No. 2 Women’s Soccer Beats Duke to Advance to Elite 8

November 18, 2018

The No. 2 Georgetown women’s soccer team (20-0-3, 8-0-1 Big East) advanced emphatically past No. 9 Duke (16-4-2, 8-1-1 ACC) 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at Shaw Field. A brace from junior forward/midfielder Paula Germino-Watnick and goals from graduate student forward Kyra Carusa and senior forward Caitlin Farrell carried the Hoyas to their second Elite 8 berth in three years.

The Hoyas began with the same lineup that beat Washington State (13-6-1, 5-5-1 Pac-12) 1-0, and it immediately paid dividends as the Hoyas had three shots in the first 14 minutes.

Then in the 15th minute sophomore defender Kelly Ann Livingstone won the ball in front of the Duke forward and played it down the line for Germino-Watnick to chase. The junior beat her defender and cut the ball back for Farrell, who unleashed a first time strike with her left foot into the top corner. Farrell’s goal was her 18th of the season, tying Daphne Corboz, who had 18 in 2012, for the Georgetown single-season goals record.

“I took a touch towards the sideline, and I knew it was slippery…, so I decided I’d cut it back and hope the defender kept going, and she did,” Germino-Watnick said of the goal. “I saw Caitlin at the top of the box and I passed it to her, and she buried it.”

Blue Devils senior midfielder Taylor Racioppi got behind the defense in the 22nd minute for a one-on-one with senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman, but the linesman’s flag went up to the frustration of Duke’s bench. Carusa had an opening a minute later, but her touch was too loose, allowing the Blue Devils get the block in. Unfortunately for Duke, that play would end the day of senior defender Chelsea Burns, who landed awkwardly after making the block and was led into the locker room.

“They had an opportunity where the ref called them back from offside, which I think we probably got a break on,” head coach Dave Nolan said of Racioppi’s break. “It could have been 1-1 and then a different game.”

The game’s pace slowed, and Duke would have the next big chance on the counter. Senior forward Kayla McCoy got in behind in the 32nd minute, but Schechtman came out of her box with conviction and got her knee to the ball to prevent McCoy from scoring. The Hoyas were still the dominant team in the half, finishing with nine shots to Duke’s one. Heinsohn made three saves to keep the Blue Devils close, but Nolan feels the scoreline was a fair one.

“There were some dangerous moments. They’re a very good team,” he said of Duke. “They’re so subtle with what they do in the attacking end that we had to defend really well, and we had to dodge a couple of bullets, and we did.”

The Blue Devils equalized in the 55th minute, countering from a Georgetown free kick. McCoy won the initial header and got back on the ball, driving at the Hoyas’ defense for the first time in the game. She skipped past one challenge and played the ball wide for freshman defender Delaney Graham, who slotted the shot past Schechtman.

The game wouldn’t stay tied for long, as sophomore midfielder Grace Nguyen picked up the ball around midfield and drove at the retreating Duke back line. She found Carusa outside of the box in the 60th minute, who took her touch to the inside and curled a shot into the top corner that Heinsohn got a hand to but couldn’t save. From there, the Hoyas attacked at will.

“I think it helped that they were desperate for a goal,” Germino-Watnick said. “Since they were desperate for a goal, it was easy to catch them out of position, so I think we were able to exploit that well.”

Nguyen hit the post five minutes later, but then in the 72nd minute, Carusa laid the ball off for Germino-Watnick, who carried the ball to the edge of the box. She created space with a stepover, and drove a left-footed shot past Heinsohn to make the score 3-1. Schechtman made two saves  in the 74th minute and the 77th, before the Hoyas were in again in the 78th. Farrell found herself in acres of space down the right flank, and played a cross in for Carusa, who took a first time shot. Heinsohn made the save, but the rebound fell to Germino-Watnick, who slammed the ball home, making the score 4-1, where it would remain.

“Their number 2 got hurt, and that forced them to change to three at the back because they’re a little bit depleted with injuries,” Nolan said. “But I don’t think that should take from what we did. I thought our kids were really good today, and on the attacking side, we were always asking questions of their back four.”

The Hoyas will host the winner of No. 11 Baylor (19-5, 8-1 Big XII) and No. 12 Virginia (16-4-1, 7-3 ACC) for a chance to advance to Cary, North Carolina, though the team is staying razor-focused.

“One game at a time,” Nolan said when asked about the prospect of a national title.

Kickoff time is yet to be determined, but for live updates of that game, as well as coverage of the rest of Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.

Jorge DeNeve
Los Angeles native. Still wondering where the Galaxy went wrong and decided buying Jermaine Jones was a good idea.

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