After a two-game losing streak, the Georgetown field hockey team (4-6, 0-1 Big East) will compete against Providence (8-5, 0-1 Big East) on Saturday and non-conference opponent Saint Joseph’s (6-6, 2-2 Atlantic 10) on Sunday. The Hoyas suffered a 6-0 loss against Connecticut (7-2, 1-0 Big East) in their first Big East game last Sunday and an 8-1 loss against Columbia (6-4, 2-1 Ivy League) the previous week.
Undeterred by the tough losses, first year Head Coach Shannon Soares is optimistic about what her team has accomplished so far.
“After coming back from UConn, we were able to look at plenty of film and, for us, what was really glaring was our ability to execute in counterattack situations. That is what our primary focus was on in training this week. I’m proud of our players’ ability to fight and see the big picture and believe in the process this season.”
The Friars have won six out of their last eight games, with decisive victories over Quinnipiac (4-7) and Columbia. The five straight victories are the most by any Big East team this season and are the most by the Friars since matching that mark in the 2012 season. After losing to Providence 5-2 during the 2012 season and 5-0 during the 2013 season, the Hoyas know just how stiff the competition will be.
“Providence is a really athletic and skilled team. They’ve had a great start to their season and have knocked off some talented teams and games they have played against top-level programs have been really close,” Soares said.
Saint Joseph’s has won three out of its last 4 games, including a 6-1 win against Appalachian State (2-10, 0-2 Northern Pacific Field Hockey Conference) and a 2-1 win against VCU (1-9, 0-4 Atlantic 10). The last time the Hoyas and the Hawks met was in 2011 when the Hoyas suffered a tough 1-0 loss. Even with the Hawks’ significant momentum leading into this weekend, the Hoyas are hopeful they can notch a win.
“Saint Joseph’s is just as dangerous, and I think it is a very athletic and gritty team. They have battled all season and they are playing under a first-year head coach as well. Lynn Farquhar has a great mind in the hockey world and I already think she has done a fantastic job shaping up the program in terms of a new identity,” Soares said.
The weekend’s slate will be the first games in three weeks the Hoyas will play on the Hilltop, and they will use the home-team advantage to their benefit.
“We are just excited to be able to play at home and walk out of the locker room on to our field. I’ve said this multiple times this year, but it is something we do not take for granted. We also appreciate all the support we have at games, as we had over 500 fans at our last home game, which was huge for us,” Soares said.
Junior midfielder Emily Weinberg had the only two shots on goal during the Connecticut game and is one of the many leading scorers with three goals recorded so far this season.
“We’ve been focusing a lot on having a fighter mentality, especially when we have been working on a lot of forward moving and the attacking line to be able to score more goals,” Weinberg said.
The Blue and Gray’s last win was a 1-0 victory against Siena (0-10), and Weinberg is confident the team can replicate that success.
“In the Siena match, we focused on playing our game and our momentum,” Weinberg said. “We have been focusing on playing on our level and not a lower team’s level, which is important to remember for our next two games.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Skonecki recorded a career-high 10 saves against the Connecticut Huskies and has earned the trust of her teammates.
“Rachel has been a really strong force, is great in communication and we rely on her to communicate where our defenders are,” Weinberg said “She’s a solid force in the back.”
Following what is sure to be an intense weekend, the Hoyas will begin preparations to face Villanova in Philadelphia at 7 p.m. Saturday.