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

St. John’s Bounces GU From Big East Tourney

Hopes were high for the Georgetown women’s soccer team heading into this weekend’s Big East quarterfinal tilt with St. John’s, as a win would have put the Hoyas in great position to earn their second NCAA tournament berth in three years. Unfortunately for Georgetown, dropping a 1-0 double-overtime decision to the Red Storm (13-5-1, 7-5-1 Big East) means that the Hoyas (12-6-2, 6-5-1 Big East) will likely be left out in the cold by the NCAA committee for the second straight year.

“I felt going into the game today [that] whichever team between us and St. John’s won would probably be in,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “Unfortunately, whichever one lost would probably be out. My gut feeling right now is that we would definitely be on the outside.”

The game started well for the Hoyas, who outshot the Red Storm 9-4 in the first half, forcing St. John’s sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Russell to make three saves to keep the game scoreless. Georgetown was unable to carry that momentum over into the second half, however, when pressure from the Red Storm forced Hoyas’ sophomore goalkeeper Elizabeth Hanna to make three saves of her own.

“I thought we probably had the slightly better of it in the first half,” Nolan said. “[And] I felt they probably had the slightly better of it in the second half, and I felt we were the better team in overtime. . I really felt that if a team was going to score, it was going to be us.”

The first 10-minute overtime came and went innocently enough, as both teams mustered two shots but never seriously threatened to win the game. Just over two minutes into the second overtime, however, disaster struck for the Blue and Gray when a long shot from a Red Storm defender without a goal to her name all season, senior Tara Mendoza, evaded Hanna and ended the game.

“The goal was a little bit unfortunate,” Nolan said. “[The game] was headed for penalties, it was either going to be a goal of great genius or it was going to be a goal of good fortune – and I felt the goal was a goal of good fortune. . A kid hit a shot from distance – a pretty comfortable shot – but Elizabeth was playing into a pretty blinding sun [and] she couldn’t quite get her hands where they needed to be.”

As painful as it was for the Hoyas to lose this game, and most likely their chance to make the tournament, Nolan said he does not think that the most recent loss particularly stands out against the backdrop of the season as a whole.

“I think, unfortunately, what we saw today was probably indicative of the season,” Nolan said on Sunday. “We could play some fantastic soccer but somehow just not find a way to kill off games when we had the chance.”

As potent as the Georgetown offense was, ranking at or near the top of the Big East in most major offensive categories, it fizzled down the stretch as the Hoyas found the back of the net only once in their last three games. On the other side of the field, the defense generally played well, but struggled to completely shut opponents down.

“We’ve only had three shutouts on the season, and typically the better teams have more than that,” Nolan lamented. “We just had a habit of giving up maybe one goal a game, and that’s what hurt us also.”

All told, it is a tough pill to swallow for a team – and a coach – that was in a very similar situation at the end of last year, and suffered a similarly tough defeat at the hands of the Connecticut Huskies.

“We’re so close,” Nolan said. “We were in the same situation last year going into our Big East quarterfinal game against UConn, [a 2-1 Georgetown loss]. I felt if we won that we were in. … We’re really close. We just have to find a way to win those tight games.”

The Hoyas’ performance in overtime games this year is a major factor in their status as a bubble team heading into the selection process, as they have played in six overtime or double-overtime games, and compiled a 1-3-2 record.

“Sometimes when you get into those games, you need an element of luck,” Nolan said. “We didn’t really get much luck this year, and sometimes that’s your intangible that you have to try and get your fair share of if you want to be successful, and that’s maybe the biggest factor [of] why we may be done right now.”

For now, all the Hoyas can do is wait and hope that the selection committee gives them the benefit of the doubt.

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