The No. 7 Georgetown women’s soccer team advanced to the semifinals of the Big East championship with a 4-0 quarterfinal victory over Butler on Tuesday.
Looking to advance to the program’s first Big East championship, Georgetown (15-2-2, 6-1-2 Big East) will take on DePaul (10-6-2, 7-2 Big East), at 2 p.m. on Friday at Shaw Field.
The Hoyas survived and advanced, thanks to two goals by sophomore forward Amanda Carolan and a strong individual performance from sophomore goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman.
Butler (11-7-2, 4-4-1 Big East) played a back five and largely kept the game to a scrappy midfield battle for possession, but Georgetown dominated the game’s chances, requiring Butler redshirt freshman goalkeeper Hannah Luedtke to make several key saves.
After starting 81 consecutive games for the team, Bulldogs senior midfielder Serina Kashimoto could not play due to injury.
Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan acknowledged that when the Hoyas led 1-0 in the 62nd minute, the game’s final result remained in doubt, and some referees might have called a penalty as Georgetown’s central defenders shepherded the ball to Schechtman on a Butler breakaway.
“At this stage of the season, once you get into the postseason, it’s all about survive and move on. So I’m happy we won,” Nolan said. “I thought we played quite well against a team who were determined to keep the game as tight for as long as possible. And at 1-0, it’s always a game that anything could happen. … But, overall, I don’t think you can dispute that we were the better team for the number of chances we created.”
Immediately following the penalty shot, Schechtman punted the ball down the field, finding Carolan in stride for her second goal, giving the Hoyas a two-goal lead.
“It shows that we have more ways of scoring than just one single way, and it makes it harder for teams to defend us,” Carolan said. “You can’t just defend us doing one thing. If you do that, we’ll find another way. And it also shows how committed each player on the team is to attacking and going forward, and playing the smart pass that could potentially become a goal.”
Carolan’s first goal came after a slow start and was the product of a goalmouth scramble in which even the goal scorer was not entirely sure of what happened.
“The first goal was an interesting one,” Carolan said. “All I remember is, [senior forward] Grace [Damaska] took a really good touch, and her first instinct was to get the ball in the box. My first instinct was to make sure the ball gets into the goal. So I’m not really sure how exactly it happened, but, as it was, going towards the goal there was a defender, so I went to knee it over the line, and their girl hit it off, but it definitely went over the line.”
The Georgetown offense kicked into high gear by the end of the match, as graduate student forward Crystal Thomas and sophomore forward Caitlin Farrell created several chances. Freshman midfielder Carson Nizialek notched the crucial third goal off a Farrell cross in the 75th minute, and Thomas rounded out the scoring less than two minutes later.
Despite the goals, though, a lack of finishing from corners does not help the Hoyas’ offensive production. Entering the game, Georgetown led the Big East with 146 corners; in second was Depaul with just 96.
“I’d be hard-pressed to think that there’s another team in the country that has as many corner kicks as us,” Nolan said. “And for the life of me, I can’t understand how we don’t score more. … It just seems like there’s a magnet around that ball that just keeps veering away when we have moments.”
In their last six games against the Blue Demons, the Hoyas have a 0-3-3 record and have fallen in the tournament at their hands in two of their last three meetings. Just last Sunday, DePaul tallied four first-half goals in a 4-1 rout at Shaw Field.
“It’s a huge game,” Carolan said. “We have two losses this season, one to Stanford and one to DePaul. It’s everything to us. They came here, and they beat us — and that’s not okay. We need to come out and show them that it wasn’t okay and that that wasn’t our best performance. We need to focus on … showing them that we were better than that.”
With Georgetown hosting the Big East tournament, Marquette (11-6-2, 7-2 Big East) will take on St. John’s (11-3-2, 5-2-2 Big East) in the first semifinal on Shaw Field at 11:30 a.m. Friday. Georgetown against DePaul will follow at 2 p.m.
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