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 | Dogged Defense Secures Season Success

The 2023 Georgetown University women’s soccer team proved the age-old adage of “offense wins games, defense wins championship” after capturing its fourth consecutive Big East tournament championship to cap off a successful season.

The Hoyas turned in yet another strong year after a 13-2-7, 6-0-4 Big East record highlighted by a 2-0 win over Xavier University (14-4-4, 6-0-4 Big East) to win the conference tournament and a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament. 

Although Georgetown often lacked the offensive power necessary to avoid drawing its opponents, a steadfast defense proved invaluable in maintaining team momentum before a 1-2 loss to St. Louis University (SLU) (19-3-2, 9-0-1 A-10) ended the season.

Head Coach David Nolan said although the loss to the SLU Billikens proved heartbreaking considering high expectations from players and fans alike, he remained proud of the Hoyas’ effort all season.

“It is a little disappointing, and the girls will be hurt by this, but I think when they look back at it, they will realize what a great season it was,” Nolan told Georgetown Athletics. “Hopefully it will propel us to more great things in the future.”

Georgetown came into the season retaining most of its defensive core from the previous year. The graduate duo of 2022 Big East goalkeeper of the year Allie Augur and 2022 Big East defensive player of the year Julia Leas returned to lead a formidable cadre that included 2022 all-Big East first teamer and junior midfielder Eliza Turner, as well as graduate defender Brianne Riley.

Although the offense lost dynamic forward Gia Vicari to the transfer portal, two-time all-Ivy League first-teamer and graduate forward Allie Winstanley proved a welcome addition to the high-powered sophomore forward pairing of Natalie Means and Henley Tippins.

The Hoyas started the season hot, winning four matches and tying once across their first five games, before ending nonconference play with a two-draw, one-loss streak against tougher competition. The defense emerged as a central component to team success by this point and kept Georgetown in all of its games — the rare loss to Princeton University (10-5-4, 4-2-1 Ivy League) being an outlier due to the team’s two own goals.

GUHoyas | Georgetown women’s soccer sealed its fourth consecutive Big East championship title behind a dogged defense led by graduate defender Julia Leas and graduate goalkeeper Allie Augur.

Conference play saw the defense grow stronger, even as the offense continued to search for consistency. 

In 10 regular season conference matchups, the Hoyas conceded just 5 goals en route to 6 shutouts. The back line repeatedly proved to be calm and in control, stalling opposing teams’ momentums and offering numerous chances for the offense to score. Augur particularly excelled during this stretch, converting an impressive .848 save percentage in the 10 games.

Even though the offense was held scoreless twice and to just 1 goal four times during regular season conference games, it caught fire at the right moment, scoring 9 goals in the two games leading up to the Big East championship. This burst helped seal a share of the Big East regular season title for the Hoyas.

The postseason was a promising opportunity for the Hoyas to prove their prowess. Wins over the University of Connecticut (10-4-5, 6-1-3 Big East) and Xavier once again gave Georgetown bragging rights over its Big East foes. 

A gritty 2-1 victory in the first round of the NCAA championships against Old Dominion University (13-3-5, 5-2-3 Sun Belt) gave the three-seeded Hoyas a real chance at a deep postseason run. The subsequent loss to SLU, however, maintained an unfortunate postseason streak: Georgetown has not won two consecutive NCAA postseason games since 2018.

Nonetheless, the Hoyas still have plenty of achievements to celebrate. 

Means, Turner, Leas and Augur were all selected to the all-Big East first team, while Riley and Winstanley made the all-Big East second and third teams, respectively. Leas repeated as the Big East defensive player of the year and is a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top U.S. collegiate soccer player. Augur also proved a strong contender for goalkeeper of the year accolades, given her strong play and all-Big East first-team honor.

Though Georgetown will miss outgoing impact players such as Leas and Augur, it is set to welcome an exciting recruiting class headlined by 2021 United States Youth National Team (USYNT) player pool midfielder Lizzie Heller and 2022 USYNT training goalkeeper Cameron Gabrielson. Forward Jocelyn Lohmeyer, defender Cassie Delinsky and midfielders Jamie Covitz and Caroline Spengler will also join the team in the fall of 2024.

The Hoyas will hope to continue their Big East successes next year, by repeating the same defensive magic that propelled them so far this season while finding a more consistent rhythm on offense.

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