Upon completing the most successful season in program history, the women’s soccer team saw the Georgetown President’s Office invite the Georgetown community to a welcoming rally for its return to campus.
On its first trip to the College Cup, Georgetown’s (20-3-3, 6-1-2 Big East) quest for a national championship came up short; however, the team’s season is still one to be celebrated.
“It has been an amazing year for our women’s soccer program and the accomplishments, the history. They’ve made all of us here at Georgetown extremely proud to be associated with them, to support them and really proud to watch their personal and team achievements,” Georgetown Director of Athletics Lee Reed said in his opening remarks.
The team stood on the Healy Hall steps as Reed, University President John DeGioia, women’s soccer Head Coach Dave Nolan and graduate student defender Marina Paul addressed the crowd of students, faculty and staff.
Signs reading “2016 NCAA College Cup Big East Tournament Champions” flanked the main wreath on Healy Hall.
“Over my time here, I’ve come to realize what a special place Georgetown is and what special people we have here,” Nolan said as he addressed the crowd. Despite the disappointment that came with the loss to the eventual national champion, University of Southern California (19-4-2, 8-2-1 Pac-12), Nolan praised his team’s hard work and dedication throughout the season.
“I couldn’t be any prouder,” Nolan said of his team in an interview with The Hoya. “We would have liked to have gone on and gone a little bit further, but at the end of the day of the 362 schools, there was four competing for a national championship and we were one of the four, which is pretty cool.”
In addition to Coach Nolan, graduate student defender and captain Marina Paul also spoke to the Georgetown faithful, reflecting on the historic season and the team’s success.
“This group of young women standing behind me is a unique and incredible group of women,” Paul said of her team. “They embody hard work, excellence and what it truly means to have a strong sense of character, and I think these values are very symbolic of what it means to be a Hoya and we will always be forever proud to be Hoyas and to play for our school with pride.”
Under Paul’s leadership, the Hoyas backline held their opponents scoreless in the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The first and only goal conceded by the Hoyas’ defense was the lone goal in their semifinal match against the USC Trojans.
Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson attended the event to show his support for the team.
“Our women’s program has been a great example of great sportsmanship, great academic success, great competition for years and to see them reach this new height is very exciting,” Olson said in an interview following the event. “It’s clear that the women on this team also embody just great character, great heart and great drive and I’m very enthused that they made it this far.”
Among the students who showed their support for the team was Hoya Blue Communications Director Jacob Steinberg (COL ’18). Holding a leadership position in the official student section of Georgetown athletics, Steinberg followed the success of the team all season long.
“It was a historic run they went on. Anytime you have a team that’s one of the four best — you know in all of American collegiate soccer or all of American collegiate sports — it’s an exciting time for your university, and I’m just excited to be here to witness it,” Steinberg said.
With the historic season ending, Nolan realizes the impending consequences that come from having a great senior class.
“The hardest part of this whole thing is when you have to say goodbye to seniors, especially when they’re a good group, and this has been a great group,” Nolan said of the players who will graduate this year.
However, he has faith in the lasting impact of this group of leaders.
“It certainly made their senior year a little more memorable,” Nolan said. “It will drive on next year’s seniors to try and have a special year.”
Hoya Staff Writers Madeline Auerbach and Tara Subramaniam contributed reporting.