AISHA MALHAS FOR THE HOYA
Sophomore forward Paula Germino-Watnick was one of four Hoyas to put a shot on goal against the Demon Deacons, but the team failed to ever break the scoreless tie before ultimately losing in penalty kicks.

At the onset of NCAA postseason play against Wake Forest on Friday, the Georgetown women’s soccer team hoped the adage, “offense wins games, defense wins championships,” would carry it deep into the NCAA tournament.  However, it was a lack of offense that ultimately doomed the Hoyas as they fell to the Demon Deacons in penalty kicks after a scoreless double overtime match.

“Tonight’s loss in penalty kicks was heartbreaking for this team,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “When you win, it’s fantastic, and when you lose, it’s gut wrenching.”

Georgetown’s (14-3-4, 6-1-2 Big East) loss against Wake Forest (11-5-4, 5-3-2 ACC) in the first round of the single-elimination tournament means the end of its otherwise successful season, continuing from the program’s 20-3-3 season last year.

The Hoyas came into Friday night’s game on the heels of their 3-0 victory in the Big East Championship game. The win secured both the regular season and postseason Big East title for the Blue and Gray, the first time it has accomplished such a feat. This also marks the fourth time in conference history that a team has won back-to-back postseason titles.

The postseason bid marked Georgetown’s eighth berth to the NCAA tournament in the program’s history.  Despite being ranked No. 15 by United Soccer Coaches, the NCAA selection committee awarded Georgetown a No. 11 seed in its region of the bracket, with Wake Forest the higher seed. As a result, the team had to travel on the road to take on the Demon Deacons.

In the first half of the contest, both teams failed to generate quality scoring opportunities. The Hoyas’ best chance came on a saved shot from sophomore midfielder Paula Germino-Watnick in the 18th minute.

Georgetown dominated possession in the second half, holding the advantage in shots at 5-4 and corner kicks at 5-0, as has been typical of the Hoyas this season, in which the Hoyas have averaged 18.6 shots per game while holding opponents to 4.7 shots per game. The Hoya defense was just as strong, with junior and Big East Goalkeeper of the Year Arielle Schechtman stopping any shot that Wake Forest took.

However, getting a goal across the line was the thorn in the Hoyas’ side, as senior and Big East Midfielder of the Year Rachel Corboz had a hand in two potential scoring chances that failed to come to fruition.

The game headed to overtime after both sides failed to break the scoreless tie in regulation.

The first overtime saw two dangerous chances for the Demon Deacons, but Schechtman made two acrobatic saves to rescue the game for Georgetown.

Junior forward Caitlin Farrell gave the Hoyas their best chance in double overtime with two shots that were inches away from ending the game, one of which hit woodwork.

Georgetown eventually lost in penalty kicks 2-1.

“Unfortunately, we came up short tonight, and I feel for the girls,” Nolan said.  “It wasn’t easy to go on the road against an excellent team, and I am very proud of our effort tonight.”

Failing to capitalize on offense once again doomed Georgetown. During the season, the team failed to score a goal in six out of their seven losses and draws, and only scored one in the seventh.

Seven seniors will leave the Hoyas at the end of the academic year, including Corboz, but seven of the team’s starters will return next season.

Even with the loss, Nolan praised his team’s efforts for its winning season.

“What great soccer players, but even more importantly what great kids they are. I really can’t ask for any more from them,” Nolan said. “In a few days, they will be able to look back at all they achieved this year, and the pain will go away.”

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