Returning to the Hilltop after a four-game road trip, the Georgetown field hockey team (4-3, 1-0 Big East) opened Big East play against Villanova (3-2, 0-1 Big East) with a nail-biting 3-2 win Friday afternoon. Early goals in each half were vital for the Hoyas, as they set the pace for the rest of the game. GU’s offense was ready to play, with four different Hoyas contributing to the goals.
Friday’s game was dedicated to Sabrina Milone, a Trinity College student who tragically passed away this past June in a car crash. Sabrina was a friend and high school teammate of Hoyas senior midfielder Michaela Bruno and Nova’s junior forward Emily Clarke. Each player wore a purple ribbon in their hair during the match to pay tribute to and honor Sabrina.
“I told the team the other day, my mentality and purpose for this game was to enjoy what we do because you don’t get to do it forever” exclaimed Bruno. “We really wanted to come out together, play strong, and move the program forward.”
The Hoyas did just that, as they shocked the Wildcats with two quick goals. 50 seconds into the game, senior forward Lindsay Getz found the back of the cage with the game’s first shot. On GU’s next possession, Bruno dribbled in from the left, beating sophomore goalkeeper Jordan McGinley, giving Georgetown a two-goal lead in the first three minutes of the game. Junior forward Cami Osborne almost added to the Hoya lead when she hit the post with her shot off of a penalty corner. The quarter ended with junior midfielder Jax van der Veen receiving a green card. Five of GU’s six shots came in the first quarter.
Villanova seemed to find their feet in the second quarter, not allowing a single shot by Georgetown. Nova was the main attacking threat in the quarter, holding the ball in GU’s half, patiently passing the ball around, and waiting for a clear lane to open. In the 25th minute, the Wildcats cut the Hoya’s lead in half, as senior forward Abby Siana backed up against the Georgetown defense and scored with a turnaround shot. Shortly after, Nova intercepted a pass, forcing sophomore goalkeeper Ciara Weets to make a difficult foot save. The Wildcats took momentum into the half but still trailed, 2-1.
“We looked to regroup and reminded everyone that there were still thirty minutes to play and that they were definitely going to come out with intensity. They had a personal stake in this as well, it’s a conference game, and we needed to bring the same intensity as the first half”, said Bruno.
Georgetown came out firing once again to start the half, winning back-to-back penalty corners in the 31st minute. Osborne capitalized on the second penalty corner, played in by junior back Ali Cronin, scoring GU’s third goal of the game. Halfway through the quarter, Bruno received a yellow card, followed by a green card issued to Villanova sophomore midfielder Katie Capalbo, as the quarter came to a close. Nova had their lone attempt of the quarter saved by Weets with one second left on the clock.
It was all hands on deck for the Wildcats during the final quarter of regulation. Nova played with intensity, testing the Georgetown defense with each pass. In the 53rd minute, the Wildcats clawed their way back with a goal by Clarke. The last minutes of the game were tense, with GU’s defense holding on for dear life. With 20 seconds left to play, Osborne intercepted a Villanova pass and dribbled down the field as time expired.
“This is the first time we have beaten Villanova as a senior class,” said Bruno, adding onto the fact that the team came into this game looking to grow as a program.
The Hoyas have played the Wildcats 15 times, however, this was only GU’s second win all-time. Georgetown will be looking to use this result as a statement to the rest of their Big East opponents.
Before the Hoyas return to conference play, they will take on La Salle (3-3, Atlantic-10) on Sunday at noon. The Explorers are coming off a 3-1 loss to Towson (1-5, CAA) and are looking to return to Philadelphia with a win.
The last three weekends, Georgetown has won on Friday and lost their Sunday matchup. They are looking to win two games in one weekend for the first time this season.
“We know what changes we need to make during Saturday’s practice, especially getting the energy up during those practices, which have been lacking. We cannot let one win ride out the rest of the weekend, we need to go out and get two” exclaimed Bruno.
The game is set to begin at 12 p.m., ET on Sunday. Live stats and a stream are available on guhoyas.com. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for coverage and continuing coverage of fall sports at Georgetown.