The No. 2 Georgetown women’s soccer team (21-0-3, 8-0-1 Big East) is College Cup bound for the second time in three years after a rainy, 3-0 win over No. 11 Baylor (20-6, 8-1 Big 12) on Shaw Field. The Hoyas join No. 1 Stanford (21-0-2, 10-0-1 Pac-12) and No. 5 Florida State (18-4-3, 5-4-1 ACC) in punching their ticket to Cary, North Carolina. The final team in the semifinals will be determined when No. 3 North Carolina (20-3-1, 10-0 ACC) hosts No. 4 UCLA (17-3-1, 9-2 Pac-12) Saturday evening. Sophomore defender Kelly Ann Livingstone, graduate student forward Kyra Carusa, and junior forward/midfielder Paula Germino-Watnick scored the goals for Georgetown, while senior goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman recorded her 15th shutout of the year, the third straight season she has done so.
The Hoyas carved out a chance in the opening minute, with senior forward Caitlin Farrell getting in behind and playing in a low cross for Carusa. The graduate student, however, was stonewalled by the leg of Baylor’s sophomore goalkeeper Jennifer Wandt. Farrell had a chance of her own in the third minute, but Wandt again came up big for the Bears, denying Farrell a chance to break Georgetown’s single-season goal scoring record. Germino-Watnick won a corner in the seventh minute for Georgetown, and Wandt made the save from Livingstone’s header. Georgetown wouldn’t miss from the resulting corner.
Sophomore midfielder Grace Nguyen looped a corner into the box in the eighth minute, and after the Hoyas won the challenge for the first header, Carusa won the second ball and nodded it into the path of Livingstone. The defender didn’t think twice, thumping a volley off the underside of the bar and in.
The first half would remain all Hoyas, with Carusa coming close from a header and junior midfielder Sarah Trissel hitting the post, still within the opening 15 minutes. Despite difficult field conditions, Georgetown continued to press the issue and nearly doubled its lead at the 30 minute mark. Farrell spun past her defender on the right flank before playing another dangerous cross into the box for Germino-Watnick. Germino-Watnick took the shot first time, but Wandt somehow got her trailing foot to the ball and poked it wide of the goal. Carusa got in behind in the 37th minute, outmuscling her defender, but instead of shooting she looked to square the ball for senior forward Amanda Carolan, letting Baylor off the hook, and the Hoyas only went into the break with a one-goal advantage.
Georgetown ran riot all over Shaw, recording 15 shots while not allowing Baylor any in the first half. Wandt kept the game close, recording five saves in the first period, while the Bears struggled to get their leading scorers, junior forward Camryn Wendlandt and senior midfielder Julie James, involved.
“We set a tone early between Paula and Kyra and Caitlin, just every time we got it we had them on their back heels, and I think you could see as the game went on, they were getting tired because they were constantly having to chase and constantly having to work hard to stay with us, and then the goals came as a result,” head coach Dave Nolan said. “I don’t think anyone that was here today would be shocked if we had scored six. I thought we played really well.”
The Bears began the second half with more attacking intent, forcing Schechtman to command her box, but Georgetown pushed hard on the counter, leading to an early shot for senior midfielder Meghan Shaver in the 47th minute. It wouldn’t take much longer for Georgetown to add a second.
Nguyen stood over a corner in the 51st minute, and just like against Washington State (13-6-1, 5-5-1 Pac-12) in the second round, junior defender Meaghan Nally made a darting run to the front post. Wandt came for the cross, but Nally got there first for the flick, and Carusa had the easiest job in the world to nod the ball into the empty net for her 10th goal on the season. Baylor tried to respond in the next minute, but Schechtman came off her line and took the ball off of a Baylor attacker with her legs before the rest of the defense cleared their lines, preserving the 2-0 advantage.
The game only got scrappier as the field got wetter and the ball held up on the grass, but Baylor still struggled to find a foothold. Schechtman was alert to a Baylor cross and came out early to dive at the feet of the attacker, and it would again be the Hoyas with a chance to score. Wandt denied Nally after a scramble from yet another Georgetown corner in the 62nd minute. Baylor’s frustration began to show two minutes later, as James slid through Germino-Watnick from behind for a yellow card.
Schechtman went down in the 71st minute after a hard collision with Wendlandt from a cross, and her whole team went to make sure she was okay as she held her head. Schechtman would stay in the game, much to the relief of the crowd at Shaw Field.
“She’s just a presence back there,” Nolan said of Schechtman. “The kids love her, they gravitate towards her, and she puts her body on the line every day for these guys because she so loves this team.”
The Hoyas put the game to bed five minutes later when Germino-Watnick picked the ball up in the middle and slipped Carusa in behind the Baylor defense on the left side of the goal. Carusa’s left-footed effort was parried away by Wandt, but Germino-Watnick followed up the rebound and made the score 3-0. A muddied Germino-Watnick was substituted a minute later to the applause of a home crowd that could feel another College Cup looming. The Bears tried everything to get a goal back, but Schechtman remained alert, making four saves in the final 10 minutes to keep the clean sheet.
Unlike two years ago, when Santa Clara had a chance to equalize late in the match, the Hoyas cruised into the Final Four, outshooting Baylor 24-6, with most of the Bears’ shots coming in desperation time near the end of the match. Georgetown will look to keep its undefeated season alive against either the Tar Heels or Bruins, but the Hoyas have already made a statement this season.
“The two teams who qualified yesterday, Stanford and Florida State, are both what you would consider soccer royalty, and the game later on today it’s UCLA and UNC, more soccer royalty, and I said, ‘You know what? Let’s go. Let’s go as well, for a second time in three years because it would mean that we’re something special too,’” Nolan said.
Georgetown will play on Friday at the WakeMed Soccer Park, looking to continue its run to win the first National Championship in program history. For live coverage of the semifinal match, as well as coverage of the rest of Georgetown’s athletic programs, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.