Georgetown took to the pitch on Saturday afternoon in their eighth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament to challenge West Virginia, ultimately falling in the home match by a final score of 2-0.
With home-field advantage and a 3-0 victory over the Mountaineers (11-7-2, 5-3-1 Big 12) earlier this season on Sep. 15, the No. 25 Hoyas (13-5-3, 6-1-2 Big East) began the game with immediate pressure in an attempt to secure an early lead. The Blue and Gray tallied both a corner kick and shot within the first minute of play, threatening the Mountaineers’ back line after senior forward Casey Richards sent a ball well downfield for some very early pressure.
Despite these offensive efforts, West Virginia struck first in the match with a goal in the 13th minute. Mountaineer defender Jordan Brewster made a run down the field to start the play, dribbling past and drawing in several Georgetown defenders before connecting with midfielder Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel, who slotted the ball through to forward Alina Stahl.
Stahl received the ball in front of the goal, drawing freshman goalkeeper Anna Leat off her line and prompting chaos in the box, with Stahl eventually poking the ball into the back of the net from the ground. The goal shifted momentum in the match, with the Hoyas finding themselves down 1-0 just 13 minutes into the match.
In response, the Blue and Gray offense continued its attack, primarily playing down the right side of the field with balls fed into junior forward Jenna Menta and sophomore defender Jenna Royson. The Hoyas generated many opportunities in the following minutes, tallying six shots while holding the Mountaineers to one in the 20 minutes after the West Virginia goal.
Georgetown’s best chance arose in the 27th minute on a cross from Richards that found graduate forward Amanda Carolan open on the right side of the box. Carolan took a one-time hit on the ball but forced it wide of the net, unable to direct it on frame.
In the 40th minute, West Virginia put away a second goal, once again off of Stahl’s foot. The forward received the ball in the box, held off the Georgetown defense to turn toward goal and powered a shot inside the right post past a diving attempt by Leat. The goal gave the Mountaineers a comfortable lead for the remainder of the half, sending the Hoyas, who had dominated possession during the first 45 minutes of play, into the locker room with a two-goal deficit.
Earlier this season, the Hoyas similarly found themselves in a multiple-goal deficit in their match against Creighton, eventually fighting their way back to finish the game in a 2-2 draw. The Blue and Gray looked to force a similar result in their matchup with West Virginia.
With their season on the line at the start of the second half, Georgetown pressured the West Virginia defense from the whistle. In the 50th minute, Leat came up with a big save to keep the Hoyas in the match as she charged off her line to shut down another scoring attempt by Stahl.
The Hoyas responded with several chances of their own, including a first-time shot rocketed from outside the box in the 56th minute by senior midfielder Carson Nizialek and a shot from senior forward Paula Germino-Watnick on a cross in the box that ultimately went wide of the net in the 57th minute. Georgetown maintained pressure, forcing West Virginia to scramble to make clearances on a consistent basis throughout the second half.
West Virginia goalkeeper Rylee Foster held down the Mountaineers’ defense, making two crucial saves in the second half to prevent the Hoyas from pulling within one. In the 79th minute, Georgetown executed one of its most dangerous plays of the game as a corner kick by Germino-Watnick found the head of Carolan, who directed it on frame. Foster pushed the ball away at the last second to deny Carolan a goal.
The play gave the Hoyas another corner, this time taken by Richards. Freshman midfielder Julia Leas received the corner from Richards in the air and headed the ball on frame for yet another shot attempt by the Hoyas. Leas’ shot was ultimately rejected by Foster as she just got a glove on the shot to deflect the ball away.
The Blue and Gray offense would tally four more shots before the end of regulation but ultimately found itself unable to capitalize as it fell by a final score of 2-0. In the game, the Georgetown offense found itself plagued by offsides calls, recording five infractions to West Virginia’s one. Despite efforts to play balls through to awaiting forwards, the Hoyas could not find the right timing. On the day, Georgetown outshot West Virginia 19-8 and had a 10-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Georgetown ends its 2019 season with 13 wins and a No. 25 ranking in the nation. The Hoyas finished the season with numerous league recognitions, including Germino-Watnick’s title of the Big East midfielder of the year and senior defender Meaghan Nally’s title of Big East defensive player of the Year. With the conclusion of the season, Georgetown loses six seniors, including Nally, Germino-Watnick and leading scorer Carolan.
Head Coach Dave Nolan expressed his appreciation for the senior class and their contributions to the program over the past four years in an interview with GUHoyas.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow for the team, especially for the seniors. They have to think back to the last four years and the careers that they had at Georgetown,” Nolan said. “If making the NCAA tournament every year and getting to the Big East final every year is failure, then that is an incredibly high-level failure.”
After a first-round exit in the NCAA tournament and a second-place finish in the Big East championship this season, the Hoyas now look to the upcoming 2020 season with hopes to rebuild, once again secure the title of Big East champions and earn another appearance in the NCAA tournament.