“I’m lucky in that we have a very committed, deep group – probably the best team we have ever had here at Georgetown,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said.
Coach Nolan has reason to be optimistic. Georgetown (3-0) has started off its season impressively, posting three commanding wins against American (0-4), George Washington (0-2) and St. Francis (2-2).
eanwhile, individual Hoya performances have already received recognition. Junior midfielders Ingrid Wells and Kelly D’Ambrisi were named Big East offensive player of the week, respectively, in consecutive weeks. “I have two of the best attacking midfielders in the country in Ingrid and Kelly.” Nolan said. “Both have a wonderful understanding when they play together.”
It is not only the Hoya returnees who have showed their metal thus far, as Nolan hailed the freshman class, saying, “Pretty much all of them play and contribute.” Nolan said. “We’ve been trying to get them embedded in what we do and also show the rest of the team what they bring to the table.”
The eight newest Hoyas boast impressive resumés. Five played on their State Olympic Development Program teams and four were selected to join the Regional team for their area. Two players bring with them experience in the U.S. Youth National Team program. The Hoya newcomers have demonstrated that they will have an impact in all areas of the field. They have accounted for three goals and six assists thus far. Nolan stressed the importance of the freshmen’s high-level of play early on: “This year our freshman group gives us such great depth that we have competition for every position and also the ability not to run people down, which causes injury.”
When asked what the team’s goals were going into the season, Nolan answered simply, “We are not big goal-setters.” For him, the ultimate goal is ongoing improvement, though he admitted that there are some tangibles. “As a coach I do use some barometers to measure where we are: the first being double-digit wins . then, making the Big East Tournament and lastly, to make the NCAA tournament or at least be in the reckoning.”
In recent years, the Hoyas have fared well on all those counts. They boasted double-digit wins and competed in the Big East tournament in each of the past three seasons. Last November, Georgetown’s season ended with a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to St. John’s in the second overtime of the Big East Championship Quarterfinal game.
“We were using these first four games to try and figure out what kind of team we are and get a better grasp of where we sit,” Nolan said.
So, what did they find? “This is our most technical team ever, most gifted in terms of ability,” he said. Georgetown led off with a 9-0 rout of American University, followed with 3-0 and 5-0 wins against George Washington and St. Francis. The Hoya offense has been both dynamic and precise. In their first two matchups, the Hoyas have out-shot their opponents 31-4 and taken advantage of their opportunities in the box. Of those 31 shot attempts, the Hoyas have netted 12 goals.
Nolan acknowledged that far tougher competition lies ahead.
“We still need to be tested – and that’s when we’re really going to find out how good we are.” One area in which some uncertainty could lie is in goal. Senior Jackie DesJardin underwent surgery on her ACL over the summer but is back and starting for the Hoyas. She has posted three shutouts so far, but has been challenged little, handling only three shots total.
In its first Big East game of the season, Georgetown will be on the road Wednesday, taking on Villanova (2-1). When asked to identify what makes for a winning team, Nolan put it plainly: “Good players.” He explained, “When I have great players, I’m a great coach, when I have good players, I’m a good coach, and so on.” The good news is that, on paper, the Hoyas have the players and the talent. Now, they will have to prove that they have the consistency and resilience to match.
The Hoyas travel to Villanova tomorrow for a 4 p.m. match.