After 50 minutes of scoreless play between the Georgetown women’s soccer team and Seton Hall last Sunday, junior defender Sarah Trissel lofted a ball into the box that bounced over Seton Hall’s goalkeeper, senior Anna MacLean, into the back of the net to give the Hoyas a 1-0 lead.
The No. 6 Hoyas (10-0-2, 3-0-0 Big East) went on to defeat the Pirates (2-7-4, 0-4-0 Big East) 3-0 at Owen T. Carroll Field in South Orange, N.J.
In the 59th minute, sophomore midfielder Grace Nguyen slipped a ball behind Seton Hall’s defense to give senior forward Caitlin Farrell a breakaway. Farrell scored with a shot to the right corner, marking the Hoyas’ second goal of the game.
Thirty minutes later, a passing sequence between sophomore forward Jenna Menta and senior forward Alyssa Cronin opened up space for junior forward Casey Richards in the center of the box. Richards tapped the ball into the net in the last five seconds of the game, securing the victory for the Blue and Gray.
Head Coach Dave Nolan explained the importance of Trissel’s goal in the opening minutes of the second half.
“[It was] huge. If Seton Hall had somehow gotten a breakaway or a set piece, and had maybe one random scoring opportunity and it had worked out for them, it becomes a lot harder now because then they’re really fighting for something,” Nolan said in an interview with The Hoya. “We start to feel like maybe it’s not our day.”
While unable to capitalize on its early opportunities, the Georgetown offense generated several scoring opportunities later in the game. These include a shot by senior forward Amanda Carolan in the 29th minute that ricocheted off the crossbar, and two shots on goal by Farrell and Carolan later in the half.
Nolan emphasized that the Hoyas needed to be patient in order to break down the Pirates’ defense.
“I think it was just a matter of keep doing what we were doing, knowing that eventually someone from their team would either be too tired to move or be less committed to move and then a gap would appear,” Nolan said. “Ultimately, that’s what happened for our second goal, which killed off the game. They just got tired of chasing and we got the ball in behind them and we scored a good goal.”
Nolan further explained that Seton Hall played a compact and conservative defense. The team adopted the strategy of packing the box, for which all 10 field players fill the space between the halfway line and the 18-yard box.
“It was tough to get through two walls of five players, especially early in the game when a team is still energized and when a team is still committed,” Nolan said. “After a while, people get tired or people stop chasing, and I think we got a little bit of that from them in the second half.”
The Hoyas recorded 21 shots on the day with ten on goal while the Pirates notched two total shots and one shot on target. The Georgetown defense also limited Seton Hall to one corner kick. Senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman had one save and secured the team’s eighth shutout of the season.
Nolan noted that the Blue and Gray defense has performed well this season, although the game against Seton Hall proved less challenging for the defense than previous matchups.
“Defensively, obviously, we’re pretty good. We’ve had eight shutouts in 12 games, we’ve only given up four goals. And I feel we’re probably top four or five in the nation in terms of goals against percentage and shutouts,” Nolan said. “With that being said … I don’t think that we had to be defensively stellar or anything. [Seton Hall’s] game plan was to be pretty defensive.”
Georgetown now looks to its upcoming matchup against Creighton. Last season, the Hoyas tied the Blue Jays 1-1 after conceding a goal off a set piece. Georgetown recorded 33 shots following the goal but was only able to score once.
Nolan said that a hot start will be key to getting the win.
“This year I think Creighton will be a tough team. I think they’ll have confidence because they got a result against us last year,” Nolan said. “It’s one of those games where we need to score first, and if we can score early it will open the game up and force them to come out and play with us more toe-to-toe.”
The Hoyas will travel to Omaha, Neb., to face Creighton in a Big East matchup Thursday night at Morrison Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.