After home games against UConn and UC San Diego, the Georgetown women’s soccer team will compete in its first road game in a contest against the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens Thursday in Newark, Del.
This is the first time in two years that the Hoyas will take on the Hens. Georgetown shut out Delaware by a score of 3-0 in the teams’ last meeting in September 2013. The Hoyas also bested the Hens in their contest in August 2012, resulting in a 2-0 Hoya victory.
The Hoyas are a team composed of both new talent and experienced veterans prepared and proven to produce on the field. Freshman forward Caitlin Farrell notched an assist in the Hoyas’ 4-3 victory against James Madison in late August, and junior forward Grace Damaska scored two goals in the win.
“I think Grace is doing really well this season; she had two goals at JMU,” graduate student goalkeeper Emma Newins said. “She has a lot of speed up front.”
Considering the Hoyas’ history with the Blue Hens, Georgetown should be confident that it can handle Delaware’s competition. However, the graduation of star midfielder Daphne Corboz — now a member of Manchester City Women’s Football Club in England — is certainly a significant shift in the Georgetown roster.
Though Daphne’s sister, impressive sophomore midfielder Rachel Corboz, will carry on the Corboz legacy, Daphne had a huge impact on the Hoya offense during her time at Georgetown. As the centerpiece of the offense, her absence now opens up opportunities for other Hoyas to step up in their respective roles.
“Great players like Daphne, you knew they would always show up,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “They showed up every day. And some of these kids, because of that, haven’t had to show up every day. But now it’s their chance, they’re all upperclass[men], so now they need to understand that they have to produce on a consistent basis.”
As Georgetown heads to Delaware, the team will focus on improving its defensive skills and helping the freshmen class develop in their positions. Though the Hoyas beat James Madison, they conceded three goals. The team also conceded three goals in a shutout loss to William and Mary.
“Having given up three goals in each of [those] two games, [we want to improve our] defending. We scored some really good goals against JMU, and they didn’t let us get one against William and Mary. I think we just need to get better on both sides of the ball,” Nolan said.
Farrell and midfielder Megan Shaver are among the team’s freshman standouts. Farrell’s production thus far on offense and Shaver’s consistency on the back line set them apart, especially considering that freshmen often have trouble adjusting to the pace of collegiate soccer.
“Those two in particular … [have] come in in good shape, and I think they’ve adjusted to what we’ve asked of them maybe a little bit better than the others,” Nolan said.
“Caitlin Farrell has come off the bench, she’s played really well up top, and Megan’s also stepped up for us at defensive center mid,” Newins added.
Delaware, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, is one of the many tough non-conference teams that Georgetown will have to face this season. Due to the fact that the Big East’s membership is composed of weaker teams, the first portion of Georgetown’s schedule is fairly difficult. Winning those games will require contribution from both the team’s veterans and its newcomers.
“[The freshman class] all have a very good attitude and understanding of where we want to go, so that helps a lot,” senior midfielder Marina Paul said.
To prep for the contest against the Blue Hens, the Hoyas will strive to improve communication, unity on offense and defense and comfort with one another on the field.
The game against Delaware will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. at Stuart and Suzanne Grant Stadium in Newark, Del.