer team (11-5-4, 6-1-2 Big East) failed to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament in the same heartbreaking fashion that sent it home last weekend in the Big East tournament semifinal. The Hoyas were tied 2-2 with the Hofstra Pride (13-5-2, 7-1-1 CAA) after two overtime periods, but ultimately fell on penalty kicks 4-2.
“It’s obviously a painful way for the season to end. Especially having just gone through it in the Big East tournament as well,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “At some point, the season ends. For most teams it ends on a loss, for us it ends on a tie.”
Hofstra got off to a fast start with a pair of corner kicks in the first few minutes before settling in. Georgetown did not register a shot until the 13th minute, and could not manage much quality attacking play early.
Georgetown’s first quality chance came in the 28th minute when sophomore midfielder Rachel Corboz rocketed a shot from the top of the box that took an awkward bounce before Hofstra junior goalkeeper Friederike Mehring saved it with her head. The shot helped the Hoyas gather some momentum, which they held until late in the half when the Pride had a few opportunities that nearly gave them the lead.
With four minutes remaining in the first half, Hofstra senior forward Leah Galton broke free and dribbled toward the net. Georgetown graduate student goalkeeper Emma Newins came off her line and deflected the shot, and the ball went rolling towards the net. However, sophomore defender Drew Topor came sprinting in to clear the ball off the goal line and preserve the scoreless tie.
Georgetown endured another scare at the end of the half when Hofstra appeared to have scored, but the goal was called back because the Hofstra player was deemed offside by the referee.
The Blue and Gray came out of the half and immediately faced a deficit when Hofstra freshman defender Madeline Anderson headed in a goal off a corner kick in the 47th minute.
Georgetown responded with its dynamic attack as it searched for the equalizer. The Hoyas found their equalizer in the 55th minute when sophomore midfielder Chloe Knott created a scoring chance by faking a shot before passing to graduate student forward Melissa Downey, who delivered the equalizing goal to the far post.
Georgetown continued to create great chances and dominate the play, led by the dangerous offensive attack of junior forward Grace Damaska. Damaska had a great opportunity in the 70th minute with just the keeper to beat after making a fantastic run, but her shot was saved at point-blank range.
Georgetown’s momentum was crushed in the 78th minute, when Galton earned a penalty kick while dribbling away from the goal at the top of the box. The Hoyas were not happy about the call.
“We were dominating the play up until then and she was dribbling the ball away from the goal. It was a very soft call; it’s not fair to decide a game like that,” Newins said.
Galton subsequently converted the penalty kick, which put Georgetown on its heels.
Georgetown pushed numbers forward, and in the 84th minute the Hoyas found a late equalizer when Damaska got behind the defense and found herself one-on-one with Mehring.
“The fact that she got us back into the game with that goal was huge,” senior forward Crystal Thomas said. “I’m proud of the way we fought back because I know we did it for each other out on the field. I think it shows the strength of this group.”
Regulation ended with the score tied and the match headed to overtime.
Hofstra failed to record a single shot in either overtime period. Georgetown had four shots, including one key opportunity when Damaska found herself one-on-one with Mehring again, but the goalkeeper made a save to keep the score tied.
Overtime ended, and the Hoyas headed to penalty kicks to decide who would advance to the second round and whose season would come to an end.
Both teams converted their first two penalty kicks, but two misses from Damaska and sophomore forward Leah McCullough sealed the shootout for the Pride and ended Georgetown’s season.
“It’s disappointing going out on penalty kicks because it doesn’t really reflect the way we played today,” Newins said. “It’s just disappointing to finish this way.”
The Hoyas will lose eight players next season. This team will have a difficult time moving on from this season.
“They’re a quiet group, but they really enjoy being around each other. I think that’s part of the sadness right now,” Nolan said. “That realization that the soccer side of their camaraderie is finished until the spring and it will change the dynamic because obviously the seniors will be moving on.”
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