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Explosive attack keeps lady Hoyas undefeated
Most students walking to classes this week would say that even though it’s the start of the fall semester, it doesn’t feel as though fall has really begun. The summer heat is still blazing, and no one knows that better than the Georgetown women’s soccer team.
Yesterday, the team was playing in what Head Coach Dave Nolan called, “extremely hot temperatures,” in Villanova, Pa. as they took on the Wildcats in their first Big East regular season game.
Following two goals from junior forward Camille Trujillo, the Hoyas beat rival Villanova 3-1 to improve to 4-0-0, 1-0-0 (Big East).
The first games of the season are vital, especially for the team to get off to a good start, but Big East games seem a little bigger.
“It always is [intense],” Nolan said. “The returning players know conference games have a little edge to them.”
That includes Trujillo. Her two-goal game was the second in the young season, after she scored two goals in the Hoyas’ season-opening 9-0 win over American.
In its game against Villanova, the Hoyas scored all their goals in the first half. Trujillo scored in the 18th minute, but Villanova tied the game four minutes later. Only five minutes after the Villanova equalizer, Trujillo added her second goal on an assist from junior midfielder Ingrid Wells. Freshman Kaitlin Brenn then added some breathing room with a goal on a throw-in from junior Sam Baker.
The Hoyas have been a prolific scoring team early on this season, averaging 5.0 goals per game so far, and Nolan only expects that trend to continue.
“We’re an explosive team,” he said. “The system we play is designed to put our best attack on the fields at the same time.”
Nolan, though, thought the team could have scored more goals in the second half, but the combination of Villanova’s play and the heat kept the Hoyas scoreless in the second half.
“You have to give Villanova credit,” Nolan said. “They put us on our back foot.”
Even though the season is still young, it seems the chemistry on the team is already fully developed. When the squad is at full strength, the Hoyas have a sixth sense for finding their teammates on the field.
“I think we’re really good,” Trujillo said. “We know where everyone is going to be and we know when to make our runs.”
One key to the Hoyas’ 4-0 run early in the season has been the use of its freshmen. Three freshmen started against Villanova, and one of them, Brenn, scored the third goal. Brenn’s fellow freshman teammates Kailey Blain, Mary Kroening, and Alexa St. Martin have made key impacts early on in their collegiate careers.
Still, Nolan explained that the quick pace of Big East play was quicker than the Hoyas’ early season opponents, and it took some time for the young guns to become acquainted with the speed of the game.
Helping the Hoyas even more have been the goalkeeping skills of senior Jackie DesJardin. DesJardin had a 292 minute scoreless streak until the 22 minute mark of the Villanova game. The Hoyas’ career leader in shutouts, DesJardin has an impressive 16 shutouts in 34 starts.
Even though DesJardin let up her first goal of the season, Nolan explained that with more help from her defenders, DesJardin could have pitched another shutout.
“I’m disappointed,” Nolan said. “She made a great save, and on the rebound, a girl was there to kick it in. If her defenders were there, they could have helped her.”
The Hoyas need DesJardin to play at her best all season because their schedule is tough, with games against storied Rutgers, Notre Dame, and Santa Clara programs.
Still, even in the dog days of summer, the Hoyas seem to have come out at an explosive offensive pace thanks to fresh legs and an outstanding goaltender. It doesn’t look like they’re going to be cooled off anytime soon.