It was not easy, but the Georgetown women’s soccer team improved to 6-0 on the year after eking out a 2-1 overtime victory in the 100th minute against Fairfield University (3-1) this Monday.
This game was the first real test for the Hoyas, who have never won six straight to start a season. The score does not tell the whole story, however, as the Hoyas were in control from the start but could not capitalize on their chances.
The Blue and Gray struck first in the 16th minute when redshirt junior midfielder Ingrid Wells converted a penalty kick awarded after junior forward Camille Trujillo was brought down by a slide tackle in the box.
Trujillo was fouled again in the final minutes of the half, but this time Fairfield junior goalkeeper Kelly Boudreau stopped junior forward Samantha Baker’s spot-kick. Boudreau’s save started a quick counterattack for the Stags and got the ball to freshman defender Shannon Fay, whose shot from the left side of the box ricocheted off a Hoya defender and into goal.
Although Georgetown missed numerous opportunities to notch a second goal in the first half, it was in the second half that the frustration really set in for the Hoyas. Besides one tense moment with 14 minutes left in regulation, in which a Fairfield player nearly got on the end of a long delivery into the Georgetown penalty box, the Stags barely carried the ball past midfield.
“I felt the longer the game went on we just got more and more frustrated with not finishing chances the way we usually do,” Wells said, but also gave credit to Fairfield’s defending. “They played smart; they really sat back and made it difficult for us to do the things we normally do.”
The Fairfield defense appeared to stop a sure goal when junior midfielder Kelly D’Ambrisi hustled to beat Boudreau to a ball in the box. D’Ambrisi tactfully flicked the ball back, away from the goalkeeper to a charging Trujillo. But just as the junior forward’s shot looked headed into the open net, a Fairfield defender dashed back to block it off the goal line.
Georgetown continued to apply the pressure with a shot by senior defender Michaela Buonomo hitting the crossbar and a header by sophomore defender Catherine Cabot sailing just over it.
In the final minutes of regulation, Head Coach Dave Nolan tried to get some fresh legs up top, subbing in freshman forward Kaitlin Brenn, who was named Big East rookie of the week, for Trujillo.
Nolan admitted he would have liked to be able to relieve more of his starters from the blistering heat earlier, saying “it’s always a hard decision to make.”
“I had confidence in us. I knew we were going to get it – but it was just an issue of whether it would be in the first or second overtime,” Baker said after the game.
The Hoyas kept control of the play from the first kick of overtime, and five minutes into overtime they looked like they had the winner when Wells delivered a beautiful cross into the middle of the box. Brenn got a head on it and the ball looked to be heading into the upper right hand corner when the outstretched Boudreau got the tip of her fingers on it in time to lift it just over the goalpost.
The golden goal finally came for the Blue and Gray in the 100th minute of play, and it came in an extremely unlikely way, as Baker inadvertently curled the Hoyas’ eighth corner of the game past a stunned Boudreau and directly into the back of the Fairfield net
“I never actually intend to score on those!” Baker exclaimed afterward. “I [was] trying to curve it to the back post for the run in.”
Both Wells and Baker expressed the belief that the closeness of the game – and the Hoyas’ failure to take advantage of their early opportunities to put the game away – may actually benefit them mentally down the road.
“It shows character that we could get the win,” Wells said. “We will use it for momentum.”
On Friday Georgetown will faceoff against James Madison (3-1-0). Then, the team will have a week to prepare for a west coast trip that will feature games against No. 2 Stanford (2-2) and No. 8 Santa Clara (3-1-3).
When asked about his expectations for the upcoming away games, Nolan said that he’d “like to win two out of the three games ahead. We certainly need one [win]. Three out of three and I will be a very happy man.”
His players, meanwhile, are ready for the road ahead. “The tough games are the ones we need; they mean the most,” Wells said.
The team will travel to Harrisonburg, Va., tonight for a 7 p.m. game against James Madison.