The No. 4 Georgetown women’s soccer team (13-0-2, 6-0 Big East) beat Providence (8-5-2, 2-3-1 Big East) 1-0 on Sunday afternoon. Senior forward Caitlin Farrell scored for the ninth straight match, and her 83rd minute winner extended the Hoyas’ win streak to 12 games. With nine points possible, the Hoyas remain five points clear at the top of the Big East standings.
Sophomore forward/midfielder Paula Germino-Watnick drove a shot wide of the near post, signalling the Hoyas’ attacking intent in the eighth minute. Providence’s redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Shelby Hogan was called into action a minute later, saving a low shot to her left. From there, the Friars pressed high, forcing mistakes from the Hoyas playing out of the back. The pressure nearly told in the 13th minute, when sophomore midfielder/forward Amber Birchwell took a shot from distance that Georgetown senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman managed to turn onto the crossbar with her fingertips. The ball fell to to the Friars’ leading scorer, sophomore forward Hannah McNulty, but Schechtman managed to smother the loose ball before McNulty could have a strike. It would be her best chance of the contest.
“We did a good job on [McNulty]. I thought [senior defender] Jenna Staudt in particular did a good job on her,” head coach Dave Nolan said. “We always made a conscious effort to make sure we had help in case she looked like something could happen.”
Hogan was kept busy, palming away a cross from Germino-Watnick in the 20th minute, tipping a shot from Farrell over the bar in the 29th, and made another diving save to her left from sophomore midfielder Grace Nguyen’s shot in the 36th. The Hoyas best chance of the half came in the 39th minute as Hogan couldn’t get a cross away from the danger area, but freshman forward Boo Jackson couldn’t direct her shot on target from close range. Despite the feeling of an even half, the Hoyas went into the break with a 10-5 shot advantage once they settled from the frantic pace of the opening 20 minutes.
“In the first half they posed us some trouble,” Nolan said. “I felt we did a good job of never losing our discipline, and always being organized, and making sure that we were in a situation that we could deal with anything that came our way, and we did.”
The Hoyas flew out of the gates in the second half when Farrell forced a save from Hogan in the 47th. Georgetown continued to sustain pressure in the Providence third, but the closest they came was Farrell hitting the side netting with a cross. Senior defender Jenna Staudt made a vital sliding challenge in the box to deny McNulty a shooting chance in the 63rd, who was increasingly isolated as the Friars tired. Graduate student forward Kyra Carusa fired just wide of the far post in the 74th minute on the half turn, but the play exemplified her contributions to the game.
“People don’t understand how difficult that is and what bravery that requires because you’re always showing for the ball, and you always know you’re going to get it in the back. You always know you’re going to have people come through, and you’re going to have to deal with some physical pressure,” Nolan said of the hold up play from Carusa and senior forward Amanda Carolan. “I thought the bravery of Kyra and Amanda to always want the ball was key because it helped us play out through their pressure.”
It seemed that Providence would frustrate Georgetown for the third year in a row, but in the 83rd minute, a poor clearance from a cross fell to Germino-Watnick at the top of the box. Her shot was blocked off the line but fell to Farrell, who finished with aplomb from six yards out.
“We’ve got too many good attacking players that we won’t score a goal, and today, as it has for most of the season, the ball just drops to Caitlin’s foot, out of all the people in the box it drops to her foot, and she buried it.” Nolan said.
“So much of it is my teammates setting me up and giving me those assists and putting the ball in the right place, and I just have to finish it,” Farrell said.
The Hoyas saw out the last seven minutes to win their 12th straight and could clinch the regular season Big East title next Sunday against Butler (10-4-1, 4-1-1 Big East) after a matchup with perennial Big East powerhouse Marquette on Thursday (3-10-2, 1-4-1).
“Last year our game against Butler, we tied them up there, and then Marquette is another team that we’ve played a lot and it’s always been a battle,” Farrell said. “We’re excited; we’re ready for it; we’re ready to go.”
Kickoff on Thursday is at 7 p.m. ET in Milwaukee, and the game will be streamed on the Big East Digital Network. For more updates and breaking news on the fall sports at Georgetown, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.