The No. 19 Georgetown women’s soccer team (13-3-3) hosts No. 20 Butler (13-1-5) for the Big East Tournament crown on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Each team comfortably won its semifinal, as Georgetown flattened Marquette (13-7-1), 4-0, and Butler trounced Providence (10-8-2), 3-0.
The Hoyas and Bulldogs are the two most recent Big East champions and boast the two best offenses in the league as well as two of the top 10 defenses in the nation. The teams swept the major Big East awards between themselves. Butler junior forward Paige Monaghan won Offensive Player of the Year, and the Georgetown senior trio of midfielder Rachel Corboz, defender Elizabeth Wenger, and goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman won Midfielder of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Goalkeeper of the Year, respectively. Butler freshman goalkeeper Leonie Doege was one of three Big East Freshman of the Year awardees. The teams earned the top two seeds for the conference tournament, and their obvious pedigree carried them to this final.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan said. “They had a very good win [Thursday] night against a Providence team that’s usually difficult to break down; Butler dismantled them. But you know what, we dismantled Marquette, and Marquette had been in a real good run of form.”
The two teams met two weeks ago in Indianapolis and played their way to a 0-0 stalemate, though both teams had golden opportunities to win the match: Georgetown through junior forward Caitlin Farrell and Butler through freshman forward Caitlyn DiSarcina. Monaghan has kept quiet in that match, and Georgetown is prepared slow her down again.
“I thought we did good job on [Monaghan] two weeks ago. She was the difference in the game [Thursday] night for them,” Nolan said. “If you manage to keep her quiet, you have a pretty good chance of getting a result.”
The biggest difference from the match two weeks ago and this championship tilt is the playing surface. Nolan’s team gunned for home field advantage and got it, making sure its conference tournament games are played within the friendly confines of Shaw Field.
“I didn’t feel our front four played particularly well when we played them out there. I just felt, they’re a good team; we needed to be really on to break them down, and I don’t think we were, and I think a lot of it had to do with, it’s a brand new turf field, it’s super soft, super spongy, pellets everywhere,” Nolan said. “Every time you kicked the ball, pellets would pop up, which is not conducive to good, technically, fast-played soccer. So I think it will help us a lot on the grass.”
Both teams are likely in the NCAA tournament already, but a win guarantees an automatic bid and prevents any last minute anxiety from watching the selection show. More importantly, a win in this match against another top-25 team will likely guarantee at least one home game in the tournament. After the Hoyas rode home games all the way to the College Cup last year, the importance of this marquee matchup cannot be emphasized enough.
“It’s going to be a very good game between two very good teams, and probably, certainly the two best teams in the conference, and maybe the most evenly matched Big East final for a long time,” Nolan said.