Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown Dominates Pittsburgh

“I don’t know if I’ll make this team,” a recruit says while watching Georgetown pick apart the Pittsburgh Panthers 6-0 on Friday. She does not doubt her skill as a soccer player; rather, the talent of the streaking Georgetown women’s soccer team intimidates her. The Hoyas have won six games in a row and show no signs of slowing down.

A number of high school seniors on official athletic visits to the Hilltop shared the opportunity to watch the strongest team on campus with the current student body. The current and would-be Hoyas saw Georgetown execute the same disciplined attack that brought the previous five wins.

“We have eight recruits this weekend. That’s more than previous years all at once, but as we improve we are pushed by other schools to get the best players,” Head Coach Diane Drake said.

Although the volume was higher this year, this weekend is perennially devoted largely to recruiting visits. Last year’s team took on Rutgers a year ago this past weekend in a Big East contest much like Friday’s.

“I remember we lost a close game to Rutgers. We almost came back, but didn’t get the win,” freshman Ashley Darcy said.

Georgetown fell 3-2 and fell to 1-3 in the Big East that day. Friday was very much the opposite. The 6-0-shutout victory brought the 7-3 Hoyas to 2-0 in the conference. Darcy recognizes the contrast between the two results.

“Today I think we showed that we can compete in the Big East,” Darcy said.

After only two conference games Georgetown has won more contests than the team did all of last year. Freshman like Darcy were recruited to get these important conference wins and get the Hoyas into the NCAA tournament.

Last year’s ECAC championship team had a difficult first half against the Scarlet Knights. In the first 38 minutes Rutgers put the Hoyas in a 3-0 hole that held until half time.

On Friday the Hoyas dealt Pittsburgh a similar deficit. Sophomore forward Casey McCann started the scoring in the 16th minute. The goal was McCann third consecutive score after netting a hat trick in the Hoyas’ previous game against Elon.

Senior forward Karin Ostrander gave Georgetown a two-goal advantage in the 30th minute with an unassisted shot off a takeaway near the goal box. Freshman midfielder Shara McNeil’s excellent lead to senior forward Kyle Holsinger-Johnson gave Holsinger-Johnson her first goal of two on the day and gave the Hoyas a 3-0-halftime lead.

Although the score indicated Georgetown’s dominance the Hoyas were less than perfect. The team’s response to Pittsburgh’s offense was cause for concern from the coaching staff.

“Oftentimes pressure comes in and we spin away from it instead of playing straight back,” Drake said.

The Hoyas were down three goals at the half and expended a great deal of energy playing catch up in the final 45 minutes of play. Junior midfielders Lauren Eyler and Jen Choiniere got the Hoyas close, but their efforts were not enough as time ran out and Georgetown lost by one goal.

On Friday the Hoyas had a different strategy for the second half. Georgetown’s focus was not on scoring goals, but rather trying to protect the lead and the shutout. The Hoyas recognized that Pittsburgh was a talented team and letting up would allow them the opening they needed.

“I stressed that if we give them life and let them score the game changes completely,” Drake said.

As the Hoya defense protected the shutout the offense stretched the gap. Choiniere earned style points with her header off a corner kick from sophomore midfielder Nicole DePalma. The assist was DePalma’s second of the game and 10th of the year. The sophomore is eighth in the NCAA with .89 assists per game.

In the 63rd minute, Holsinger-Johnson followed up Choiniere’s goal with a strike from outside the goal box. Holsinger-Johnson took a loose ball and fired it off the top bar of the cage and into the net.

As the Hoyas held a 5-0 lead Drake began to substitute younger players into the game. The substitutions gave these players game experience and allowed the Hoya starters to sit a spell. Sophomore forward Lauren Eyler took advantage of the playing time and scored Georgetown’s sixth and final goal in the 84th minute.

Coach Drake recognized, however, that spelling the starters was a risk.

“Rest is important, but I felt preserving the shutout was the most important thing and I wanted to make sure that message got across,” Drake said.

The shutout stood and gave junior goalie Alexis George her fifth this season. This ties the school record for shutouts in one season. George played excellently, but she only had to stop two shots on goal as the Hoyas out shot Pittsburgh 26-8 overall.

The shutout win was the Hoyas’ fifth in six games. The squad has made preserving shutouts an important team goal during this stretch. The team’s ability to meet this goal repeatedly has added to the squad’s rising confidence.

“This team has a quiet confidence. More so than any other team I’ve coached here this group wants to win as much as I do,” Drake said.

This year’s team showed dominance in Big East play that last year’s squad lacked. Much of this change has to do with the new Hoyas. The younger player’s ability to compete with the veterans, however, has provided the team effort that has made this winning streak happen.

“Team chemistry is a big part of the recruiting here. It’s important to bring in people that work well with the team,” Darcy said.

Her teammate, freshman midfielder Lindsey Berz, agrees.

“If you don’t have team chemistry you have nothing,” Berz said.

The Hoyas look like they are building something.

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