The Georgetown women’s soccer team (11-3-3, 5-1-2 Big East) will host Xavier (8-6-4, 4-2-2 Big East) at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. The Hoyas are guaranteed at least fourth place in the conference and one home Big East Tournament game, but the team knows that a win guarantees first place and home field advantage throughout Big East postseason play.
“We’ve tended to take care of business [at home],” Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan said. “Going into the game tomorrow, it’s more a mentality of, ‘Hey, we’re at home; we’re comfortable playing on grass; let’s go out there with the right attitude and get the result.”
Xavier has already clinched a spot in the tournament and sits only three points Georgetown in the Big East standings heading into the final day.
“[Xavier head coach] Nate [Lie]’s done a really good job there. He’s turned around that program and he’s turned around expectations,” Nolan said. “They’ve got plenty to play for in the game.”
The Musketeers could theoretically still win the Big East regular season should they beat Georgetown and see Butler (11-1-5, 4-0-4 Big East) and Providence (10-6-1, 5-2-1 Big East) fall at the final hurdle. However, with a loss and wins for Marquette (11-6-1, 4-4 Big East) and St. John’s (8-8-1, 4-4 Big East), who still have yet to clinch tournament berths, Xavier would fall to sixth. The Musketeers are the only team that can finish from first to sixth in the Big East, meaning the Musketeers are playing for the right to host a Big East quarterfinal.
This is the last day of the regular season, which means that it’s the final regular season home game for Georgetown’s 2018 senior class. Goalkeeper Ali Lonner, defenders Drew Topor and Elizabeth Wenger, midfielders Rachel Corboz, Taylor Pak, and Chloe Nott, and forward Leah McCullough will all make their regular season bows for the Blue and Gray. Goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman transferred to Georgetown from UCLA, so she will not be honored this Senior Day and return next season in her final year of eligibility.
“They’re a wonderful group of kids. They’re great to be around,” Nolan said. “In many ways, they drove the team last year as juniors, and this year they’re trying their best to drive it as seniors.”
Lonner and McCullough have not seen playing time this season, but Nolan cites their energy as critical to the team’s success.
“We wouldn’t be able to do what we’ve done without their personality and what they bring to the table,” he said.
Corboz is four assists shy of tying the all-time program record for career assists and has been the star in this team. Alongside her are her two partners in crime in the middle of the park. Pak and Knott’s work is instrumental to allowing Corboz a free role to terrorize opposing defenses, winning tackles and shielding the back four to perfection in front of Georgetown’s nearly impenetrable defense.
“Chloe and Taylor have really, for the last two years, been, along with Rachel, our midfield engine, and they’re had great careers,” Nolan said.
Wenger is the leader in Georgetown’s back line, combining blistering pace to chase down opposing forwards with smart use of her body to block any routes through once she catches them. The Preseason Big East Defensive Player of the Year pick has lived up to the expectations this year for the Hoyas.
“If she doesn’t win Defensive Player of the Year in the conference there’s something really wrong,” Nolan said. “She’s going to be a huge loss.”
Topor started all of last season until picking up an injury in the Elite Eight win over Santa Clara and missing the College Cup clash against Southern California but hasn’t been a sure pick to make the team sheet this season. She is still a valuable piece of Nolan’s team though, proving her quality when on the field and encouraging her teammates when on the bench.
“Drew Topor’s one of the most selfless kids that we’ve had on our team,” Nolan said. “She’s the first person to celebrate when the team wins; she’s the first person to congratulate [freshman defender] Kelly Ann [Livingstone] when she plays well. Without that we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
The senior class has won a Big East Tournament and reached the first Final Four in school history, but one of the few accolades it has yet to earn is a Big East regular season title. After finishing second in the conference in 2014 and 2015 and third place last year, the seniors look to close out their regular season careers by adding one more milestone to their already glittering resumes.