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

Georgetown Ready for UMBC in Home Opener

With an all-American packing her bags to fly out to Chile for the FIFA Women’s Under-21 World Cup, an Icelandic national team player out for the season with a torn ACL, two team members leaving to focus on the pre-med track, and an unusually young team, the end of the preseason marks a nervous beginning to what will be a testing season for the Hoyas.

The Blue and Gray played their season-opener against American University, taking the game to overtime and finally defeating their rivals 2-1.

The host American took the lead halfway through the first period, and the Hoyas were not able to reciprocate until the 57th minute, when midfielders senior Sara Jordan and freshman Kelly D’Ambrisi linked up to create a chance for junior forward Toni Marie Hudson, who fired home the equalizer, giving the Hoyas a lifeline to cling on to. D’Ambrisi again acted as playmaker when she and senior midfielder Stephanie Zare shared the assist that led to freshman midfielder Samantha Baker blasting the ball past the keeper to snatch victory from the Eagles’ talons, in front of a 1,400-strong Eagle crowd.

“They really pushed the game,” Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan said of American. “It was a bit of an intimidating setting. We were certainly the better team and we certainly should have won it, but I’m not saying we couldn’t have played better.”

Last spring, the addition of eight new freshmen to a team of NCAA veterans was an exciting prospect, but with the new season now upon the Hoyas, Nolan has to deal with a variety of changes to the team.

The coach will lose the services of sophomore midfielder Ingrid Wells, whose stellar debut season earned her a place on the national youth team. Also missing all of the season will be Icelandic freshman forward Greta Samuelsdottir, an explosive prospect for the Hoyas for the upcoming campaign who will have surgery performed on a torn ACL next Tuesday. She tore her ACL while practicing with her national team.

To add to the equation is the departure of sophomores forward Daryn Towle and midfielder Lauren Von Der Ahe, both of whom, according to Nolan, have medicine in their academic futures and have thus decided to sacrifice their athletic endeavors.

The coaching staff’s biggest worry going into the preseason with a diminished attack – not just by losing Wells, Samuelsdottir, Towle and Von Der Ahe, but also graduating forward Sarah Fetters (MSB ’08) and set-piece specialist defender Karen Waskewich (MSB ’08) last year – was the lack of creating goal-scoring opportunities for the strikers to finish off.

But things are not as bad as they seem – rather than leaving a gaping hole in attack, the departing players left instead a vacuum that was filled up with players who may have, in the past, lived in the shadow of the big names on the team, but who now have an opportunity to share the limelight with their own skill set.

Nolan named Jordan, a fifth-year senior, and Hudson as two key players who have stepped up their game to make up for the losses suffered in attack by the Hoyas. Jordan was the team’s top-scorer last year, raking in seven goals and five assists, and is by far the most experienced player on the field. Hudson was not too far behind with five goals and two assists to her name, and an on-field presence and pace that is intimidating even to the best of defenses.

The coach was also noticeably impressed with sophomore midfielder Caitlin Durkee, whom he dubbed as “only a sophomore, but she plays as if she’s older than she actually is.”

Nolan also pointed out freshman D’Ambrisi, who came in as a “huge surprise” with the quality of play she brought to the team in game situations. “The highest praise I can give Kelly,” Nolan said, “is that she does so many of the things Ingrid does so well.”

A worrisome area for the team, however, is the young defense. With no real dominant personality leading the rest of the backline (Nolan said sophomore defender Michaela Buonomo was “too nice” to be a force on the field despite a “fantastic” freshman season), coupled with a relatively young goalkeeper guarding the posts (sophomore Jackie DesJardin, who played in 16 of the 22 games last season), Nolan is concerned about the implications an inexperienced defense may have when it comes to high-pressure games.

Fortunately, senior Alex Gargano returns to the back four as a veteran of last season, starting most of the games she played in. Gargano, alongside classmate Laura Snyder and junior Norah Swanson, will offer some degree of experience which Nolan will be able to call upon when the time comes.

The Hoyas will kick off their home slate today at 2:30 p.m., when they will host the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, at the North Kehoe field as part of the D.C. Invitational Tournament, which will last all weekend.

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