The Georgetown women’s soccer team (7-0-6, 3-0-2) took down Butler (10-2-1, 3-1-1) 1-0 on Thursday at Shaw Field. An 89th minute goal from graduate defender Sydney Cummings made the difference against a Butler team that was coming in red hot having won 10 of their last 11 games.
The first half was characterized by tense, contentious play. It was a total stalemate for the first five minutes, but the Hoyas got their first chance off of a corner six minutes into the half. While they did not score a goal off the chance, the Hoyas’ continued to push. Senior left back Jenna Royson ripped one of the Hoyas’ first shots of the game, which was rapidly shut down by the tough Bulldogs defense. In the 12th minute, senior midfielder Maya Fernandez-Powell launched a counter attack and fed junior forward Gia Vicari through down the left side. Vicari had a narrow angle for a shot, so she played a ball across to freshman Cyanne Doyle who was also hesitant to pull the trigger and ended up giving it right back to Vicari. This was one of the Hoyas’ most dangerous chances of the half, but the reluctance to shoot in this case ultimately cost the team and Butler was able to quickly take it back.
The rest of the first half was defined by two impressive defenses shutting down seemingly every decent chance that the offenses put together. Royson was particularly impressive, single handedly taking on the Bulldogs’ wingers and either snatching the ball back or forcing a mistake before Butler could do anything to scare the Hoyas. Butler’s best chance of the half came from a beautiful play down the wing launched by a cross from the Bulldogs’ senior defender Amanda Kowalski to sophomore midfielder Alli Leonard who came flying into the box unmarked and was able to just barely get a touch on it. Junior goalkeeper Allie Augur easily dealt with the light shot to the lower left side of the goal.
Georgetown created a few more chances before the half, the most notable of which was off a chaotic corner as the ball bounced around the box. Junior midfielder Julia Leas was able to pull off a turnaround half-volley which looked dangerous initially, but bounced safely into the hands of the freshman keeper Emma Martin .
The second half continued what was established in the first: strong defense. One of the revelations of the half and this early part of the season has been seeing the contributions Georgetown freshman Eliza Turner is making on defense, despite being listed on the roster as a midfielder. She continued to shut down Butler’s potent attack, serving as a great complement to Cummings who was targeted all day by the Butler forwards.
Royson continued to be dangerous on offense, getting around several defenders on the left side of the field before sending in a nice ball to graduate defender Kaitlyn Parcell, who was open but just was not able to get enough pace behind her shot to trouble Martin. Through the first 10 minutes of the half, Georgetown maintained a sustained time of possession and pressure while Butler was only able to muster up one chance off an easily handled free kick for Augur in goal.
The half really opened up for a few minutes about 16 minutes in as Leas ripped a shot just over the bar, followed by a quick Butler counterattack and shot which was saved comfortably. On the Hoyas’ next possession, Vicari would run down the field and find space at the top of the box, but ultimately missed the frame of the goal on a clear chance. Georgetown once again regained control, which led to a dangerous corner kick opportunity for the Hoyas; graduate student Kelly Ann Livingstone received the ball at the far post with a relatively open goal in front of her as the Butler goalie scrambled, but Livingstone sent the challenging volley high over the net.
Georgetown finally broke through in the 89th minute, capitalizing on a last ditch effort. Fernandez-Powell sent a high-arcing ball off a corner that Cummings was able to make contact with and send the ball high above the Butler defenders and float it into the goal and ultimately win the match 1-0.
Although the Hoyas continued to struggle in front of goal, the strong defense once again impressed and will continue to be a problem for Big East teams throughout the season.
The Georgetown Hoyas women’s soccer team will return to action Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT against Zsani Kajan (11 goals this season) and St. Johns in New York. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and coverage of all fall sports at Georgetown.