After capping off its dominant, 1-loss regular season with a Big East tournament title, the Georgetown women’s soccer team entered the NCAA Tournament full of confidence in its ability to make a run at the national title. Opening tournament play on Shaw Field at noon Nov. 11, the third-seed Hoyas took on the equally resolute Old Dominion Monarchs.
The Hoyas (13-1-7, 6-0-4 Big East) ultimately prevailed over the Sun Belt champion Monarchs (13-3-5, 5-2-3 Sun Belt), taking the victory in a tightly contested, 2-1 overtime win.
Though Old Dominion took the opening kickoff, Georgetown sought to assert itself early. The Hoyas challenged the Monarchs deep in their half, gaining possession and nearly taking a shot in the first minutes of the match.
Georgetown dominated time of possession for the first five minutes of the match, but Old Dominion wrestled back control. The Monarchs took play deep into Hoya territory, taking two shots in the fourth and sixth minutes, respectively. Neither shot, however, landed on target.
Though Georgetown’s stout defense managed to keep the score even, the Hoyas struggled to regain possession. After surrendering another two shots, albeit inaccurate ones, to Old Dominion, Georgetown finally managed to regain possession in about the 12th minute. The Hoyas would take the ball downfield, but they could not manage a shot on goal.
In the 16th minute, Old Dominion would surrender a free kick deep in their territory. Georgetown’s kicker sought to set a downfield teammate up with a chance to score, but nothing came of it. The Hoyas did get another chance, however, receiving an additional free kick about two minutes later. They were again unable to take advantage of the opportunity, as an Old Dominion defender headed away the ball.
Through much of the first half, the two sides jockeyed for control. Georgetown junior forward Maja Lardner had two good runs, though neither ended with a score.
With about 11 minutes remaining in the first half, the Hoyas played deep into Monarch territory, taking several shots. Throughout this series, Georgetown managed two accurate shots, but Old Dominion keeper Emily Bredek saved both.
Following an injury timeout, the Monarchs came out strong. In the 39th minute, Old Dominion earned a free kick. Old Dominion forward Anna Tørsløv took the kick, setting up defender Ashlynn Kulha to head the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net. Kulha broke the stalemate and put Old Dominion ahead 1-0, a score they held until halftime.
Coming out of halftime with their season on the line, the Hoyas were determined to get on the board. They took the opening kickoff and quickly made their way into Old Dominion territory. The Hoyas took two shots, but neither found the back of the net. Georgetown played aggressively, keeping the pressure on Old Dominion and dominating time of possession for the early part of the second half.
As the clock ticked on, Georgetown began to play with increased urgency. Though corner kicks and scoring opportunities abounded, they simply could not capitalize. With about 18 minutes remaining, the Hoyas went downfield yet again, pressing offensively and earning another corner kick in the process. Senior midfielder Tatum Lenain sent a perfectly placed ball to the net for graduate defender Brianne Riley, who headed the ball past the goalkeeper to even the score.
With the momentum on their side, the Hoyas kept up the intensity as they looked to go up another goal and seal the victory. Georgetown had several free kicks and breakaway runs in the closing moments of regulation, but none were enough to put them ahead.
The two sides were still tied after 90 minutes, leading the match to overtime. Georgetown took the opening kick and came out gunning. Both teams had opportunities to score, but neither followed through.
In the final minute of the first overtime period, Georgetown regained possession and attacked the goal. With mere seconds remaining before the halftime whistle, Lardner beat two defenders on an outside run and sent a cross toward the net, where sophomore forward Natalie Means was waiting. Means slotted the ball in the bottom left corner past the keeper to put Georgetown ahead, 2-1.
Having finally gotten ahead of the Monarchs, the Hoyas simply had to play defense and preserve their lead through the final ten minutes — and did just that. With the victory, Georgetown punched its ticket to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan gave praise to his opponent after the game.
“We knew it was going to be tough as there are no easy games in the NCAA Championships,” Nolan told Georgetown Athletics after the game. “All credit to Old Dominion, they were every bit the team we thought they would be, and we are just happy to be moving on to the next round.”
The Hoyas look to continue their postseason push as they take on St. Louis University on Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.