The Georgetown women’s soccer team (14-3-4) fell 0-0 (2-1) on penalties to Wake Forest (11-5-4) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night. The Hoyas’ season ends after Wake Forest junior goalkeeper Nonie Frishette saved three penalties in the shootout to send the Demon Deacons into the second round to face Penn St. (13-4-4).
“It wasn’t easy to go on the road against an excellent team, and I am very proud of our effort tonight,” Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan said. “We could have won it in [overtime]but could have lost it also. It was a very tight affair.”
A pedestrian first half saw Wake Forest junior midfielder Bailey Feist shooting straight at Georgetown senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman in the 16th minute, which was the first shot for either side in the match. Georgetown sophomore forward Paula Germino-Watnick matched the shot with one of her own two minutes later, forcing Wake Forest senior goalkeeper Lindsay Preston to tip the effort over the bar for a corner. Feist went wide from distance in the 30th minute with a low drive that Schechtman looked to have covered if it was on target, and neither side was able to carve out any other clear cut chances.
The second half was similarly cagey, with more fouls being committed the only indication of the heightened intensity the game took on. The clearest chance fell to Wake Forest junior midfielder Peyton Perea, but she couldn’t retain her balance at the top of the box and only directed a tame effort for Schechtman to smother.
At the other end, Georgetown senior midfielder Rachel Corboz fizzed in a free kick from the right wing for senior midfielder Chloe Knott, but the header would only fly wide. Corboz got one of few runs at the defense in the 81st minute, creating enough space for a shot on her left foot, but her curling effort wasn’t close enough to the corner and Preston easily caught it.
Wake Forest nearly won in in the first overtime period. A cross came in from the right side and Feist, the Demon Deacon’s leading scorer on the season, was able to stretch and direct a shot high and to the left of the goal. Schechtman was able to quickly react and reach a hand out to palm the effort around the post for the corner, keeping Georgetown in the game.
She was nearly rewarded in the second overtime period, when junior forward Caitlin Farrell was released down the right channel on the edge of the box. After a couple touches, Farrell blasted a shot from the edge of the six-yard box that hit the right post and stayed out. She had another left footed attempt from the top of the box that hit the top of the net before the teams went to penalties.
“After a scoreless draw, the tournament needed somebody to advance and the shootout is the only real way to do it,” Nolan said. “When you win, it’s fantastic, and when you lose, it’s gut wrenching.”
In the NCAA, any player can participate in a shootout, regardless of being on the field at the end of overtime or not. Wake used this to its advantage by substituting out its goalkeeper. Preston made way for Frishette, who immediately faced the Hoyas’ normal penalty taker, Rachel Corboz. Corboz shot her penalty into the bottom left corner and was read all the way by Frishette, who was moving even before the midfielder made contact with the ball and pushed it around the post. Senior midfielder Maddie Huster compounded the advantage for Wake and immediately put Georgetown behind the eight ball.
Only sophomore defender Meaghan Nally scored her penalty for the Hoyas, rifling her effort into the top corner. For Wake, Feist also tucked her spot kick away. The other two penalty takers, freshman forward Hannah Betfort and senior forward Kahla Seymour, had their efforts saved by Schechtman, who made a particularly good stop from Seymour, tipping the powerful effort over the bar. For Georgetown, senior midfielder Taylor Pak struck the post, and sophomore midfielder Carson Nizialek and junior midfielder Meghan Shaver’s efforts were saved by the magnificent Frishette.
The Hoyas’ season ends with a first ever Big East regular season title and a second straight Big East Championship added to the trophy shelves in the Thompson Athletic Center.
“I am so proud of the girls who stepped up to take PKs and the whole team for their dedication this year,” Nolan said. “I really can’t ask for any more from them. In a few days they will be able to look back at all they achieved this year and the pain will go away.”
Image Credits: Georgetown Sports Information