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

Female Athlete of the Year: Ingrid Wells

Mark Twain once said, “It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

Nothing could more accurately describe freshman midfielder Ingrid Wells, who is the smallest player in the Hoya roster, and usually the smallest player on the field at 5-foot-2, but whose size is no measure of her fierce competitiveness, fiery speed and immense talent.

Head Coach Dave Nolan said Wells is his “midfield general” with a “fantastic soccer brain.”

Wells has wowed the crowds at North Kehoe and beyond since her first touch on the ball. Donning the No. 9 jersey, known to have graced the backs of such prodigious athletes as Ronaldo, Fernando Torres and Mia Hamm, Wells has proven herself worthy of the number and the tradition behind it by sharing those athletes’ aggressive playing style.

ore often than the opposition would wish to recollect, this past season saw Wells darting past throngs of confounded defenders with the ball at her feet, her nimble-footed trickery and lightening speed leaving them eating her dust. The Hoya forwards benefited from her intelligent playmaking in the midfield with her deft through-balls and pinpoint crosses to her teammates. When the ball was not at her feet, she would either fight to win it back – she’s not afraid to take on a player half a head taller than her for a header – or prowl the offensive frontlines for an opportunity to steal a goal from underneath the defense’s nose.

“I expect her to make an immediate impact in our program both on and off the field,” Nolan said of Wells before the season had even started. Just how great of an impact Wells did end up making, even she did not expect.

“Coming in, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Wells said. “I knew college soccer was going to be different from the levels I’d played at before.”

Yet, the freshman had no trouble fitting into the team, starting in all 21 of the Hoyas’ matches, and it was only a matter of time before opponents became wary of the feisty midfielder.

Despite her small stature, Wells’ stats were supersized. Wells finished her inaugural season sharing the season-topscorer honors with senior forward Sara Jordan, both of whom racked six goals apiece. The freshman also recorded 13 assists, eighth most in the nation.

Wells led the Hoyas with 25 points, well above Jordan’s second-place effort of 17. By comparison, the points leader the previous season tallied just 15.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that Wells’ arrival to the Hilltop coincides with the Hoyas’ best season since the inception of the program. Wells recalls the highlights of her exciting first year with the Blue and Gray: reaching the final four of the Big East tournament and being selected to play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better season for myself as a freshman,” Wells said.

Nolan agreed that Wells’ talent was a necessary ingredient of the team’s success this past year.

“The others didn’t know it then, but I knew the incoming recruits could help us. I knew Ingrid was going to come in and help a lot,” Nolan said.

While some freshmen are inconsistent and fade over the course of their first collegiate season, Wells only got better as the year went on. One week in late October, Wells was on fire, propelling Georgetown to three straight Big East wins late in the regular season.

On Oct. 21, Wells set up two goals in the first nine minutes. Then, in the 27th minute, the midfielder put home a goal to go with her pair of assists. Her tally put the game out of reach, and the Hoyas earned a 4-2 home win over Pittsburgh.

Two days later, the Hoyas travelled to Tampa, Fla., to make up a game against South Florida that had been rained out earlier in the month. The Bulls, well aware of Wells’ prowess in the middle of the field, draped a double team on the reigning Big East rookie of the week for the entire first half. Georgetown managed just two shots and had little going on offense in the scoreless first period.

“In the second half, we moved [Wells] to the left, where she could isolate her man-marker one v. one, and she did,” Nolan told THE HOYA after the game. “In the first seven minutes of the second half, before they figured what was happening, we scored two goals on two great serves from Ingrid.”

Georgetown won 2-0 as Wells added two assists to her season total.

On Friday, in the Hoyas’ third game in six days, Wells erupted for four assists as Georgetown blew past Cincinnati, 5-0, on North Kehoe Field.

The win over the Bearcats ensured the Hoyas a first-round bye in the Big East tournament, and Wells was also responsible for putting Georgetown through to the quarterfinals.

In the 74th minute of the tournament game against 23rd-ranked Connecticut, Wells buried a penalty kick for the only score of the match. The goal was Wells’ third game-winner of her young career.

Wells, the 2006-2007 New Jersey Gatorade player of the year and an NSCAA all-American in high school, added to her collection of accolades this year. She was crowned Big East rookie of the year and named to the all-Big East first team. She was also a finalist for SoccerBuzz’s national freshman of the year award and racked up all-American honors: She was third team all-American, first team freshman all-American and first team all-Mid Atlantic.

The proverbial cherry on top for the New Jersey native was, however, a call-up by the U.S. Under-20 international squad. The honor is the stuff of soccer players’ childhood dreams and is what Wells revealed to be her personal goal as well.

“When I first found out, I couldn’t believe it,” Wells recalled. “It’s something I’ve been hoping to get an opportunity for my whole career, and it was great that it finally happened. I was training with girls from all over the country, and the level was so high. I really enjoyed it.”

Wells plans to improve upon the phenomenal start to her Georgetown career as the 2008-2009 season begins, and her personal wish is to make it to the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row, and this time to make it past the first round.

“Every chance I get to play, I try to utilize it the best that I can,” Wells said. “Soccer’s been a part of my life for ever. It’s just something I really enjoy, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without it.”

– Hoya Staff Writers Ryan Travers and Kevin Wessel contributed to this report.

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