WSoc GARPHYou cannot win if you do not score. This adage rings true in nearly all sports, but it holds a special significance in soccer, where goals are particularly hard to come by.

Fortunately, the Georgetown women’s soccer team (3-2-0) began its 2015 season with an offense that has had little trouble finding the back of the net. The Hoyas have scored 10 goals in just five games and have been shut out only once. Collectively, the team has already taken 80 shots, while its opponents have tallied only 42.

The team’s offensive success can largely be attributed to three dynamic forwards who have each stepped up to lead the Hoyas’ attack. For graduate student forward Audra Ayotte, junior forward Grace Damaska and senior forward Crystal Thomas, the statistics speak for themselves.

Together, Ayotte and Damaska have scored 60 percent of the team’s goals this season, netting three goals apiece thus far.

“Audra, Crystal and myself are really starting to click,” Damaska said. “We are all very dynamic players with speed and quickness. Audra and Crystal’s skill on the ball is really helpful going at people, whereas I am more helpful getting in behind and using my speed to attack. We complement each other very well.”

Two of Ayotte’s three goals have been game-winners, demonstrating that she is not only a capable goal-scorer, but also has a knack for scoring at the most crucial moments.

“Audra is a very smart soccer player. She has a great feel for the game,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “She has enough experience and composure in the box that she should be scoring goals, and she has [been].”

Damaska has taken nine shots this season. Seven of those shots have been on net, making her the team leader in both shots on goal and shots on goal percentage with 77.8 percent.

Thomas, who transferred from Notre Dame last year and was ineligible for her junior season, has not been able to find the back of the net yet with the Hoyas. However, she is no stranger to goal-scoring.
During her standout freshman season, Thomas led the Fighting Irish in scoring, netting 10 goals to go along with two assists and a team-best 25 shots on goal.

Forward Grace Damaska

This season, Thomas has already recorded two assists for the Hoyas. She has also taken a team-high 17 shots, nearly a quarter of the team’s total. It likely won’t be long before one of those shots finds its way past an opposing team’s goalkeeper.

“[Thomas] brings a lot of energy. I expected to her to have scored a few goals by now. She would be the first one to admit that when the chances have come her way, she hasn’t taken them,” Nolan said.

Despite the team’s early offensive accomplishments, Nolan still feels that there is room for improvement. Specifically, he would to like to see his team capitalize on more offensive opportunities.

“I still don’t feel we are scoring enough goals. I think we are waiting for that one breakout game,” Nolan said. “It’s not like we haven’t had chances. In this weekend’s games, we’re hoping to score a little bit more.”

It is not surprising that Nolan is expecting to rely on increased offensive production from Ayotte, Damaska and Thomas, in particular.

“I am looking for both Grace and Audra to finish the season with at least 10 goals,” Nolan said.
Additionally, Nolan anticipates that once Thomas finds the back of the net for the first time, it will be hard for opponents to continue to keep her off the score sheet.

“Crystal is our best finisher, and normally when the ball is at her feet and she is in a goal scoring opportunity, it’s a goal,” Nolan said. “Once the first [goal] comes, we’re going to start seeing a lot more [from Thomas].”

With Ayotte, Damaska and Thomas leading the team’s offense, the Georgetown community is bound to see some impressive soccer in the Hoyas’ offensive third.

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