Following a dominant, one-loss regular season, the Hoya’s succeeded in their initial postseason goal to capture the Big East tournament championship before making a deep run in the 2023 NCAA tournament.
With their 2-0 win against the No. 17 Xavier Musketeers (14-3-4, 6-0-4 Big East) on Nov. 5 in Boyds, Md., the Hoyas (12-1-7, 6-0-4 Big East) secured their fourth consecutive Big East championship and their seventh in the past eight seasons. In the first half, Xavier had the overwhelming majority of goalscoring opportunities, but as usual, Georgetown was clinical, capitalizing on their few chances to take an early lead.
In the 12th minute, the Hoyas got on the scoreboard first. After winning a 50-50 ball in Xavier’s defensive third, graduate midfielder Emma Davis passed the ball out wide to graduate forward Allie Winstanley. Winstanley then eluded her defender with a nifty turn before rifling a grounded shot into the bottom right corner from just outside the 18-yard box, putting the Hoyas up 1-0. The goal was Winstanley’s fifth of the campaign, making her the Hoyas’ top scorer thus far.
In the 15th minute, just two minutes after Georgetown’s goal, a Xavier winger’s cross found an unmarked Xavier forward in the box, but her volley sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.
In the 24th minute, the Musketeers again came close to scoring. A cross into the box found the head of a Xavier forward, but she was unable to redirect the header on frame, as it veered well wide of the left post.
Xavier kept knocking on the door late in the half, eager to erase the deficit. In a scramble in the box with seven minutes to go in the first half, the ball fell to a Xavier player in the 6-yard box. She was able to get a shot off, but Georgetown keeper Allie Augur stood her ground and parried the attempt.
The Hoyas managed to hold their 1-0 lead entering halftime, despite Xavier looking like the dominant team for much of the first half. On multiple occasions, Georgetown’s defense, which recorded 12 shutouts throughout the season, looked disorganized, which left Xavier forwards with space and time in dangerous areas.
In the gritty, tense atmosphere of a conference final, neither team was able to put together long spells of possession throughout the first half, a fact that Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan was quick to point out.
“I’m surprised the ball hasn’t been stretchered off,” Nolan told FS1, which broadcasted the game, at halftime. “The ball’s going out of play every 10 seconds.”
After recording nine shots in the half to Georgetown’s two, Xavier Head Coach Nate Lie was disappointed that his team had not gotten on the scoresheet.
“I thought we looked pretty hesitant or uncertain in our chances in front of goal,” Lie told FS1 at halftime. “You don’t score against teams like Georgetown by being hesitant.”
Georgetown came into the second half refreshed and refocused, determined to shore up its defense and reclaim the momentum of the game. In the first 20 minutes of the second half, it was one-way traffic, as the Hoyas quickly set up shop in the Musketeers’ half.
In the 62nd minute, the Hoyas’ offensive efforts were finally rewarded. Winstanley picked up the ball on the right wing and beat her defender before sending an inch-perfect cross to the feet of junior forward Maja Lardner, who made no mistake as she rifled the ball into the roof of the net from six yards out to give the Hoyas a commanding 2-0 lead. The goal was Lardner’s third of the season, and Winstanley picked up her fifth assist of the year.
With a two-goal cushion, Georgetown was content to sit back and absorb Xavier’s offensive pressure, which never materialized. Xavier recorded three shots in total and just one on target in the final 28 minutes of the game.
At the final whistle, Georgetown was crowned Big East champion for the fourth season in a row and the 13th time in program history, cementing the Hoyas’ status as a formidable dynasty in the Big East.
After the game, Winstanley, the standout player of the game, deflected personal praise and emphasized the importance of the collective team effort, which defines the identity of the Georgetown program.
“The standard at Georgetown is we expect 100% from every single person,” Winstanley told FS1 after the game. “I think we got that today with everyone on the field and everyone on the bench, too.”
The Hoyas will look to continue their dominant season in the 2023 NCAA tournament. Georgetown, given a No. 3 seed in the tournament, will face off at Shaw Field against Old Dominion in the first round on Nov. 11 at 12 p.m.