The harrowing reputation of the Georgetown University women’s soccer team’s defense is well known around the Big East Conference; it has been the backbone of their continued success and undefeated record against fellow conference schools this season. Behind the Hoyas’s seemingly impenetrable defense, however, is an offense that has tallied just two goals total over the past four games.
The Seton Hall University Pirates (6-6-3, 2-3-2 Big East) found themselves moments away from toppling the giants before a last-minute goal from No. 12 Georgetown (8-1-6, 4-0-3 Big East) settled the match in a 1-1 tie on Sunday in South Orange, N.J. As conditioned and technical as the Hoyas played, all their attacks fell short.
Through the opening 10 minutes, the Hoyas were tentative to strike, but a corner kick in minute 10 galvanized Georgetown into action. Crisp passes and precise ball control separated the navy from the white kits. Georgetown’s ball movement was surgical and calculated, indicative of a nationally ranked team. The Pirates had no shortage of looks, but a fierce Hoya defensive unit limited Seton Hall to chances on the counter and difficult shots.
In minute 41, sophomore midfielder Shay Montgomery fired a shot that seemed destined for the top-left corner in what was the best scoring opportunity of the half for the Hoyas. However, her strike was a hair too strong, sailing just over the crossbar.
Four corner kicks also failed to yield a goal for the Hoyas, who seemed to be doing everything right except finding the back of the net. Despite an intense 44th minute in which the Hoyas enjoyed extensive possession, both teams remained scoreless at the half.
Georgetown emerged from their half-time huddle hungry for a goal with a renewed spirit. The Hoya attackers dominated as they maintained possession and dribbled around the Pirate defense for the first 10 minutes of the half. A goal seemed inevitable. However, senior midfielder Tatum Lenain narrowly missed over the crossbar from the penalty spot, and the Hoyas were unable to capitalize on their second-half burst.
Amid what appeared to be total Georgetown dominance, the Pirates found a rare window and struck. From way outside the box, Seton Hall midfielder Natalie Tavana drilled a screamer that ricocheted off the hands of graduate goalkeeper Allie Augur into the top of the Georgetown net, assisted by defensemen Lily Camacho and Caroline Lipton. Tavana’s goal was her team’s first against Georgetown since 2011 — the last time Seton Hall was victorious in this matchup.
Tensions gradually rose with every second closer to the 90-minute mark as Georgetown remained scoreless. Seton Hall found themselves with the possibility of winning their first game against a ranked opponent since 2010, not just the potential to stain Georgetown’s undefeated season in the Big East.
Seton Hall goalkeeper Anna Prawer held up well against the persisting Hoya onslaught, most notably making a save off a Georgetown corner, which ricocheted off of three players before the ball found her gloves.
Desperately, Georgetown continued to fire away at Prawer, refusing to allow the underdogs any sense of comfort with their lead. With under four minutes to play in the match, sophomore forward Henley Tippins bolted down the far sideline where Montgomery found her with a deftly placed through ball. A beautiful touch by Tippins left Seton Hall midfielder Gia Milano sprawled on the turf, opening the angle for a shot that soared past Prawer into the back of the net.
Montgomery seized the momentum from Tippins’ goal and attempted to return the favor just a minute later having received a pass from Tippins, but an athletic dive by Prawer prevented the go-ahead goal. The scoreboard in New Jersey read 1-1 as time expired.
Seton Hall fumbled an opportunity to win their biggest game in a decade in the final minutes, and Georgetown nearly lost despite being the significantly more talented squad.
Georgetown returned home to a convincing 2-0 offensive showing against Villanova (4-4-6, 1-4-1 Big East) on Thursday and will look to net another home victory against Providence (8-2-3, 3-0-3 Big East) on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 1 p.m.