The No. 15 Georgetown women’s soccer team (5-2-1, Big East) played a hard fought 0-0 draw against No. 14 Rutgers (6-0-1, Big Ten). Georgetown senior midfielder Rachel Corboz came the closest to breaking the deadlock, hitting the post in the first period of overtime as well as forcing six saves from Rutgers’ redshirt junior goalkeeper Casey Murphy. The game also saw the return of senior defender Elizabeth Wenger, who played the full 110 minutes after sitting out of Friday’s match with a knee injury, although not fully match fit.
The first half was largely played in the middle of the field with nothing much of note happening for either team. Corboz found sophomore forward/midfielder Paula Germino-Watnick with a cross, but the resulting header wasn’t hit with much power, allowing Murphy to pick it up with ease.
The Hoyas were able to attack occasionally after winning the ball off of Rutgers in promising positions, but in the first half, the final ball just wasn’t there and, as a result, the Scarlet Knights’ back line was sparsely tested.
On the other end of the field, Rutgers freshman forward Amirah Ali made life difficult for the Georgetown defense. She repeatedly tested the speed of Georgetown’s center backs, Wenger and junior defender Jenna Staudt, as well as physically imposing her will on the two defenders who coped well with the challenge.
“I thought Jenna [Staudt] and Lizzie [Wenger] did a great job off Amirah Ali because she’s a real handful,” said Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan.
Georgetown senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman and Murphy both dealt with harmless shots right at them as the half drew to a close, with the Hoyas controlling more of the proceedings but unable to breach their opponent’s defense.
The game came alive in the second half. Schechtman came out to the edge of her box in the 53rd minute to block a shot, and only a minute later, Georgetown junior forward Caitlin Farrell nearly got a toe on a dangerous cross from Germino-Watnick.
The Hoyas controlled the pace of play and kept Rutgers pinned in its defensive third as the introduction of freshman forward Jenna Menta added a new injection of pace into the team.
Senior midfielder Taylor Pak came close on two long range efforts, the first being headed behind by the Rutgers defense for a corner and the second forcing Murphy into a diving save. Corboz looked to have a certain goal from the rebound but a block from the Rutgers defense denied Georgetown once again.
Despite Georgetown’s dominance, Rutgers held firm and nearly nicked a couple goals of their own against the run of play. Georgetown freshman defender Kelly Ann Livingstone was impeccable in a two-on-one situation to break up a Rutgers attack in the 81st minute and send the Hoyas on the counter. Farrell’s cross was just deflected enough to go behind Menta, who was slashing across the box a step ahead of her defender.
Rutgers sophomore defender Chantelle Swaby joined the attack for some extra height up front and drove a cross to Ali’s head in the 83rd minute that the freshman couldn’t direct on target under no pressure from the Hoyas defense.
It would be the last chance of the half for the Scarlet Knights as the Hoyas pinned Rutgers back once again for the last five minutes of the half. Farrell nearly had a tap in at the six yard box off a cross from senior midfielder Chloe Knott, but another last ditch block from Rutgers saved the goal once again. Otherwise, Corboz swung in set piece after set piece, a strategy that didn’t bear fruit for the Hoyas.
In the end, the teams finished the 90 minutes scoreless and began golden goal overtime with the crowd in a frenzy.
It looked to be over in the 95th minute when Farrell found space down the right wing to play in a low cross to Germino-Watnick. The sophomore forward set up just outside of the six-yard spot with her back to goal to let the ball run across her body to shoot on the half turn. As the ball came across, the defender tried to reach around Germino-Watnick and seemingly make contact with the forward, bringing her to the ground. Corboz, who was trailing the play, began lightly jogging to the ball, expecting the ball to come, but the referee controversially waved away the protests from the crowd. Corboz then pounced on the loose ball only to strike the post beyond Murphy’s outstretched hand.
“I thought Paula [Germino-Watnick] did a good job of getting between the defender and the ball, and then I see her on her back,” said Nolan. “I’m surprised it wasn’t a penalty; I’m disappointed it wasn’t a penalty, but I’d need to look at the video before I start throwing darts at a photograph of the referee.”
The game went on and Schechtman was called into action herself, stretching to steal a certain goal out of the top left corner in the 99th minute for her third save of the game, the first she had to make in over 40 minutes.
In the second overtime period, Ali almost exploited to tired legs of the Georgetown defense, making her way past the defenders through brute force but was unable to keep her shot low.
Midway through the period, Corboz had a free kick from a wide position and tried to catch the goalkeeper off guard. Murphy recovered to tip the ball away from the top corner and extend the game. The Hoyas continued to push at the Rutgers defense, bending the Scarlet Knights considerably, but the shields didn’t break, and Rutgers managed to escape Shaw Field with a draw on a day that they were thoroughly outplayed.
“It’s always a little frustrating, but we’re the type of team that we just keep plugging away,” said Wenger. “Today was unlucky in that respect.”
“I think they will be happier with the draw than we are, but I don’t think the result is a disaster,” said Nolan.
The Hoyas continue to struggle against ranked teams this season. Against unranked competition, Georgetown is 5-0-0 with 18 goals scored and none allowed. In contrast, the Hoyas are 0-2-1 in their games against No. 1 West Virginia (5-2, Big 12), No. 5 Stanford (6-1, PAC-12), and No. 14 Rutgers with zero goals scored and five allowed. Still, only Stanford truly outplayed the Blue and Gray, and the team is hoping to get better results in its future matches.
“If it was a boxing match we would’ve won it on points,” said Nolan. “I can’t fault the kids’ performance today.”
Georgetown looks to return to winning ways at Towson (3-4-1, CAA) this coming Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Image Credits: Georgetown Sports Information