The No. 25 Georgetown University women’s soccer team (13-4-3, 6-1-2 Big East) will start their 2019 NCAA Tournament journey against the West Virginia Mountaineers (10-7-2, 5-3-1 Big 12) on Saturday at Shaw Field. The Hoyas look to bounce back after a loss last Sunday to No. 24 Xavier (16-3-2, 7-0-2 Big East) in the Big East Tournament final, which ended the Hoyas’ streak of three consecutive Big East championships. On the other hand, WVU will try to recover from a loss against No. 11 Kansas (15-4-3, 4-2-3 Big 12) in the Big 12 Tournament quarter-finals.
Georgetown is coming off of a tough 2-0 loss in a hard-fought game against the Musketeers, who took advantage of their opportunities and locked down the Hoyas on defense to secure the Big East Tournament title. Both of Xavier’s goals came in the first half and were generated by senior midfielder Grace Bahr, who assisted sophomore forward Brooke Sroka for the go-ahead goal and junior midfielder Gabrielle Lopresti for the second. Xavier exerted their dominance for the first 20 minutes of the game, putting the Hoyas under pressure and creating various chances before the opening goal came. Bahr put a ball behind Georgetown’s defense for Sroka, who saw freshman goalkeeper Anna Leat off her line and volleyed it over her into the back of the net. After the goal, Xavier retreated and held a more defensive stand, giving the Hoyas possession of the ball. This helped Georgetown settle into the game, getting senior forward Paula Germino-Watnick more involved. Germino-Watnick was able to find junior forward Jenna Menta with space a couple of times, intimidating Xavier’s senior goalkeeper Toni Bizzarro. However, the Musketeers found a break through down the wing in the 35th minute, when Bahr found Lopresti in the box for her to double Xavier’s lead with ten minutes until halftime. Georgetown’s head coach David Nolan changed the formation for the second half, giving the Hoyas more numbers on the wings to exploit Xavier’s weaknesses. Georgetown dominated the game from then on, looking for the goal that could get them back in the game. The Hoyas had eight shots in the second half to Xavier’s zero, but they were not able to convert and the game ended 2-0 to coronate the Musketeers as the Big East reigning champions.
The Mountaineers also suffered a loss in their last game against the Kansas Jayhawks in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. The Jayhawks went up 2-0 in the first 30 minutes, dominating the whole game and leaving no chance for the Mountaineers to come back. West Virginia is led by sophomore forward Alina Stahl and freshman defender Julianne Vallerand who have scored five goals each this season, while the goal will be defended by senior goalkeeper Rylee Foster who has 68 saves in the year.
The two teams met on September 15 at Shaw Field, when the Hoyas took a 3-0 win with goals from sophomore defender Jenna Royson, freshman midfielder Julia Leas and graduate-student forward Amanda Carolan. Georgetown will look to repeat the performance on Saturday and advance to the second round of the tournament where they would face Rutgers (15-3-2, 8-2-1 Big Ten) or Central Connecticut State (12-4-4, 9-1-1 NEC). The game will kick-off at 12:00 p.m. E.T. and for live coverage follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter, and a live stream and stats will be available at guhoyas.com.
Image Credits: John Picker/The Georgetown Voice