The No. 15 Georgetown women’s soccer team (7-2-0, 1-0 Big East) went to the West Coast for the first and only time this season, only to suffer their first two defeats of the 2010 season.
The losses came against No. 11 Santa Clara (6-1-2) and No.2. Stanford (6-0-2) but were hardly blowouts, and in the first game against Santa Clara, Head Coach Dave Nolan said that his team “at least should have come out with a tie.”
The Broncos had a 6-3 edge in shots in the first stanza, but the Hoyas had five first-half corner kicks. Just three minutes before halftime, Santa Clara got lucky when a routine clearance was botched by the Georgetown defense, resulting in a cross that took an awkward bounce off a Blue and Gray defender and past senior goalie Jackie DesJardin to give the hosts a fortunate 1-0 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Nolan felt that the score line was especially harsh given the balance of play in the first half.
“We had them on their heels and couldn’t finish our chances,” he said. “We had been the better team.”
Despite that, Nolan thinks his team gleaned an important lesson from the game.
“I was able to see against Santa Clara that we can really go toe-to-toe against a top-10, 15 team,” he said. “We proved to ourselves that we belong in that bracket if we continue to work hard.”
Next up for Georgetown was Stanford, the toughest competition they will meet this season. The Hoyas knew going into the match that they had a steep challenge ahead of them – and the Cardinals lived up to their ranking.
“Stanford are legitimate national champions and we needed everything to go in our favor,” Nolan said.
Stanford came out of the gates roaring, and senior forward Christen Press scored just 2:31 into the game. Press doubled the Cardinals’ lead when she converted a 23rd-minute penalty kick after a Georgetown foul in the box.
Nolan made some halftime adjustments in the hopes that playing with an extra forward would enable the Hoyas to put more pressure on Stanford’s defense and prevent them from passing the ball around the back. Although the change had an impact, Nolan admitted Stanford adjusted pretty well to anything his team threw at them.
“They can solve any issues very quickly,” he said. “[They] take advantage of any space you give them.”
It would seem that the Cardinals did adapt. Although they were shutout in the second half, they outshot the Hoyas 14-0.
Overall, however, Nolan seemed pleased with his team’s effort and grit, remarking that “the kids really battled to make a game of it.”
Nolan also thought that the game served as a good barometer for the Georgetown program.
“We can now see the gap between us and national championship contenders,” he said. “It will be interesting when we play them next year at Georgetown.”
Georgetown senior defender Michaela Buonomo and sophomore defender Catherine Cabot were named to the all-tournament team.
“Defensively we were being asked to work very hard, and those two, and Emily Menges, as a freshman, did extremely well,” Nolan said.
He felt that the Hoyas will keep the losses in perspective.
“I think the girls know that we went out there playing two extremely challenging teams,” he said. “That’s not easy when you fly across the country and you’re jetlagged.”
The Hoyas will head back on the road this Friday, taking on the No. 24 Rutgers Scarlet Nights (5-4-0, 0-1 Big East) in New Jersey.