Back from its West Coast trip, the No. 19 women’s soccer team split its two games this weekend. On Friday, the Hoyas (8-3, 2-1 Big East) dropped a close match 1-0 to the Rutgers Scarlet Nights (6-5, 1-2 Big East). But in its return to North Kehoe on Sunday, Georgetown captured a 2-0 victory over Seton Hall (6-4, 2-1 Big East) to snap its three-game losing streak.
When asked what he told his players before the match, Head Coach Dave Nolan said, “That they had to keep believing in what we were doing and have faith.”
The Rutgers game was certainly a disappointing one for the Hoyas. Rutgers took the lead off a corner kick in the 24th minute of play. The Hoyas had nearly grabbed an early lead themselves in the 12th minute when the Rutgers goalie blocked but could not hold onto a header by junior forward Camille Trujillo. Redshirt junior midfielder Ingrid Wells beat the Rutgers defense to the rebound but was unable to finish it off.
“I told them we were the better team, and we just needed to keep plugging away and be a little braver in the box. Anticipate rather than simply reacting,” Nolan said of his halftime talk.
Georgetown maintained its aggressive play in the second half and had six corner kick attempts but could not capitalize on any of its chances. We played three really good teams on the road and luck hasn’t gone our way in two of them . Against Rutgers we definitely created the better chances,” Nolan said.
Despite the disappointment of the defeat to Rutgers, Nolan said he believed his team would arrive with a positive attitude against Seton Hall.
“If we lost three games and played badly I would have been worried, but I knew we played well and it was just a matter of getting good bounces and avoiding bad luck,” he said.
In what may be a good sign for the Hoyas going into the latter part of their season, they did not bring their A-game against the Pirates. But nevertheless, they found a way to win.
The first half looked like more of the same for Georgetown as the team dominated play but could not find the back of the net.
Finally, with about 20 minutes to go in the game, Trujillo crossed a ball to junior midfield Kelly D’Ambrisi, who neatly shot it into the far corner of the goal to put the Hoyas on top, 1-0. Two minutes later, Georgetown notched another goal off a tidy give-and-go play between Wells and freshman forward Kaitlin Brenn. The play ended with Brenn pushing the ball past Seton Hall goalkeeper Jennifer Pettigrew, who was scrambling to get back to the goal line after unsuccessfully attempting to rush out and snatch the ball from Wells’ feet.
The Hoyas continued to apply the pressure but settled in the end for the 2-0 win.
“We have kind of been getting to see a trend where all the good play and good chances don’t go your way and then you get nervy and snap at things,” Nolan said. He praised his freshman forward’s play, saying, “[Brenn] is probably our purest goal scorer . [and] our most composed player in the box. She is the one we want with the ball at her feet in front of goal.”
Georgetown outshot Seton Hall 20-6 and allowed just one shot on goal.
Georgetown has two critical conference matchups at home this weekend, playing host to South Florida (6-2-2, 0-1-1 Big East) on Friday and Marquette (6-3-2, 3-0 Big East) on Sunday. Nolan stressed the importance of the weekend’s outcomes.
“If we win both it puts us in great stead for conference playoffs and NCAA. But if we lose two it will be very hard to go on the road and win our last six, which is what we would need,” Nolan said.
So, for the Hoyas, it is do-or-die time. A playoff spot is very much within reach, but not without results from this weekend.