On a beautiful Saturday afternoon on the Hilltop, the No. 17/11 Georgetown Hoyas (4-1-3) squared off against the West Virginia Mountaineers (3-3-3) as they wrapped up their non conference slate. The Hoyas must’ve felt the hype from the pep band because right from the start Georgetown applied immediate pressure on West Virginia. Junior midfielder Tatum Lenain pressed up the field and missed the net wide left on a shot in the first minute. West Virginia answered right back in the fourth minute with a counterattack that saw junior forward AJ Rodriguez dribble up the seam, but with no one to center the ball for a shot, the play ended in a save by Georgetown’s freshman goalkeeper Cara Martin.
The first 10 to 15 minutes of the match were back-and-forth, with neither side able to capitalize on their rushes. Each team had their fair share of good scoring opportunities, with the Hoyas having a breakaway whistled dead because of an offsides and the Mountaineers’ counter being stopped by an athletic play by senior defender Anna Shaver. As the game progressed, Georgetown started to dominate the possession of the ball and began to exert a lot of pressure deep in West Virginia territory. By the time the first subs checked in around the 22 minute mark, the Hoyas had started to generate multiple shots on goal but senior Mountaineer keeper Kayza Massey was able to make a couple really nice saves—including a diving save to stop a ball from senior forward Gia Vicari.
Along with winning the possession battle, the Blue & Gray also played with a physicality that got into the Mountaineers’ heads. The refs were letting some minor contact go, and Georgetown took full advantage—much to the chagrin of West Virginia, who let their grievances be known to the refs. With the Hoyas’ physical advantage, they began seeing some high quality scoring chances. In the 29th minute, graduate midfielder Maya Fernandez-Powell sent a beautiful ball deep into the box, but the WVU keeper was able to turn it away before sophomore forward Erika Harwood could finish. Just a few minutes later came the first corner kick of the match for either team with Georgetown crossing it into the box, but the Hoyas couldn’t complete the play and the Mountaineers escaped trouble once again.
With a West Virginia rush upfield, the Hoya defense was able to stand strong and clear the ball up the right side to sophomore forward Maja Lardner. Lardner didn’t quite have a clear shot, so she pulled up, waited for Lenain to get into perfect position before centering it to set up a gorgeous finish with the left foot by Lenain, who deposited it in the top left shelf. 1-0 Georgetown in the 33rd minute.
Almost as soon as the Hoyas scored, West Virginia turned the dials up a notch. In the five minutes following the goal, WVU generated a corner kick, a give-and-go rush, a free kick, and another shot on goal. Georgetown was playing on its heels whereas the Mountaineers were playing with a newfound desperation to even up the score before half. The Hoyas, escapedunscathed however, as a couple of nice defensive plays and great work in goal by Martin held WVU scoreless going into halftime.
The Blue and Gray came out with much more composure in the second half with Lenain looking for her second goal of the day—she had a shot on goal with the left foot 30 seconds into the half and followed it up a minute later with another rocket off her left leg, this one missing high left. Although Lenain couldn’t quite break through with her second of the day, the Hoyas were able to find the back of the net again as sophomore forward Cyanne Doyle dribbled it along the goal line and centered it to Vicari who sent it down and right past two defenders and the keeper. 2-0 Georgetown in the 48th minute.
Vicari completely owned the second half. Not only did she have the goal, but she was involved in practically every offensive play for the Hoyas. In the 56th minute, she took on two defenders, split the difference and had another clean shot on goal that was saved by the goalkeeper. Two minutes later, Vicari made another fantastic play in the box, weaving in and out of defenders, but no one was open on the centering pass, and West Virginia was able to clear the dangerous chance for Georgetown. Not five minutes had passed before she again found herself streaking up the left side with beautiful touch as she received the ball and waited to find freshman forward Natalie Means, who she hit with a crosser, but Means’ shot was stopped by Mountaineer keeper Massey.
West Virginia again turned up the pressure on the Hoyas, going into full desperation mode being down 2-0. They drew a foul in the 68th minute on the right side of the box and the subsequent header off the free kick was just over the net. Then in the 70th minute, a Mountaineer corner kick would’ve resulted in a goal were it not for a fantastic save by Martin—who was at the top of her game all afternoon.
As the match entered into its last 10 minutes, the Hoyas clamped down, allowing only one shot on goal off a broken play that was easily stopped by Martin. As the match wound down to its final seconds, the pep band began playing “The Final Countdown.” The whistle sounded as a last second West Virginia shot flew way over the net, with Georgetown coming out on top 2-0, their third straight win. The Hoyas goals came from Tatum Lenain, her second of the year (assisted by Maja Lardner), and Gia Vicari, her third of the year (assisted by Cyanne Doyle). Georgetown finished with 12 shots—six on goal— while West Virginia ended the match with 13 shots—four on goal. Hoya goalkeeper Cara Martin finished the game with four saves, her third shutout of the year.
Georgetown will begin conference play with their match against St. John’s Thursday September 22 at 7:00pm at the Maryland Soccerplex. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and continued coverage of all Georgetown sports.