The No. 4 Georgetown women’s soccer team (15-0-3, 8-0-1 Big East) hosts Xavier (10-7-3, 4-3-2 Big East) in the Big East semifinals Thursday on Shaw Field at 1:30 p.m. ET. The two teams met on the final day of the Big East regular season in Cincinnati, with the result a scoreless draw. Xavier advanced past DePaul (8-6-5, 4-3-2 Big East) on penalties this Sunday, while the Hoyas earned a first round bye as the Big East’s top seed.
The Hoyas will also be back for revenge as Xavier played spoiler to a perfect Big East season.
“They were disappointed because they wanted to go 9-0; they wanted to run the gauntlet,” Nolan said. “But as I told them after the game, maybe it’s a good thing for us because maybe we’ve seen if we’re not at our best we could lose a game.”
Neither team created much in their previous meeting, though each struck the crossbar and the Hoyas had a goalbound shot cleared off the line. Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan, while acknowledging that his team played below its high standard, felt that the Musketeers gained more of an advantage with the match being played in Cincinnati, and not just because of the extra boost from the pro-Xavier crowd.
“The field didn’t suit us. It’s a tight field, maybe about 68 yards wide; it’s a slow turf field,” Nolan said. “I think playing on the grass will suit us; playing on a bigger field will suit us.”
In addition, Xavier managed to turn the previous meeting into a scrap with a lot of physical play in the midfield breaking up the Hoyas rhythm and forcing the Georgetown team to set deeper than it normally does.
“We were more worried with their long ball going over the top than trying to deny them the serve to kick it over the top,” Nolan said. “We could’ve gotten more pressure, which would eliminate the long ball over the top which meant then we didn’t have to be so deep, we could step a little bit higher.”
The match features the four positional Big East award winners, with Xavier redshirt junior midfielder Samantha Dewey taking home Midfielder of the Year, while Georgetown’s trio of senior forward Caitlin Farrell, junior defender Meaghan Nally, and senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman earning Offensive, Defensive, and Goalkeeper of the Year, respectively. The three award winners are joined on the All-Big East First team by junior forward/midfielder Paula-Germino Watnick, while graduate student forward Kyra Carusa and sophomore midfielder Grace Nguyen made the second team.
The star-studded Hoyas have a bigger task on their hands, however, looking to become the first Big East team to three-peat as conference champions since Notre Dame won seven in a row from 1995-2001, and the first since the new Big East formed in 2013. For updates on whether they succeed, as well as the rest of their season and other sports at Georgetown, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.