In their first match since the 2016 College Cup semifinal, the No.5 Georgetown Women’s Soccer Team (Big East) will be back on Shaw Field Friday at 4:00 pm. Their opponent: College Cup finalist and preseason No. 1 West Virginia (Big 12). It is the first game of the season for both teams, who are each coming off of excellent campaigns last year, and have been ranked among the top squads in the country for 2017.
The Hoyas and Mountaineers met early in the season last year, when Georgetown won a double-overtime thriller, handing then- No. 2 ranked West Virginia their first home loss in two years. Then- senior Grace Damaska scored a goal late in the second overtime period to hand the game to the Hoyas. After a Georgetown loss to eventual champion USC (Pac 12) last year kept the Hoyas out of the national championship game, which West Virginia lost in, Friday’s matchup will be the first time the teams face each other since last year’s battle in Morgantown.
Friday’s game is the latest in what has become a long rivalry between the two teams, dating back to West Virginia’s days in the Big East. The Hoyas topped the Mountaineers in a 2015 exhibition match, and in 2014 beat the Mountaineers in the NCAA Tournament on penalty kicks.
“From our Big East days, we’ve always played a good game against them,” Georgetown Head Coach Dave Nolan said of the team’s history against West Virginia. “It’s been a long, long time since there was a game decided by more than one goal.”
“I want that game more than anything,” West Virginia’s sophomore goalkeeper Rylee Foster told The Dominion Post. Damaska’s goal in 2016 was one of only seven that Foster allowed all year. The loss was one of just two that the Mountaineers would suffer.
Unlike last year’s Hoyas team, which entered the season unranked and relatively unnoticed, the 2017 Georgetown squad has gained a lot of attention in preseason analysis. Georgetown was named the preseason favorite to win the Big East, and multiple players were named as individual standouts in the conference. Senior midfielder Rachel Corboz was named Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, senior defender Elizabeth Wenger took Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, and junior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman was named Preseason Goalkeeper of the year.
Last year, Corboz led the team in offensive production with 11 goals and 16 assists. She was recently named to the watch list for the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy, the most prestigious award a college soccer player can earn.
“That’s all on paper, but our game is played on grass,” Nolan said about the preseason recognition. “There are some nice accolades, but ultimately it’s not going to affect anything that we’re trying to do.”
Corboz is joined by returning seniors Drew Topor, Elizabeth Wenger, Taylor Pak, and Chloe Knott, who were all essential to the Hoyas’ 2016 run. Head Coach Dave Nolan is returning for his thirteenth year leading the team.
There are eight freshmen entering this year’s Georgetown team, including forward Jenna Menta who was named to the 2016 New York All State Team and Isabelle Fuchs, a 2015 and 2016 Massachusetts All State Team member.