On a wet Thursday evening in Pennsylvania, the No. 11 Georgetown Hoyas women’s soccer team (8-2-1, 2-0-0 Big East) shutout the Villanova Wildcats (5-4-2, 1-1-0 Big East), winning 2-0. This was the Hoyas’ sixth straight win and fourth straight shutout. The Hoyas’ goals were scored by junior midfielder Jenna Menta and senior forward Paula Germino-Watnick.
Georgetown started in their traditional 3-5-2 formation, but with sophomore defender Charlie Kern unavailable for the game, head coach Dave Nolan was forced to play a few players out of their typical positions. Freshman midfielder Julia Leas has played each game as the number ten, but today filled Kern’s role as the right center back. Germino-Watnick played the number ten, and Menta got her first start of the season, playing striker alongside graduate forward Amanda Carolan. The switches were evidently successful as both Menta and Germino-Watnick got on the scoresheet, and Leas helped shutout a feisty Villanova side.
The first half was pretty quiet, as both sides adjusted to the slippery artificial turf surface. The Hoyas had eight shots, but only put one on target. On the other side of the ball, freshman goalkeeper Anna Leat didn’t see much action, only having to make one save.
The rain subsided during the break, and just 43 seconds into the second half, the Hoyas were on the board. Sophomore midfielder Jenna Royson took a heavy touch past the defender, somehow reached it before it crossed the end line, and served it near-post where Carolan was waiting. Carolan’s near-post run had drawn out both Wildcat center backs and the goalkeeper, and when Royson’s cross reached her, she superbly flicked the ball back to a wide-open Menta who calmly slotted it into the net.
Nolan spoke highly of Royson’s play in a postgame interview with Big East broadcaster Nick Mantegna: “That’s what Jenna does. And the funny thing is, she’s not at 100%. We were trying to get her to pick her moments, when to go, and when to try to make something happen. And that was one opportunity where straight in the second half, she took a chance to go and she made a great ball across.”
In the 64th minute, Menta almost had a second. Sophomore midfielder Boo Jackson chipped it over a Wildcat midfielder to Germino-Watnick, who played it over the backline for Menta to run down. Menta tried to chip the keeper but the shot soared over the crossbar.
Menta continued to be the crux of the Georgetown attack. In the 68th minute, Carolan played the ball to Menta, and Menta attempted to skip it on for Germino-Watnick who would have been one-on-one with the keeper, if not for a Villanova defender who blocked the pass.
With 10 minutes left to play, Leas forced her way past one Wildcat defender and was brought down in the box by another, earning a penalty. On the resulting penalty, Germino-Watnick sent the keeper the wrong way, placing it in the bottom left corner. The game finished 2-0 Hoyas.
Nolan reflected on a solid effort postgame: “We probably could have had maybe one more, but when it’s one nothing or two nothing, stuff can happen and I thought the [team] did a good job of seeing out the game. We defended it pretty well, we didn’t give them too many looks.”
The Hoyas continue Big East play on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in Providence, RI. Providence got the better of Georgetown in 2017, and last season, Georgetown scraped away with a 1-0 victory after Caitlin Farrell notched an 83rd-minute winner. Providence (7-3-1, 2-0-0 Big East) has won its last four games, including three overtime victories.
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.