The Georgetown women’s soccer team (11-0-1, 8-0-1 Big East) won the Big East Tournament championship against Butler University (10-2-0, 6-2-0 Big East), 2-1 in overtime. The teams met Sunday on neutral turf in Providence, Rhode Island. Due to the separation of the conference with COVID-19 precautions, this was the first time the teams met this season. Georgetown senior forward Jenna Menta was instrumental in the win, continuing to be the steady offensive presence that made her Big East Offensive Player of the Year, including making the golden goal in overtime.
Butler started with an aggressive offense that tested Georgetown. Junior forward Anja Savich made the first shot at 2:01, but it sailed wide to the left. In the Hoyas’ first offensive push, Menta surged to the goal box and was tackled. While Butler’s defense tried to clear, senior midfielder Grace Nguyen pushed through and threaded a powerful shot past two defenders and the keeper in just the 7th minute of the game. It was her 4th goal of the season, and it gave the Hoyas an early 1-0 lead.
Junior keeper Stephanie Rodriguez was continually tested throughout the first half, and showed why she was named co-Big East Goalkeeper of the Year. The Hoyas notched 14 shots in the first 45 minutes, 6 of which were on goal. They also took 9 corner kicks in the first half, compared to the Bulldogs’ 2. Rodriguez was able to keep the Hoyas from furthering their lead, even as they dominated possession. Striving for momentum to go into the second half, Butler was able to make 2 more shots from corner kicks in the 39th minute. Substitute midfielders Gabby Smith and Payton Black attempted to equalize with headers, but the first was denied by a team save and the second went wide.
The second half saw Georgetown’s desire to continue offensive dominance pitted against a renewed Butler attack. Hoya junior midfielder Devon Lis, sophomore midfielder Julia Leas, and Menta took early shots in the half. In response, Butler junior Katie Soderstrom capitalized on a quick change that strung out the Georgetown back line. Against 2 defenders, Soderstrom sent a low ball that sped past diving graduate keeper Lauren Gallagher.
The equalizing shot marked a turning point for the Butler offense, which looked much more solid and gave their defense a chance to breathe. Senior defender Kelly Ann Livingstone was impressive in holding Georgetown’s defense together against counterattacks. Menta persisted in surging up the field, backed up by Leas and graduate midfielder Daisy Cleverley in the midfield. Neither side could complete their opportunities, and the Hoyas found themselves in the same situation as their semifinal match against Creighton on Friday that sent them to overtime.
Tied 1-1 after 90 minutes, the Hoyas kept their momentum going in overtime. One minute in, they saw their first shot on goal from sophomore forward Tori Hallwachs denied by a Butler team save. Nonetheless, Menta finally found her opportunity to end the game in the 94th minute. She stole the ball from a Butler player, powered up the right field, and expertly sent the shot over defenders and Rodriguez to the left side of the net. The golden opportunity secured the Big East title Georgetown missed in 2019.
The Hoyas finished Big East conference play with no losses, and only 3 conceded goals. They will continue their campaign at the NCAA College Cup in Cary, North Carolina. The first round will occur April 27-28. Livestream information and live stats will be available on www.guhoyas.com. For continued coverage of all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.