On a sunny Sunday afternoon at Shaw Field, the Georgetown Hoyas (3-2-1, Big East) handily disposed of the Lafayette Leopards (2-3-1, Patriot League) four goals to one. The Hoyas’ goals came from all over the pitch. Senior defender Kelly Ann Livingstone opened up the scoring in the first half, followed by a trio of goals in the second half from senior defender Meaghan Nally, senior forward Paula Germino-Watnick and sophomore midfielder Boo Jackson. Sophomore midfielder Riley Dowd scored a consolation goal for Lafayette in the 88th minute, but it was too little, too late.
Georgetown started off the game strong, as they have so far in 2019. The first 15 minutes saw the Hoyas building up their attacks well and creating numerous chances. Lafayette, on the other hand, mainly looked to counterattack and play the ball over the top.
The Blue and Gray looked especially dangerous on their corners. They run an assortment of plays off corners, and today they were rewarded three times from set-pieces straight out of the practice pitch. The first of which came in the 18th minute from a 1-2 corner between Germino-Watnick and freshman midfielder Julia Leas. After initially playing the corner to Leas, Germino-Watnick received the ball back, dribbled towards the edge of the box, and performed a fake shot to throw off her defender. She then fired a wicked shot at the bottom corner that hit the post and landed delicately on the goal line, which Livingstone tapped in for her first goal of the season.
Livingstone wasn’t the only center back to score her first goal of the season. In the first five minutes of the second half, a perfectly placed corner from Germino-Watnick to the near post found a soaring Nally who powerfully headed the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Less than 10 minutes later, some exquisite play between Livingstone and senior forward Casey Richards on the left enabled Richards to get behind the defense and lay the ball on a tee for Germino-Watnick, who smashed it first time into the net.
“The hardest thing to do is to score goals. So the second hardest thing to do is to create chances. . . When she is in the right frame of mind, and when she is making smart decisions she can do both,” said Georgetown’s head coach Dave Nolan. “I am happy she scored a goal and I am happy she had a good performance, so hopefully, she can take this into the rest of the season.”
After Germino-Watnick’s goal and a few Georgetown substitutions, the game slowed down a bit. Lafayette capitalized with less than three minutes left in regulation when Dowd ripped a 25-yard shot past junior goalkeeper Alyssa Navarrete, who was caught off guard. Although the goal wouldn’t mean much in the end, coach Nolan was frustrated by his team’s mentality.
“With three minutes to go we shouldn’t be giving up a goal, we should be able to see out the game. Last year, this team took great pride in shutouts,” Nolan said. “This year, I don’t know, we’re still trying to wait for the personality of this team to emerge and it seems like we’re not there yet.”
Even so, the Hoyas responded with a goal of their own just a minute later. And you guessed it, the goal came off a corner. Boo Jackson scored what is called an Olímpico, when she whipped in an inswinging corner towards the near post that curved into the back of the next without anyone touching it.
The Blue and Gray’s corners created problems for the Jaguars all game. In fact, they had 17 in total, most of which were inswinging crosses to the near post or quick 1-2 passes that would end in a cross or shot from the corner of the box. Statistically, inswinging corners to the near post are the most effective because the keeper can’t reach it and it often is flicked on for another player to reach, and the Hoyas took advantage, scoring three goals off of such corners.
With a goal and two assists on the day, Germino-Watnick will go into this week’s game against Princeton brimming with confidence. The Hoyas will need Germino-Watnick to have another strong performance against a tough Princeton side.
“Princeton’s a very good team. We had a real battle with them last year up at their place. We won in overtime on a penalty kick. They’re athletic, very well-coached,” Nolan said. “It’s going to be a battle but these next two games in many ways are going to define our season, in West Virginia and in Princeton.”
As Coach Nolan alluded to, Georgetown’s games against Princeton on Thursday night and No. 22 West Virginia on Sunday are probably their most difficult and most important matchups for the remainder of the regular season. Strong performances against these two opponents can help the Hoyas build momentum, establish this season’s identity and ultimately earn them a higher seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Hoyas continue their season on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. ET on Shaw Field against Princeton (2-1-1, Ivy League). Princeton is coming off an overtime draw with No. 21 Rutgers. Live stats and a stream are available at guhoyas.com. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for updates and game recaps throughout the women’s soccer season, as well as coverage of the rest of the school sports throughout the year.