After the most successful season in the program’s history, the Georgetown women’s soccer team has cemented its place as one of the powerhouses of NCAA Division I women’s soccer, despite playing in the Big East, a non-“Power Five” conference.

The Hoyas (21-1-3, 8-0-1 Big East) did not drop a game all season until their 1-0 double-overtime defeat in the College Cup semifinals against the University of North Carolina, the most accomplished program in Division I women’s soccer.

Georgetown won its second straight Big East regular season title and third straight Big East postseason championship, the first team to reach this feat since Notre Dame won seven straight Big East championships from 1995 to 2001.

The Big East championship win set up the Blue and Gray for its seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, slotted as the top seed in the region. After taking down Central Connecticut State University and Washington State University in the first rounds, the Hoyas dominated fourth-seeded Duke University 4-1 and second-seeded Baylor University 3-0 to reach the four-team College Cup for the second time in the last three years.

Despite the result, Georgetown proved it is one of the best women’s soccer programs in the nation. The Hoyas played the Tar Heels roughly through almost 110 minutes of scoreless action before finally conceding a goal, even with star senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman on the sidelines for the last 20 minutes because of a knee injury.

A Sept. 2 win on the road over longtime rival West Virginia University, which finished the season ranked 14th nationally according to the United Soccer Coaches’ Poll, set the tone for the Hoyas’ season. In 2017, West Virginia came to the Hilltop and walked away with a 1-0 victory. This year, however, the Hoyas’ stout defense shut out the Mountaineers, while junior defender Meaghan Nally and graduate student forward Kyra Carusa scored goals to secure a victory.

Georgetown’s success can be attributed to the day-in, day-out performance of its defense. Anchoring the backline was Schechtman, who led the nation with shutouts this season with 15 and was second in goals-against average at .308 and save percentage at .917. Additionally, Schechtman became the all-time career leader at Georgetown with 47 shutouts.

SOPHIA NUNN/THE HOYA | After a loss in the College Cup semifinals, the Georgetown women’s soccer team finished its most successful season ever.

Schechtman was named one of 15 MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalists and the Big East goalkeeper of the year and was on the all-Big East first team. Schechtman also received a spot on the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-American first team.

Nally was the other cornerstone of Georgetown’s defense, allowing just nine goals all season for a goals-against average of .384, which was second best in the country. Nally was named third team All-American and Big East defensive player of the year for her efforts.

Coming into the season, there were concerns that the Hoyas would not be able to produce enough offense to match the strong play of their defense after the graduation of midfielder Rachel Corboz last year. Those concerns, however, were alleviated by senior forward Caitlin Farrell, who produced one of the best individual statistical seasons in program history. Farrell led the Hoyas with 39 points, the fourth most in the nation. This included 18 goals, which is tied for most in a single season in program history and third most in the nation. She also came up clutch when Georgetown needed a goal most, finishing second in the country in game-winning goals with eight.

Farrell accrued a long list of accolades for her season, including a unanimous selection as Big East offensive player of the year, most outstanding offensive player in the Big East tournament, first team All-American and, most notably, one of the three women’s finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy. She is the first player in Georgetown women’s soccer history to be selected as a finalist for the award.

Complementing Farrell on offense was Carusa, who transferred from Stanford University after winning a 2017 national championship. Carusa finished with 32 points, second most for the Hoyas. This included three goals and four assists in the NCAA tournament. She was named one of 11 players among the final four teams onto the College Cup all-tournament team for her play.

Carusa’s steady play up top all season allowed Farrell to make her signature runs down the right sideline and allowed junior midfielder and forward Paula Germino-Watnick to create offense under pressure. Germino-Watnick had seen inconsistent action in her first two years on the Hilltop but performed well this year, establishing a role as a key offensive contributor. Her best performance was in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, where she produced five points off a pair of goals and an assist to help the Hoyas take down the Duke Blue Devils.  

Like every year, Head Coach Dave Nolan, whose staff won United Soccer Coaches regional staff of the year, will have to replace the production of players who have graduated from the program. Carusa, Schechtman, Farrell, starting forward Amanda Carolan and starting center defender Jenna Staudt have all played their last games with the Blue and Gray.

Germino-Watnick and Nally will have to step up their play even further. Junior goalkeeper Lauren Gallagher, who played admirably in Schechtman’s absence during the College Cup semifinal, will have to prove that she can be the rock that anchors a defense over the course of a season.

The Hoyas, however, have enough young talent on their roster. Sophomore Kelly Ann Livingstone was another key contributor to Georgetown’s defense, holding down the fort as the center back opposite Staudt, and freshman defender Jenna Royson worked her way into a starting role by the end of the year. On offense, freshman forward Boo Jackson carved out a spot off the bench, and sophomore Grace Nguyen controlled the ball and directed the offense from the midfield.

Georgetown has the foundation to achieve this level of success in the future. However, with a wealth of key players graduating, Nolan and the Hoyas have work to do to match this season’s run.

One Comment

  1. Bill Licamele says:

    And Dave Nolan and staff named national coaching staff of the year What a team. Very proud. Go hoyas and thanks for a great year. ??

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