Hoya Heartbreak: Georgetown Falls to TCU in Penalty Kicks

May 6, 2021

Photo Courtesy of GUHoyas

The No. 13 Georgetown Hoyas (12-0-2) fell in penalty kicks to No. 4 Texas Christian University (12-1-2) on a hot and rainy Wednesday evening in Cary, North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen. The two teams ended the second overtime knotted at 1 apiece, and, after a stoppage due to lightning, TCU pulled away at the spot. Junior midfielder Maya Fernandez-Powell scored for the Hoyas in regulation, while sophomore midfielder Michelle Slater equalized for the Horned Frogs.

The loss marks the second consecutive season that Georgetown failed to make it to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals following their run to the College Cup in 2018. Last season, the Hoyas fell in the first round to West Virginia. While Georgetown advanced further this year, they were stopped in their tracks by TCU’s senior goalie Emily Alvarado throughout the game. The Horned Frogs will go on to face unranked University of Virginia in the Elite 8 on Sunday.

In the early stages of the match, the Horned Frogs looked to be carrying their momentum over from their six second half tallies against New Mexico. However, slowly, but surely, Georgetown started getting numbers forward. Sophomore reserve forward Tori Hallwachs subbed on for sophomore forward and 1st Team All Big East Gia Vicari in the 18th minute and provided an immediate spark as well as the Hoyas’ first shot of the game. Senior forward Jenna Menta followed this with a shot of her own saved by Alvarado, before another Menta offering struck the top post and fell to the feet of Fernandez-Powell, who slotted home her third tally of the year.

The rest of the half passed uneventfully as neither Alvarado nor Georgetown senior goalie Alyssa Navarette were challenged. Navarette was removed from the game at halftime in favor of graduate senior Lauren Gallagher, a switch that Head Coach Dave Nolan has made in every single game this season.

The Hoyas came out in the second half with energy. Fernandez-Powell and senior midfielder Grace Nguyen both got shots away in the first 10 minutes after the break, while a couple of Vicari chances nearly extended the lead in the 70th minute. Disaster then struck for the Hoyas in the 77th minute. Senior forward Yazmeen Ryan made a run into the Hoyas’ box and found an unmarked Slater who was able to smash a shot that Gallagher could barely get a hand on to tie the game. Ryan actually had a chance to bag the game winner a minute later, but was foiled by the woodwork. Neither team got much going after that, sending the game to overtime.

Menta, Big East Offensive Player of the year who had a sensational last-gasp goal against South Carolina in the prior match, led the team with four shots in the first period but was neutralized in the second half. She did not record a shot in the second 45 minutes, perhaps starting to feel the wear and tear of leading the team’s offensive attack all season long. Vicari, who with 10 goals on the year was the Hoyas’ leading scorer, also struggled to get anything going, ceding nearly the majority of her minutes to the more effective Hallwachs. The inability to tack on an insurance goal hurt the Hoyas heading into overtime.

Both teams looked tired in the first overtime as both sides probed the opposition. However, in the second OT, the Hoyas showed some urgency as Fernandez-Powell had two of her team leading six shots and Menta got one going to the goal. Nothing made it past Alvarado, though, so penalty kicks it would be.

Leading off on PKs, Fernandez-Powell made a confident strike, putting a ball past Alvarado for the second time in the evening. However, before TCU could respond, the referees halted play due to the weather forecasts showing lightning was in the area. Both teams went back to their busses to wait out the storm and, after about an hour, the players returned, with a 1-0 PK score in favor of the Hoyas. It would be all Horned Frogs from then on out.

Ryan, sophomore forward Grace Collins and junior forward Maddy Warren each smashed shots low and to the left, past a diving Gallagher, to score for TCU, while Alvarado was able to make two saves on senior defender Kelly Ann Livingstone and junior defender Charlie Kern, before a shot from freshman defender Erin Junkmann off the bar sealed the crushing defeat for Georgetown.

Alvarado put up a herculean effort in the victory, making 6 huge saves on 7 shots on goal, none bigger than her stops in the middle of the second half to keep the game at a one goal deficit. Georgetown outshot TCU 18 (7 on target) to 11 (4 on target) in this game, holding the powerful TCU offense to weak shots. A big part of that was the play of the Hoyas’ backline. Big East Defensive Player of the Year Livingstone, sophomore midfielder Julia Leas, graduate defender Kaitlyn Parcell and junior defender Jenna Royson put on a clinic, snuffing out attacks and leading counters. Yet, their one mistake of not marking Slater in the 77th minute proved to be costly.

The Georgetown Women’s Soccer Team will be back in action next fall, and the future remains bright for Nolan’s squad.  Assuming that seniors have played their last games in the Blue and Gray (which is a murky proposition due to new eligibility allowances), Georgetown will be led by some combination of Leas, Royson, Fernandez-Powell, Vicari, and a healthy junior forward Boo Jackson as they search to once more return to the College Cup.  For continued coverage of all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.

Roman Peregrino
Once upon a time, Roman was the Voice's EIC as well as news, managing, and sports editor. He is from San Francisco and a lot less Italian than his name suggests.

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