FILE PHOTO: JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA Senior midfielder Daphne Corboz has seven goals to go along with 16 assists in 17 starts this season.
Senior midfielder Daphne Corboz has seven goals to go along with 16 assists in 17 starts this season.

The Georgetown women’s soccer team (10-3-4, 5-1-2 Big East) will travel to New Jersey on Friday to take on Seton Hall (3-9-5, 0-5-3 Big East) in each team’s final Big East regular-season match.

A Georgetown win, combined with a St. John’s (10-6-1, 6-1-1 Big East) loss at first-place DePaul (14-0-3, 6-0-2 Big East) on Friday afternoon would give the Hoyas a first-round bye in the Big East championship. On the other side of the pitch, the game means the difference between eighth and 10th for Seton Hall, who has been eliminated from tournament contention.

A tight, low-scoring affair would not be a surprise, as the Hoyas have only scored two goals in the last three games and the Pirates have only bagged six in their last 14. Both teams are tied for the conference lead in lowest goals against average, with 1.00 per game.

Head Coach Dave Nolan did not entirely know what to expect from Seton Hall; when he expected Creighton (9-6-2, 1-5-2 Big East) to sit in and defend, they attacked and racked up eight first-half shots to Georgetown’s two.

“We saw Creighton on Senior Day, and they played like their lives were … possessed,” Nolan said. “I don’t know. Creighton still had something to play for when we played them, but for Seton Hall it’s been a long, tough season. … More of a concern is that they lead the league in fouls, and it’s not even close. I think they’re first, second and third. We do need to keep the ball moving fast.”

The Pirates are first with 212 fouls on the season, but Marquette is second with 185. Georgetown has committed just 136 fouls in its 17 games, the second-fewest in the Big East.

Seton Hall’s goalkeeper, sophomore Illissa Blackshear, has kept the Pirates in games despite the team scoring just 12 goals all season; she leads the Big East with a 0.93 goals against average and lies second in save percentage, with a .825 mark.

Nolan has put a focus in practice on breaking teams down and creating good chances on goal.

“We’ve been working a lot on combination play, and we’ve been working on trying to play a little bit quicker in the final third,” Nolan said. “And we’ve been working on trying to get around the corner, and what happens when we get around their outside backs. We need to get more numbers into the box. Instead of people waiting to see what happens with the cross, we need to get people committed to the cross.”

Seton Hall has given other top Big East teams trouble this season, with both DePaul and St. John’s needing second-half goals to escape South Orange, NJ., with 1-0 victories.

Senior attacking midfielder Daphne Corboz knows that even though playing one last time on Shaw Field as the Big East championships’ third seed could be fun, the team needs to break Seton Hall down and earn a bye into the semifinals. The semifinals and final will be held on St. John’s campus in Jamaica, NY., on Nov. 7 and Nov. 9.

“We’re preparing for Seton Hall like we have been every game this season: focusing on our speed of play and creating chances, which is something that we’ve lacked recently,” Corboz said. “Seton Hall … [is] going to be a tough team to break down. And it is their last game, and their Senior Night, so they really don’t have much to lose. Hopefully they come out of their end.”

Corboz, who is a two-time All-American and leads the Big East in both assists and points, admits that the Hoyas have to create more chances to beat teams who sit in defensive shells.

“It’s really been very difficult to play when you have nine people behind the ball at times, and that has happened in a majority of our games,” Corboz said. “But it’s something we need to adapt to, and we haven’t really been able to. It obviously makes it difficult to create chances and it’s something that we’ve been trying to focus on in practice.”

Nolan reiterated, though, that Georgetown is not geared toward playing well on the flanks and getting crosses in. He only switches to a three-back system and two wing-backs late in close games, preferring instead to rely on quick combination play as the main method of attack.

“Basically, we need to move the ball really quickly, and when a seam opens up, we need to play it right away,” Corboz said. “So it’s just about getting that all in line, in terms of people seeing the pass and making the runs and hopefully catching a defense a little out of place.”

The Hoyas will start their final regular -season game on the road against the Pirates at 7 p.m.

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