Sustained Success for Hoyas on the Field and on the Court

Sustained Success for Hoyas on the Field and on the Court

By:
04/03/2019

Though the athletic brand of Georgetown University has been primarily tied to the men’s basketball team, the past decade has highlighted the excellence of many of the other squads on the Hilltop. The following article chronicles six of the school’s most prominent programs since 2009.

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Men’s Soccer

By Tyler Pearre

The Georgetown men’s soccer team has recently enjoyed the most successful ten-year run in its history. The Hoyas staked their claim as one of the nation’s elite programs in 2012 when they were the Big East Blue Division Champions and Big East Tournament runners-up. Georgetown would post a final record of 19-4-3, finishing the season as runners-up in the NCAA Tournament. That trip to the title game catalyzed a run of several dominant seasons.

Despite making the NCAA Tournament in each of the next two seasons, the Hoyas were unable to lift the Big East Tournament trophy. That changed in 2015 when the team embarked on a record-shattering campaign. The Hoyas won all nine of their Big East regular season games before securing their first-ever Big East Tournament championship, defeating Creighton in double overtime at Shaw Field. In addition to capturing the elusive Big East crown, the 2015 squad also played 18 consecutive games without defeat, including 14 consecutive wins and a six-game run without conceding a goal—both program bests. Following the season, six players joined the Major League Soccer (MLS) ranks. Brandon Allen (COL ’15), the program’s all-time leading goalscorer, signed a homegrown contract with the New York Red Bulls, as did Alex Muyl, who scored the winning goal in the Big East Championship game. All four starting defenders found new homes in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, highlighting the quality of Georgetown’s program.

Following a down 2016 season in which the team won just six of its 17 games, the Blue & Gray returned to form in 2017. Anchored by goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, who won the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup as a member of the United States national team, the Hoyas secured a 14-4-2 record and a second Big East Tournament championship. Though a devastating own goal against Southern Methodist sunk the Hoyas in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, they responded by winning their third Big East Tournament in four years during the 2018 season. Again, the NCAA Tournament posed problems, as the Hoyas were upset at home by Michigan State in the Sweet 16. Still, three players who earned 2018 United States Soccer Coaches All-East Region honors will return to the squad in 2019 as the Hoyas look to continue their good form.

 

Track & Field

By Will Shanahan

The last decade has been a largely successful one for the track and field program, as the men’s indoor and outdoor teams have won 21 and 27 individual Big East titles, respectively. The women’s team has been similarly strong, with indoor taking 24 titles and outdoor capturing 23, while also earning the only team Big East championship of the decade with an indoor trophy in 2012. The men’s team has broken 14 school records in this period, while the women’s team has smashed 30.

An integral part of that 2012 team was Emily Infeld (MSB ’12), who secured Georgetown’s only individual national championship of the last ten years when she took the 3,000-meter gold at the 2012 Indoor National Championships. Infeld is also one of two former Hoyas to have represented the United States in the Olympics in the past decade, along with hurdler-turned-bobsledder Chris Kinney (COL ’11). The Hoyas’ other national championship came in 2016, when the women’s indoor distance medley team, made up of Andrea Keklak (COL ’15), Heather Martin (NHS ’16), Emma Keenan (COL ’17), and Katrina Coogan (NHS ’16), finished first.

The strides the program has taken under the watchful eye of director Julie Culley, now in her third season at the helm, have been impressive. The men’s indoor team came up just short of a Big East team crown while posting its best NCAA finish of the period in 2017, tying for 16th. Following the season, the track and cross country teams combined to rank No. 6 in the final USTFCCCA Men’s Program of the Year Standings. The women’s team also posted its finest national showing of the decade under Culley, placing ninth in the NCAA Championships in 2016. Culley has overseen the development of 44 All-Americans during her tenure.

In 2018-19, the indoor campaign finished well with graduate student Joe White (COL ’18) placing sixth nationally in the 800-meter run, while the men’s distance medley team of junior Jack Salisbury, sophomore Lawrence Leake, sophomore Ruach Padhal, and senior Nick Wareham placed third. The outdoor teams will look to build on that momentum, as the season has just begun.

 

Women’s Soccer

By Jorge DeNeve

The Hoyas boasted a U-20 World Cup gold medalist in midfielder Ingrid Wells (COL ’11) at the turn of the decade, although they only made the NCAA Tournament once before 2009. Wells won Big East Rookie of the Year in 2007 and became the first Hoya, male or female, to tally 100 points in their collegiate career. In 2010, Wells led the team alongside Head Coach Dave Nolan to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Although Georgetown missed the tournament in 2011, Wells’ final season on the Hilltop, the team has made it back every year since. In 2012, midfielder Daphne Corboz (COL ’15) set the single-season goal scoring record en route to a Hermann Trophy semifinalist nomination. In 2013, defender Emily Menges also earned a semifinalist selection, and Corboz was again nominated as a semifinalist in 2014. In 2016, goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman (MSB ’19) transferred in from UCLA, and she would finish her three years at Georgetown with a record 47 shutouts (and the top three single-season shutout marks). With midfielder Rachel Corboz (COL ’18), Daphne’s sister, starring in Georgetown’s attack, the 2016 squad amassed a then-record 20 wins, won the Hoyas’ first Big East Tournament title, and earned a trip to the College Cup, where their season ended in the national semifinals against USC.

In 2017, the team won its first ever outright Big East regular season title and repeated as tournament champions but did not make it as far into the postseason as the previous year. Georgetown once again rewrote the record books in 2018, with forward Caitlin Farrell equalling the single-season goals record while the team one-upped the 2016 squad with 21 wins. The Hoyas were inches away from going undefeated in the conference and completed a Big East Tournament three-peat to earn the program’s first ever NCAA 1-seed and a second trip to the College Cup in three years. Despite a heartbreaking finish in the semifinals against UNC, Schechtman was a Hermann Trophy semifinalist, while Farrell was the first finalist in program history, joining men’s soccer’s Brandon Allen as the only Hoyas to receive the accolade. Nolan and his staff earned the Coaching Staff of the Year award for the second time in three seasons. With a strong squad returning for 2019, the Hoyas look for more silverware to cement their status among women’s soccer’s elite.

 

Women’s Basketball

By Aaron Wolf

Over Terry Williams-Flournoy’s first five years as head coach of Georgetown’s women’s basketball squad, the Hoyas were mired in mediocrity, finishing with just two winning records and one postseason appearance between 2005 and 2009. That changed dramatically with guard Sugar Rodgers’ (COL ’13) arrival in 2009. As a freshman, Rodgers powered Georgetown to the NCAA Tournament, with a record of 26-7, and into the national rankings for the first time in 15 years. Rodgers achieved Big East First Team honors in each of her four seasons and ultimately finished as Georgetown’s all-time leader in scoring (men or women), steals, and 3-pointers when she was drafted to the WNBA.

Before Rodgers’ final season, Williams-Flournoy accepted a head coaching position at Auburn and former assistant Keith Brown took the helm. The Hoyas struggled with the coaching change, and despite Rodgers’ scoring average of 22.9 points, they finished with a record of 15-16. Just before the 2013- 14 campaign, Brown resigned following accusations of verbal abuse toward his players. Jim Lewis took over as interim head coach, and the Hoyas labored through an 11-21 season. For the 2014-15 campaign, the administration hired another former assistant in Natasha Adair. Her first season finished with just four wins, but Dorothy Adomako (COL ’19) was a bright spot, and she was named Big East Freshman of the Year in 2015. The next season, Dionna White joined the program and made an immediate impact as a unanimous Big East All-Freshman selection, while the Hoyas finished with a winning record and postseason appearance for the first time since the Williams-Flournoy era. In 2017, the Hoyas made a repeat appearance in the WNIT but were disappointed with a first-round loss to Fordham.

To make matters worse, Adair departed for a head coaching role at Delaware, and Adomako was forced to miss her entire senior season with an injury. New Head Coach James Howard avoided disaster in his first season at the helm, finishing with a 16-16 record and WNIT appearance in 2018. White was named to her first All-Big East First Team, and then-senior forward Cynthia Petke came on strong in her final year in the Hilltop, averaging a double-double. In Howard’s second year, the Hoyas improved, finishing with a regular season record of 19-15. They were knocked out of the Big East Tournament by a nationally ranked Marquette squad, but reached the Elite Eight of the WNIT for the first time since 2009. In the opening round, White passed 2,000 career points, just the second Hoya to reach the mark after Rodgers. Next season, Howard will have to manage the departures of White, Adomako, and graduate student guard Mikayla Venson. It will be up to young players like freshman guard Nikola Kovacikova to maintain the Hoyas’ winning culture going forward.

 

Football

By Christina Smith

In the past decade, Georgetown football has grown under the leadership of Kevin Kelly (2009-2013) and Rob Sgarlata (2014-present). While the Hoyas have suffered nine losing seasons within that decade, they have also demonstrated growth and improvement on both sides of the ball. In nine of the past 10 seasons, the defense kept opponent scoring in the low to mid 20s. After a drop to 9.6 points per game during the 2009 season, the team doubled its scoring in the 2010 season. The offense has maintained a steady average of around 20 points per game since. Kelly even led the team to a winning season in 2011, when the Hoyas ended with a record of 8-3 and a 4-2 record within the Patriot League, good enough to tie for second with Holy Cross.

During Kelly’s term as head coach, Sgarlata served as defensive coordinator. When Kelly resigned in 2014, Sgarlata transitioned into his new role as head coach. During his first two seasons in the position, the team finished in the middle of the Patriot League. The team struggled during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, falling to the lower ranks of the conference, but Georgetown finished 2018 in respectable fashion, tying with Holy Cross for second in the conference with a 5-6 record. Much of their current success can be attributed to the team’s defense, which ranked first in the conference for 2018 in sacks and interceptions. Through smart recruitment and a continued focus on maintaining positive morale, the team can use the 2018 season as a strong platform as they look forward to 2019.

 

Men’s Basketball

By Nathan Chen

A decade ago, the Hoyas, led by sophomore center Greg Monroe and junior guard Austin Freeman (COL ’11), bounced back from a difficult 2008-09 and secured a 3-seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Despite being upset by 14-seed Ohio, Georgetown remained nationally relevant for the next three years, and the addition of forward Otto Porter Jr. propelled the Hoyas to especially strong showings in 2012 and 2013. Unfortunately, Georgetown couldn’t capitalize in the tournament, losing to 11-seed North Carolina State in 2012 and dropping a heartbreaker to 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast in 2013. After losing Porter and small forward Hollis Thompson, the Hoyas entered a period of decline, making only one tournament appearance over the next four years. 2015-16 and 2016-17 were particularly nightmarish seasons, as the Hoyas finished with losing records, and head coach John Thompson III was fired.

Georgetown turned to Patrick Ewing (COL ’85) to restore the program’s glory. Ewing, who guided the Hoyas to their only NCAA title in 1984 as a student-athlete, promised to bring a faster style of play more suited to the NBA, a welcome departure from the methodical Princeton offense that Thompson employed. After a difficult first season at the helm, Ewing’s second season yielded much more promise. In the 2018-19 season, Georgetown amassed a 19-14 record, adapting to Ewing’s preferred style of play and scoring signature victories over No. 17 Villanova and No. 16 Marquette. The team boasted three selections to the Big East All-Freshman Team: guards Mac McClung and James Akinjo, and forward Josh LeBlanc. For the first time since 1988, three freshmen teammates were named to the Big East All-Freshman Team. Under senior center Jessie Govan’s leadership, the Hoyas secured a postseason appearance for the first time in four years, making the NIT. The future is bright for the Hoyas, especially with McClung, Akinjo, and LeBlanc leading the way.

This article was published as part of the Voice‘s special 50th anniversary edition. 

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