The No. 10 Georgetown women’s soccer team defeated the Creighton Bluejays 2-1 in the Big East tournament semifinal April 16 to advance to the conference tournament championship game April 18.
On a wet, windy afternoon at Providence College’s Chapey Field, the Hoyas (11-0-1, 7-0-1 Big East) narrowly overcame the Bluejays (4-6, 4-4 Big East) in overtime.
The Hoyas, unbeaten on the season and top-seeded in the Big East, started the game out slowly but eventually found their stride. Big East Offensive Player of the Year and Georgetown senior forward Jenna Menta’s grounded cross into the box was not intercepted by Creighton, and sophomore forward Gia Vicari picked up the scraps, rifling the ball into the roof of the net for her 10th goal of the season and putting the Hoyas up 1-0 in the ninth minute.
Following the goal, Georgetown continued to control the majority of the possession, displaying the passing and technical ability that helped the team score 26 goals in 10 games prior to its matchup against Creighton.
Creighton seemed unable to string together more than a few passes, and Georgetown’s relentless defensive pressure prevented the Bluejays from advancing the ball far into the Hoyas’ territory.
With around 22 minutes left to play in the first half, Georgetown was almost rewarded with a second goal. Junior midfielder Maya Fernandez-Powell’s corner kick was met by junior midfielder Devon Lis, who skewed her header wide from an unguarded position just six yards out. The ball failed to find the back of the goal.
However, after a few minutes of possession in the Hoyas’ defensive half, the Bluejays equalized.
A cross into the box by Creighton forward Skylar Heinrich was headed directly into the air by a Georgetown defender, and as it came down, Georgetown senior goalkeeper Alyssa Navarrete failed to punch the ball clear. Creighton midfielder Keelie Fothergill got to the ball before Navarrete and headed it to midfielder Aida Kardovic, who poked the ball into an open net to level the score at 1-1 in the 27th minute.
The remainder of the first half saw both teams have equal shares of possession, but neither team was able to create any real goal-scoring opportunities.
Having only conceded one goal in the season prior to the Creighton match, Georgetown came into the second half prepared to tighten up its defense, as Head Coach Dave Nolan swapped starting keeper Navarrete out for graduate keeper Lauren Gallagher.
The second half was tightly contested by both teams, with neither team able to come away with an elusive second goal. Creighton had a few shots saved by Gallagher, and Georgetown’s best chance of the second half, a shot by sophomore forward Sofie Fox ten yards out, was blocked by a Creighton defender.
As the final whistle blew to send the game into the first ten-minute overtime period, which would be won by the first team to score a goal, either team appeared as if it could score the deciding goal.
Just one minute into the first overtime period, following a foul by the Bluejays inside the penalty box, sophomore midfielder Julia Leas coolly converted a penalty kick with the aim to send the Hoyas to their fifth straight Big East Championship game. Creighton goalkeeper Keelan Terrell dove the right way, but the pace and power on the shot propelled it past her outstretched hands.
The Hoyas were determined to avoid an upset to Creighton, and they accomplished their goal.