Women’s Soccer | Strong First Half Propels GU to Victory

FILE PHOTO: JENNA CHEN/THE HOYA Junior midfielder Rachel Corboz tallied one goal and one assist against Villanova on Wednesday. She has eight goals and eight assists on the year and leads the team in points with 24.

Junior midfielder Rachel Corboz tallied one goal and one assist against Villanova on Wednesday. She has eight goals and eight assists on the year and leads the team in points with 24.

The No. 7 Georgetown women’s soccer team (11-1-2, 3-0-2 Big East) enjoyed a second consecutive home blowout victory on Wednesday, riding a four-goal first half to a 5-1 win over Villanova (3-11, 1-4 Big East).

The victory extends Georgetown’s unbeaten run to 12 matches, while the lone Villanova tally sees the end of a strong defensive stretch during which the Hoyas had not conceded a goal in 748 minutes.

Again, just as in the 5-0 victory against Butler (8-5-2, 1-3-1 Big East) on Sunday, Georgetown started strong, putting up four goals and 10 shots by halftime; senior midfielder Grace Damaska and sophomore midfielder Caitlin Farrell — who each scored inside 20 minutes — used their pace consistently to get around the Wildcat outside backs and latch onto through balls.

“It was a typical midweek, early game,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of atmosphere to it. You have to give Villanova credit; they went for it. … Then we started to do what we do well, which is get the ball wide, use our pace and create chances off that. And it just opens up the game, and people like Rachel have the chance to get on the ball.”

Despite the streak-breaking late goal by Villanova on a seemingly harmless cross, which frustrated players and coach alike, Nolan exuded praise for the team’s defensive strength and sophomore goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman’s overall cross-claiming ability.

“[Graduate student defender Marina Paul and junior defender Liz Wenger] complement each other really well,” Nolan said. “For the most part you have both your bases covered there, in that [Paul] tends to dominate in the air, and it’s very difficult to get behind us with [Wenger’s] pace. And both of our fullbacks have been doing a good job.”

Georgetown’s first goal came after a surprising period of Villanova pressure in the first 10 minutes. On the counterattack, Damaska found herself with the ball running into acres of space and calmly found Farrell’s run for a simple tap-in.

In a similar situation six minutes later, Damaska chose to take the opportunity herself and beat the keeper at the near post for the two-goal lead.

Junior midfielder Rachel Corboz, who remains near the top of the nation in offensive production, also added a goal, finishing well from just outside the box in the 28th minute.

Corboz knows the importance of each game in the conference schedule, as only the top six qualify for the Big East Championships at season’s end.

“Villanova doesn’t have a great record right now, but they always come out and play like it’s their last game,” Corboz said. “Every Big East game is a big game, so we know that we need to come out strong because you never know what’s going to happen …  Since we started Big East [play] we’ve had trouble scoring, so it’s definitely been good these past two games to get goals.”

Though the second half played out similarly to the first, in that Villanova pressed and then the game opened up for Georgetown, Nolan was disappointed with the Hoyas’ inability to finish as strong as they started.

However, he was impressed with the substitutes who earned a substantial amount of playing time.

“Similar to the game on Sunday, when we had the chance to push home with our advantage, we didn’t. It’s hard to figure out,” Nolan said. “We’ve taken our foot off the gas …  I thought [sophomore midfielder] Meghan Shaver in particular was very good in the second half … The kids that came in at the back did well for us.”

Thomas extended Georgetown’s lead further in the 41st minute, cutting inside onto her right foot and finishing with a rocket in off the far post.

She added a penalty goal in the 80th minute, bringing her total to eight on the season.

The Hoyas next travel on Sunday to take on Marquette (8-5-2, 4-1-0 Big East) at 1 p.m. in Milwaukee.

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