The Georgetown women’s soccer team (14-3-3) begins its NCAA tournament journey at Wake Forest (11-5-3) tonight at 7:00 pm ET. The Hoyas enter the tournament on the back of two dominant performances in the Big East Championship, dismantling conference rivals Marquette (13-7-1) and Butler (13-2-5) en route to a second straight Big East title.
Despite being 20 spots higher in the RPI than their opponents, the Hoyas aren’t hosting their first round NCAA matchup against the Demon Deacons. As a result, Georgetown will likely travel for every game they play in this year’s tournament.
“In soccer, they only really protect the top 16 seeds. After that, then they’re bound by two constraints: one of them is, you cannot have conference teams play in the first two rounds, and the second one is a 400 mile radius,” Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan said. “None of the teams south of us won their conference tournament like Richmond, JMU, or William and Mary, or they would have been going to Wake Forest, so that left them with four ACC schools in North Carolina needing teams to play: We were the closest.”
Wake Forest hasn’t qualified for the tournament since 2013 when Hoyas assistant coach Kristen Meier still played for the ACC team. This year’s Wake team has gotten results against three ranked programs, likely the reason, according to Nolan, that it will host the matchup as Georgetown was held scoreless against ranked opposition until the Big East final. Coupled with the notorious difficulty of succeeding in the ACC, it’s a stauncher test than Nolan would have liked to open his team’s tournament campaign.
“They’re very similar to us except they probably don’t have the explosive pace that we have,” Nolan said. “We both would’ve wanted an easier game first time ‘round, but it is what it is.”
The Demon Deacons are led offensively by junior midfielder Bayley Feist, who has tallied eight goals and two assists this season . The Hoyas will look to continue riding senior midfielder Rachel Corboz’ hot hand. Corboz scored three goals and assisted on two more in the Big East tournament and is instrumental in the way the team dictates the pace of play. In their current form, the Hoyas aren’t worried about the need to travel.
“The kids weren’t fazed. When the announcement came out they were like, ‘Oh, we’re playing Wake Forest,’ and their second question was ‘What time do we leave Thursday?’” Nolan said. “Other people, I think, are making a bigger deal out of it than we necessarily are.”
For more information on what potentially awaits the Hoyas beyond tonight’s game, visit our NCAA tournament preview.
Image Credits: Georgetown Sports Information