The Georgetown women’s soccer team, notched its first conference win on the road Wednesday, defeating Villanova, 3-1. There is a longstanding rivalry between the two squads, which Head Coach Dave Nolan acknowledged: “We have the edge now, but for a while they did.”
The 22nd-ranked Hoyas (4-0, 1-0 Big East) led from the start, dominating possession until they knocked in their first goal at the 18-minute mark when junior forward Camille Trujillo scored off a through-ball from junior midfielder Kelly D’Ambrisi. Villanova’s goalkeeper came off her line, but Trujillo fired the ball directly into the right side netting.
Soon after, Villanova (2-2, 0-1 Big East) struck back with an impressive individual effort by junior forward Katie Ryan. After working her way into the box, Ryan blasted a shot at senior goalkeeper Jackie DesJardin. The Georgetown keeper handled the shot, but the speedy Ryan beat everyone to the rebound and hammered the ball into the net.
Going into the game, the Hoyas’ defense knew it would have its hands full with Ryan.
“They have one of the more explosive forwards in Ryan, but overall we did a good job watching her,” senior defender Michaela Buonomo said. “We watched some video clips of [Ryan] so we tried to match [junior defender Gabby Miller] with her, who is fast enough to contain her and slow her down. We knew that if we could stop her we would win the game.”
Although they succeeded for the most part in guarding Ryan, the Hoya defenders experienced their first real test of the season.
“There are definitely areas to improve on,” Buonomo admitted. “In the back we have to become tighter and get more comfortable and used to each other.”
The Hoyas did not fold after the Wildcats’ tying goal. Georgetown penetrated the Villanova defense in the 27th minute with a through-ball once more, and again, Trujillo neatly finished off the build-up with her sixth goal of the season.
“She does it every day in practice,” said Nolan, who added that Trujillo could become his first 10-goal scorer in years.
Her growth, he said, has been mainly mental.
“Sometimes she doesn’t understand how good she is. She is a quiet, unassuming kid, but her confidence has definitely grown.”
Nearing the end of the first half, the Hoyas struck again to go up 3-1 and gain a two-goal advantage. The score came from freshman forward Kaitlin Brenn after she freed herself on a throw-in and deftly blasted the ball into the net.
In the second half, the momentum shifted. Villanova came out more aggressively and held the Hoyas to just two shots in the frame after being outshot 11-5 in the first 45 minutes.
“Their coach made good changes and made it tougher for us. We got a little frustrated and lost our way a bit,” Nolan said.
Despite the drop in its level of play, or Villanova’s renewed energy, Georgetown held its opponent off and maintained the 3-1 lead.
“It was good to get a win on the road . but the second half was definitely not as clean as we would have liked,” Buonomo said.
Coach Nolan agreed with his senior stalwart.
“I still think we can get more aggressive defensively. . I don’t worry about scoring goals,” he said. He explained that with the season coming into full-swing, practice time is more limited, adding, “This team is very serious about getting better and better, but with games coming fast and furious, you don’t have as much practice.”
On Saturday, Georgetown will take on George Mason (1-2) and see a familiar face in search of history on the other side of the halfway line. Former Hoya Head Coach Diane Drake is now at the helm for the Patriots, and should her side come out victorious, she will capture her 100th career win.
And again, the Hoya defense will be tested.
“They have an exceptional player in [Omolyn] Davis, who is in the running for CCAA Player of the Year,” Nolan remarked. Speaking to the team’s mindset going into the game, Buonomo said, “They are a big, athletic, physical team. But it’s a game we should win.”
After Saturday’s tilt, Georgetown will have one day off before another tough matchup against Fairfield on Monday.