Second-seeded Georgetown traveled to Omaha, Neb., to face sixth-seeded Providence in the Big East semifinals on Thursday. The Hoyas secured a 2-0 victory and earned a spot in the Big East title in the championship game, where they lost 2-1 to the top-seeded Xavier Musketeers.
The Hoyas (13-4-3) opened the game by challenging the Friar (8-9-3) defense with two corner kicks and three shots within the first 11 minutes of play.
In the following 15 minutes, Georgetown recorded six unanswered shots before Providence tallied its first shot in the 28th minute, which was saved by freshman keeper Anna Leat. In the 32nd minute, senior midfielder Carson Nizialek powered a set piece from 25 yards out to connect with freshman midfielder Julia Leas, who headed the ball to the back corner, where junior defender Kelly Ann Livingstone got a thigh on the ball to finish it off and put the Blue and Gray up 1-0, Livingstone’s first of the season.
The Friars responded to the goal with three shots at the end of the half, but they were shut down by the Hoya defense. Early in the second half, Providence continued the offensive pressure with four shots to Georgetown’s one in the first 10 minutes. However, the Blue and Gray offense soon notched a second goal to extend its lead in the 57th minute. Graduate forward Amanda Carolan scored the goal, recording her 11th goal of the season, with a shot from 20 yards out that found the upper right corner of the net. The goal moves Carolan to the third spot on Georgetown’s all-time scoring list with 34 career goals and breaks her previous career-high of 10 goals in a single season.
Throughout the game, Georgetown outshot Providence 20-10, nine being on goal for the Hoyas, while the Friars only challenged Leat thrice. Georgetown held a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks.
The Providence keeper, Shelby Hogan, recorded seven saves to Leat’s three, achieving her seventh shutout of the season and Georgetown’s 10th.
Georgetown’s offense had found success against Providence in the past, defeating the Friars 4-0 in Providence on Oct. 6, one of the team’s strongest victories of the season.
With the win, the Blue and Gray returned to the Big East championship for the fourth consecutive year, having won its past three appearances. The second-seeded Hoyas took to the field in Omaha at Morrison Stadium on Sunday afternoon to challenge the top-seeded Xavier Musketeers (16-3-2) for the conference title. After having defeated the Musketeers 2-1 at home earlier this season, the Hoyas hoped to emerge victorious once again to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but ultimately fell to Xavier.
The game opened with opportunities for both sides, as the Musketeers earned both a shot and a corner kick in the first 10 minutes to the Hoyas’ two shots and one corner kick. In the 11th minute, the Xavier offense gained possession and sent the ball down the field immediately on a counterattack. Sophomore forward Brooke Sroka received the long ball and lofted a shot into the back of the net, past Leat, to put the Musketeers up 1-0 early.
With the wind at their backs, the Musketeers continued offensive pressure and landed a second goal in the 36th minute of the half on a shot that came from 14 yards out. Despite tying Xavier with eight shots in the half, Georgetown could not find the back of the net in the first 45 minutes and headed to the locker room down 2-0.
The Hoyas began the second half with the wind to their advantage, as they looked to notch a goal to bring the game within one. From the whistle, the Blue and Gray dominated possession and created numerous offensive opportunities. The Hoya offense earned seven shots and three corners in the second half, while the defense held the Musketeers to one shot and zero corners. Senior defender Meaghan Nally and Nizialek led the offensive efforts, both tallying three shots in the match.
One of Georgetown’s most promising chances at a comeback came in the 64th minute when Carolan slotted the ball toward the right post, with the shot eventually traveling just wide of the net. Toward the end of regulation, in the 88th minute, senior forward Casey Richards also put a shot on net that was saved by the Xavier keeper. The Blue and Gray recorded a pair of shots in the 57th and 58th minutes, first with a header by Leas that was saved by the Xavier keeper and another ball from Nizialek directed on goal that was again saved. The Xavier keeper ended the day with eight total saves, shutting out the Georgetown offense.
At the conclusion of the Big East tournament, Carolan, Leas and senior midfielder Sarah Trissel earned spots on the Big East All-Tournament Team.
The Hoyas fell to Xavier in a well-fought game against a difficult opponent, according to Head Coach Dave Nolan.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing for our streak to end, but you’ve got to give a lot of credit to Xavier; they’ve been the best team all year. To win both the regular season and championship, there’s no argument against that, and I know how difficult that is because we’ve done it ourselves, so credit to them,” said Nolan in an interview with GUHoyas. “At the end of the day, I can’t find fault with our team for what they were doing. We tried everything possible.”
On Monday, No. 18 Georgetown received an at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament. This appearance is the Hoyas’ eighth consecutive tournament qualification, as they look to return to the College Cup after making a run to the Final Four last year before falling to North Carolina in double overtime.
Georgetown will face West Virginia in the first round of the tournament Saturday, Nov. 16, at Shaw Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.