The Georgetown women’s soccer team (7-1-5, 3-0-2 Big East) emerged victorious against a persistent and resolute DePaul University (4-5-2, 0-3-1 Big East) on Sunday, made even more special by the team’s celebration of its seniors.
The win came after a special moment for senior midfielder Tatum Lenain, who found the back of the net late into the second half to secure the victory for the Hoyas on senior day.
The No. 12 Hoyas triumphed 1-0 over the visiting Blue Demons, maintaining their unbeaten record in conference play so far this season. After a 0-0 stalemate away at UConn last week, the Hoyas have relished being back to winning ways.
Prior to the match, Georgetown recognized its 10 senior and graduate student players midfielder Julia Leas, goalkeeper Allie Augur, forward Allie Winstanley, midfielder Emma Davis, defender Brianne Riley, midfielder Grace Sherman, defender Erin Junkmann, defender Alex Bair, midfielder Erin Martin and Lenain. The players and their families were showered with rousing applause from the rest of the team and the Hoya supporters.
The Hoyas set the tone early, pressuring high up the pitch and causing problems for the Blue Demons on the wings. For the first 15 minutes of the match, the Georgetown midfield dominated in possession and utilized the pace of wide forwards Winstanley and sophomore Natalie Means to create a number of crossing opportunities and corners. Despite this incessant deluge, the DePaul defense stood up to the challenge and was effective in limiting the Hoyas from creating any meaningful chances at goal.
Midway through the first half, the Hoyas had their first real sight of goal, as a stellar delivery from Junkmann found her center-back partner in graduate student Riley, who peeled off into the space between the two DePaul center-backs and nodded a looping header that struck the top of the crossbar. Inches away from scoring, Georgetown continued to pile on the pressure, as Winstanley beat her marker with a change of pace and found sophomore forward Henley Tippins at the near post, who hit a sweet first-time strike that was stopped by keeper Elena Milam.
Despite the Hoyas seeing the majority of possession in the opposition’s half, the contest remained scoreless at halftime. Georgetown created 10 corners in the first half alone, but only had a couple of clear chances at goal.
The second half began with a surge from the visitors. Substitute forward Freya Jupp was able to get in behind the Hoya defense, causing problems with her pace, and the Blue Demons started to pose a threat from set pieces. However, Georgetown was able to soak up the pressure and quickly began to build momentum of its own.
Head Coach Dave Nolan decided to switch to a back three in the 70th minute, taking off Junkmann in favor of Lenain to give his team a little more punch on the offensive end. His change in tactics was almost instantaneously rewarded, as in the 73rd minute, a miscued clearance from the visitors fell to Lenain, wide open in the box, who quickly shifted her feet and curled a shot into the top left corner.
Despite being 1-0 up, the Hoyas refused to take their foot off the gas, as they continued with their back three in hopes of securing a two-goal cushion. The chance came off yet another corner when Davis was able to comfortably guide the ball into a gaping net, but this was not incidental, as DePaul’s keeper had been bundled over and fouled prior to the shot.
The final moments of the match almost gave the Hoyas a scare, as a last-second corner attempt found a DePaul player wide open at the back post, but her shot blazed over the bar and the Hoyas survived.
Junior forward Erika Harwood impressed once again as an outside back, proving effective on both sides at progressing the ball with her strong driving runs forward. Sophomore midfielder Shay Montgomery also made an impact as a substitute, retaining the ball well in tight spaces and threading passes into the forwards. Juniors forward Maja Lardner and midfielder Claire Manning both returned to the pitch from injury, which will be a huge boost for the Hoyas moving forward.
The Hoyas extended their unbeaten start to conference play with a scoreless draw against Xavier (9-2-3, 2-0-3 Big East) and will look to snag an away win this Sunday, Oct. 8 on the road against Seton Hall (6-5-2, 2-2-1 Big East).