Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

WOMEN’S SOCCER | Hoyas Break Quarterfinal Curse

Redshirt senior midfielder Ingrid Wells (9) lofts a shot over Syracuse goalkeeper Brittany Anghel for the Hoyas’ third goal Sunday.
Redshirt senior midfielder Ingrid Wells (9) lofts a shot over Syracuse goalkeeper Brittany Anghel for the Hoyas’ third goal Sunday.

After going 282 long minutes over three years without a goal in conference tournament play, Georgetown (15-5, 8-3 Big East) took just seconds to snap its streak of scoreless soccer on Sunday afternoon. The Hoyas struck early against archival Syracuse (7-8-3, 6-5 Big East) with a goal in the first minute en route to a 3-1 victory in the Big East tournament quarterfinals.

Victims of back-to-back 1-0 double-overtime defeats at the same stage of the competition in 2009 and 2010, the Hoyas punched their ticket to Morgantown, W. Va., with a scrappy victory against an aggressive Orange side.

“We just needed to take care of business today. It wasn’t a pretty game at all, and I don’t think we played our best, but we still got the win [and] that’s what good teams do,” redshirt senior midfielder Ingrid Wells said.

After defeating their New York rivals 3-1 Sept. 23, Georgetown faced an aggressive and at times ugly affair in the always-difficult rematch. The visitors successfully disrupted the Blue and Gray’s rhythm offensively but posed little threat to the Georgetown defense throughout the afternoon.

Playing with a high defensive line in an effort to pressure and stifle Georgetown’s offensive weapons, Syracuse was left with acres of open field behind its back four — space that speedy senior striker Camille Trujillo, the most accomplished goal-scorer in program history, exploited in the early going.

A long, cross-field ball from senior forward Sam Baker found a streaking Trujillo alone with the keeper inside the penalty area in the first minute. Syracuse sophomore goalkeeper Brittany Anghel parried Trujillo’s effort, but freshman midfielder Daphne Corboz was waiting to pounce on the rebound. Corboz calmly converted her golden opportunity, placing the ball into the back of the net for her 10th goal of the season a mere 52 seconds from the opening whistle.

In the 19th minute another through ball, this time from senior midfielder Kelly D’Ambrisi, found Trujillo on a trademark penetrating run through the heart of the defense. The Hoyas’ leading goal-scorer received the ball in the center of the pitch, rounded the final Orange defender, and wrong-footed Anghel, stepping past the goalie and composedly slotting the ball home into the empty net.

While the Blue and Gray were thrilled by the quick start, the two-goal advantage instilled a sense of complacency that was enough to cause concern among both coaches and players.

“[I] asked them to come out flying and set a high tempo … but to be honest probably the worst thing that could’ve happened to us was scoring so early,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “I think we got into the mindset of ‘this is going to be another 6-0 game,’ and I just didn’t think we played well.”

Wells, too, noted that her team struggled to connect following the early offensive display.

“Scoring early on is obviously a good thing, but I think also our mentality shifted a little, maybe not for the best,” she said. “[We were] a little too confident, because I don’t think we played the game like we usually do possession-wise and to our feet. I just don’t think we got into a rhythm the way that we usually play.”

Georgetown controlled the run of play for the remainder of the half, but Nolan was blunt in addressing his team during the break.

“I’m a performance guy, and I told the kids this at halftime: that I thought the first-half performance was the worst performance of the year, and that I knew they [could] do better,” Nolan said. “We have to find ways to perform well, and then the results will take care of themselves.”

The Hoyas continued to dictate play in the second period, and added to their lead when a shot was blocked by the hand of an Orange defender in the box, resulting in a penalty kick. Anghel produced a fine save on Wells’ attempt from the spot, diving to parry the effort off the post. However, the rebound fell to Wells, who made good on her second opportunity, settling and converting from short range in the 51st minute.

The visitors added a consolation goal in the 76th minute, heading home a shot which followed from a corner kick, but the Blue and Gray’s three goals were enough to secure the 15th win of the season — equaling the school record set in last season’s run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.

Aggression and intensity boiled over in the waning minutes as Georgetown’s attempts to close out the result drew the ire of their frustrated opponents. The angst gained critical mass in the 85th minute when Syracuse junior midfielder Tina Romagnuolo was assessed her second yellow card for dissent in less than 60 seconds and shoved Georgetown sophomore defender Alex Bushman on her way off the pitch.

“It was definitely physical, and it obviously got out of hand with the red card,” Wells said. “I’m still taken aback a little; I’ve never played in a game that was like that.”

Just because the Hoyas have now realized their goal of reaching the Big East semifinals for the first time since 2007 does not mean that their appetite for success is satisfied, however.

“We set our goals as we go, and as we started to get down the run of it we felt that this was the year we wanted to get back to the Big East tournament and solidify ourselves as one of the top four teams in one of the best conferences in the country,” Nolan said. “The next step now is to make a Big East championship.”

Georgetown now travels to face top-seeded tournament host West Virginia, who beat the Hoyas 3-1 at North Kehoe field on Sept. 30. The Blue and Gray’s bid for redemption will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in Morgantown, W. Va.

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