It took a Halloween hat trick from senior forward Paula Germino-Watnick to lift the No. 19 Hoyas over the St. John’s Redstorm on Thursday afternoon. After a dramatic 90 minutes that ended knotted at two, a penalty kick in sudden death overtime made the difference.
Red Storm forward Zsani Kajan (5-12-1, 2-6-1 Big East) gave the Hoyas (12-3-3, 6-1-2 Big East) a scare when she scored in the first three minutes. A nicely weighted pass was dummied by a Red Storm player for the on running Kajan who took one touch and chipped it into the far side of the net. This was Kajan’s 11th goal on the season, and she is now tied for the second-most goals in the Big East.
Although there was still plenty of time left, the goal created a visible shift in the urgency of the Georgetown players. Within the next 15 minutes, the Hoyas sent a barrage of shots on net. Then, in the 17th minute, Germino-Watnick tricked her way into some space and hit an absolute stunner off the crossbar to equalize. Ten minutes later, graduate forward Amanda Carolan took the ball down the left flank and crossed it to Germino-Watnick, who finished it off to give Georgetown a one-goal lead. At 2-1, the Hoyas continued to push, putting 11 shots on target in the first half, while the Red Storm had only the one.
The second half was quieter. The Blue and Gray went on the attack for the majority of the half but didn’t create any clear-cut chances. In the 62nd minute, St. John’s caught Georgetown off guard for the second time of the game. Kajan played the ball through for junior forward Alex Madden and Madden finished clinically. After this second shock, Georgetown went back on the attack and continued to dominate, but again, failed to create anything substantial. St. John’s had just two shots the entire match, both of which resulted in goals.
Regulation ended in a 2-2 tie, which meant that for the fourth time in Georgetown’s last five games, the Hoyas would be playing in sudden death overtime. Just two minutes into overtime, sophomore wingback Jenna Royson shifted past her defender and was fouled in the box, earning a penalty. With the game and potential regular season trophy on the line, Germino-Watnick stepped up and coolly put away the penalty kick to get the hattrick and the victory.
“We asked for someone to step up and make an intelligent play because I felt we were getting a bit hopeful and frantic towards the end of regulation,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said in a postgame interview. “And Jenna [Royson] got on it, made a great move on the inside. The only option the kid had was to take her down. And then Paula had the calmness to put it away for a hattrick.”
Before the Hoyas can look toward the Big East tournament, all eyes will be on tonight’s matchup between Xavier and Butler, who are 1st and 3rd respectively in the Big East standings, and both have a chance to win the Big East depending on tonight’s result.
Xavier is in first place, so if they win, they are regular season champions and Georgetown will finish in second. If Butler wins, the Hoyas will be co-champions with Butler. And if the game ends in a draw, the Hoyas will be the lone regular season champions.
Another story going into the Big East tournament is its location. Georgetown has played host in each of the last three years. The first of which was due to the regular rotation, and the latter two were due to them being the top seed and thus having home-field advantage. This year, however, the Big East changed the format to where a preselected location will play host. Creighton will host this year’s tournament in Omaha, NE.
Not being able to play at home is a massive blow, considering Georgetown hasn’t lost to a Big East opponent at Shaw Field for three straight seasons. Furthermore, they will have to play on a turf surface and in unfavorable weather that drops to the low 30s next week.
“We’re excited we got this game under our belt,” Nolan said. “We’re excited we got the bye so we can rest up a little bit and catch our breath.”
The Hoyas will play in the Big East Tournament Semifinals on November 7 in Omaha, NE. 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.