The No. 2 Georgetown women’s soccer team (20-0-3, 8-0-1 Big East) hosts No. 11 Baylor (20-5, 8-1 Big 12) on Saturday at Shaw Field in the NCAA Tournament Elite 8. The one-seeded Hoyas will be looking to punch their second ticket to the College Cup in three years, whereas the two-seeded Bears will be looking to avenge their Elite 8 loss to Duke last year.
The Hoyas enter the match unbeaten on the season and are coming off of a 4-1 win over No. 9 Duke (16-4-2, 8-1-1 ACC), who was granted a four seed in the tournament. Georgetown struck early in the game when junior forward/midfielder Paula Germino-Watnick made a run down the wing before crossing the ball into senior forward Caitlin Farrell, who chipped the ball into the net for her 18th goal of the season, tying the program record for goals in a season.
Duke would tie the game in the 55th minute, but graduate student forward Kyra Carusa responded with a rocket from just outside the box five minutes later to put the Hoyas up 2-1. Germino-Watnick then scored on a screamer from the top of the box, and a rebound off a Carusa shot to add two more goals to the Hoyas’ total. Farrell, Carusa, and Germino-Watnick have been the offensive stars thus far for the Hoyas, scoring a combined 34 of the team’s 50 goals.
The defense has also been stellar, only allowing nine goals over the 23 game season. Senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman has recorded a .913 save percentage, while junior defender Meaghan Nally was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and sophomore defender Kelly Ann Livingstone was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Big East Tournament.
The defense will have its hands full against the Bears, who have scored 19 goals on the season. Baylor is led offensively by 6-foot junior forward Camryn Wendlandt and 5-foot-10 senior midfielder Julie James, who each have ten goals on the season. The Bears have thus far used their height to play physical long ball en route to wins.
“Baylor’s an interesting team. They’re not everybody’s cup of tea in how they approach the game,” head coach Dave Nolan said. “They’re a very physical team, they push the boundaries… It’s effective. It gets them a certain level of success.”
The Bears most recently beat No. 12 Virginia (16-5-1, 7-3 ACC) 2-1 in the Sweet 16. The teams were tied 1-1, but Baylor senior forward/midfielder Kennedy Brown scored her second goal of the year in the 56th minute to seal the victory. The Cavaliers largely outplayed the Bears, outshooting them 8-2 in the second half and dominating possession, but were unable to find a second goal. Both of Baylor’s goals came on set pieces, the first on a corner kick and the second on a free kick.
“They’re very dangerous on set pieces: corner kicks and throw ins and free kicks,” Nolan said. “We’re going to have our hands full with that.”
The game will be the last the Hoyas play on Shaw Field this season, as the winner of the match will travel to Cary, North Carolina for the College Cup next weekend. The Elite 8 matchup is set for 12:00 p.m. ET, however a chance of rain for Saturday could move the game to a turf field, or a later time. For live updates of the match, as well as coverage of Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.