After a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat against the DePaul Blue Demons in last year’s Big East tournament final and other disappointing conference tournament performances in recent years, the Georgetown women’s soccer team (11-5-2, 6-1-2 Big East) looks to finally capture the elusive Big East title. The Hoyas received the second seed in the tournament after defeating the Creighton Bluejays (10-10, 2-7 Big East) 3-1 in their final regular season game.
As the second seed, the Hoyas earned a first-round bye, sending them straight to the semifinals where they will face the sixth-seeded Providence Friars (13-7, 5-4 Big East) in Omaha, Neb. The Friars upset the third-seeded DePaul Blue Demons in the quarterfinals 1-0.
“They’re just very energized,” graduate student goalkeeper Emma Newins said. “It’s going to be a big game. I don’t think we should take them lightly. Going in, we thought DePaul was going to beat them in the quarterfinals, but we need to take it very seriously because they are a good team now.”
The Big East named Newins to the All-Big East Second Team this week, and six other Hoyas were recognized as well. The conference also named sophomore midfielder Rachel Corboz the Big East Midfielder of the year and to the All-Big East First Team. Finally, the Big East named five Hoyas, including Newins, to the All-Big East Second Team, and named freshman forward Caitlin Farrell to the All-Big East Freshman Team.
The Hoyas took pride in their selections, but Head Coach Dave Nolan believes the team deserved more first team selections.
“I was a little bit disappointed that we didn’t have one or two more kids on the first team. I don’t understand how a team that has come second in the division only places one kid on the first team,” Nolan said.
However, Nolan is pleased that Corboz received a major award.
“Any time you win one of the major awards, that means you’ve got a major player. For Rachel to win midfielder of the year, only as a sophomore, she follows in the line of great midfielders that we’ve had,” Nolan said.
Corboz leads the team this season with 10 goals and eight assists, and will be an integral part of Georgetown’s attack Friday. The Blue and Gray will need more of the same dynamic play from the attacking midfielder to help them succeed this weekend. Corboz has been a catalyst, both in the run of play and when she has taken set pieces for Georgetown.
“Our attacking midfield player is always a crucial role for our team, sort of the leader out on the field to make plays happen, and connects the ball from defense to offense. She’s done a tremendous job this season,” Newins said.
Despite the strength of the midfield, Georgetown’s defensive play may ultimately be the decisive factor between success and failure. The Hoyas had two defenders, sophomore Elizabeth Wenger and senior Sarah Adams, named to the All-Big East second team, but the team will need to shore up its backline to have success in the Big East tournament, especially because it will face Providence senior forward Catherine Zimmerman. Zimmerman was named All-Big East first team and recorded six goals and four assists this season.
“We need to be disciplined at the back; we’re still giving up more goals than I would like us to give up,” Nolan said. “It’s something that I just keep hammering to these guys; ultimately, defense wins you championships.”
Georgetown has never won the Big East tournament. Capturing the championship would secure a spot for the Hoyas in the NCAA tournament.
“It would be so exciting to win this tournament; our team has never done it before,” Newins said. “That would also mean that we would get an automatic bid for NCAAs, which is one of our goals as a team.”
Georgetown faces Providence on Friday at 8 p.m. If the Hoyas advance, they will face the winner of the Butler Bulldogs (14-6-1, 6-3 Big East) and St. John’s Red Storm (15-2-1, 7-1-1 Big East) game in the tournament final.