This Week in Soccer: Start of the Season

August 31, 2021

Dante Polvara Phot by John Picker

Every week, the Voice will supplement our daily soccer coverage with a wrap-up that includes news, notes, and observations on the men’s and women’s soccer teams. This week covers the start of the season through August 29.

WSOC Game Recaps

2-2 vs North Carolina State on August 19

  • NC State struck first after a giveaway from Hoya defender Kelly Ann Livingstone led to a one on one between Georgetown goalkeeper Allie Augur and the attacker
  • Junior forward Gia Vicari scored in the 16th minute off a feed from junior midfielder Julia Leas who maneuvered around several defenders
  • In the 50th minute, transfer defender Sydney Cummings scored in her first game as a Hoya off a corner from senior midfielder Maya Fernandez-Powell
  • NC State scored off a header from a set piece in the 68th minute that Augur couldn’t do anything with 
  • The two teams had their chances but ultimately ended the game tied

2-0 vs Loyola Marymount University

  • A Livingstone header off a Fernandez-Powell corner gave the Hoyas the lead in the 5th minute
  • Freshman Maja Lardner scored her first career goal in the 79th minute off a redirect
  • Augur made three tough saves including one from LMU’s Rene Wasi in the first half that seemed destined to knot the game up

2-0 over Texas

  • Vicari scored her second on the season off a great ball from Leas
  • Fernandez-Powell scored her first goal on the year in the 57th minute from just outside the box off a feed from Lardner
  • Augur, per usual, came up with 6 big saves, but the Hoyas got lucky as several Longhorn shots whistled off the post

WSOC Trends/Storylines/Players to Watch

Kelly Ann comeback – The Hoyas backline was projected to be their biggest strength entering the year and for the most part has been as advertised, posting back to back shutouts in their past two games. Unfortunately, in their first contest against NC State, preseason Big East Defender of the Year Kelly Ann Livingstone had a costly giveaway in the attacking third, directly leading to a goal for NC State’s Jameese Joseph. It was an uncharacteristic error for one of the most experienced defenders in the nation, but she has bounced back in a big way following that misstep, scoring a goal off a set piece in the LMU game and snuffing out attack after attack against the Lions and Longhorns. While the season hardly got off to an auspicious start, Livingstone looks to be back to her usual ways.

MFP playing like an MVP – When paired at the midfield with an Olympian like graduate midfielder Daisy Cleverley, it is no surprise that senior captain Maya Fernandez-Powell flew under the radar this year. However, Fernandez-Powell, who has steadily increased her playing time every season (from no appearances as a freshman to starting as a junior and senior), has made the most of the opportunities given to her this year. She already scored a goal and notched two assists in the first three games, while being named to the Big East Honor Roll. The two assists both came off corner kicks reminiscent of Hoya great Paula Germino-Watnick’s set pieces. Fernandez-Powell has made it look easy on offense this season and will be an important driver of action heading into the tougher part of the wsoc schedule.

The Missing Menta – Gia Vicari is going to score, we know this. The junior forward already has two goals in the first three games, building on her impressive sophomore campaign where she scored 10 goals to pace the team. However, who will establish themselves across from her, taking the place of former Big East Offensive Player of the Year Jenna Menta? Thus far, sophomores Tori Hallwachs and Sophie Fox and freshman Ceanne Doyle have all started at forward for the Hoyas to varying levels of effect. Interestingly, the only goal from a forward not named Vicari came from the foot of Lardner against LMU. If the Hoyas want to live up to their potential this season, it will mean that some combination of those four have made up even a fraction of Menta’s impact. 

MSOC Game Recaps

2-1 over UC Irvine

  • The Hoyas outshot the Anteaters 30-4 on the day, with Irvine’s goalkeeper Gordon Botterill making 10 saves to keep it close
  • The game was played in 90 degree weather which caused multiple stoppages, including one Irvine player being ill on the field. 
  • The first goal came off a nice tic-tac-toe action between senior forward Zack Riviere, junior defender Will Sands and freshman forward Ronan Dillow who scored his first collegiate goal.
  • Sophomore forward John Franks also scored his first collegiate goal 12 minutes later, off a feed from junior midfielder Dante Polvara
  • UC Irvine scored in the 82nd minute off a set piece that graduate goalkeeper Ethan Koehler did not have much of a chance on

4-0 over #24 Fordham

  • This was Georgetown’s first match-up with a ranked team this season, and they delivered by scoring 4 times in the first half before taking their foot off the gas in the second half
  • Senior goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis notched his 20th career shutout for the Blue and Gray
  • Transfer junior Stefan Stojanovic scored his first goal in a Hoya uniform in the 10th minute off a ball from sophomore midfielder Chris Hegardt
  • Polvara scored his first of the year on a penalty kick in the 23rd minute
  • Another first career goal went to freshman defender Kieran Sargeant who muscled a pass from senior forward Joe DaLuz into the back of the net in the 36th minute
  • Dillow scored a goal in his second consecutive game, as Polvara and sophomore forward Marlon Tabora set up the freshman

Trends/Storylines/Players to Watch

Dillow + Stoj = Dodson? –  When Derek Dodson and Jacob Montes went pro near the end of last season, the Hoyas were forced to rely on Zack Riviere and a host of unseasoned forwards during the NCAA Tournament. As Carlos mentioned in his season preview, freshman Ronan Dillow and transfer Stefan Stojanovic have similar size and builds with the departed Dodson and fit in the same spot in Head Coach Brian Weise’s scheme. The only question was if they could come close to Dodson’s level of production and so far, the answer is yes. The two have combined for 3 goals in the first two games and may be the finishers that Weise has been looking for.

Meet the Wu -After missing all of last season due to injury, junior defender Daniel Wu has made his triumphant return to the Hoyas backline.  The center back was very missed last season, especially when Rio Hope-Gund went pro, forcing Sean Zawadzki to man the back. Wu is an incredibly calm, cool, and collected player who can play big minutes (he has played all 90 in the first two games) and is a weapon in set pieces (see his goal in the 2019 Championship game). This is even more essential as backline staples Aidan Rocha and Kenny Nielsen are still day to day with injury. 

Double Trouble: When the squad made its way to the 2019 NCAA Championships, they did it on the backs of two outstanding goalkeepers in Nikopolidis and LA FC’s Tomas Romero. The two alternated each contest and they seemed to relish the competition, with neither wanting to take a loss. Over the first two games, it seems like we may see this again after Nikopolidis and Koehler combined to only allow one goal off a set piece. While Nikopolidis is the two time reigning Big East goalkeeper of the year and was recently named to the MAC Herman Award Watchlist, if Koehler can man the net without too much drop off, Nikopolidis can stay fresh for the stretch run.

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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