The No. 10 Georgetown women’s soccer team (10-0-1, 7-0-1 Big East) defeated Creighton (4-6, 4-4 Big East) 2-1 in the Big East semifinals on Friday. Sophomore midfielder Julia Leas bagged the game winner with a penalty kick 35 seconds into overtime, while sophomore forward Gia Vicari scored her Big East-leading tenth goal of the season early in the first half. Redshirt junior midfielder Aida Kardovic scored the Blue Jays’ only goal on the day.
Led by their vaunted defense, which had only conceded one goal all season coming into today’s game, the Hoyas were heavy favorites. However, Creighton entered the semifinal on a tear, going 4-1 in their last five games with the only loss coming against Butler. Both teams would spend the opening minutes probing the other’s defense.
The Hoyas kicked off the scoring in the 8th minute. A swinging cross by senior forward Jenna Menta found Vicari, who buried it home to break a tie with Butler’s Anja Savich for the Big East goal scoring lead. Both Menta and Vicari had recently been tabbed to the All Big East First Team, with Menta taking home the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year award.
Creighton would not bow out easily. In the 26th minute, junior forward and All Big East Second Team member Skylar Heinrich sent a looping ball into the box that the Hoyas failed to clear. Georgetown senior goalkeeper Alyssa Navarette, who had not allowed a goal in over 500 minutes this season, was pulled off her line and couldn’t get it away as senior midfielder Keelie Fothergill headed the ball to the All Big East First teamer, Kardovic, who slotted it into an empty net for her fourth on the season.
The next 63 minutes were a taut affair, as the Hoyas could not get anything to the net. Georgetown senior goalkeeper Lauren Gallagher (The Hoyas switch goalies at halftime for tactical reasons) hung tough in the second half, making 3 saves and helping send the game to overtime. Georgetown was only able to generate 4 shots in regular time with only two going on net. Creighton, meanwhile, generated 9 shots with 5 on target.
However, all it takes is one chance to change the momentum and in the opening minute of overtime, the Hoyas struck. Menta was knocked down in the box and drew a penalty on Creighton junior goalkeeper Keelan Terrell. Leas, a member of the All Big East Second Team, stepped up to the spot and fired a rocket to Terrell’s right. Despite Terrell guessing right, the ball found its way into the end of the net and the Hoyas converged around Leas.
Georgetown entered the game as the first place team in the Big East East division, while Creighton finished the regular season tied for second in the Midwest division. Coming into the game, Creighton had not defeated the Hoyas since joining the Big East in 2013, a streak that will continue for at least one more year. Due to COVID protocols, this was the only meeting of the season between two teams that were placed in different divisions.
The Hoyas advance to face the Butler Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 Big East) on Sunday in the Big East Championship Game. Butler finished first in the Midwest division this season, with their only loss coming to DePaul in March. The Bulldogs dispatched UConn (8-3-1, 6-2-1 Big East) by a score of 2-1 in the other semifinal on Friday behind goals from sophomore forward Gretchen Skoglund and sophomore defender Alana Wood. The Hoyas are looking to win their 3rd Big East title in 4 years and avenge their loss to Xavier in last season’s final. The final is scheduled for Sunday, April 18 at 11 am and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1. For continued coverage of all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.