Sports

Georgetown soccer brings experience in quest for postseason success

September 9, 2023


Design by Grace Nuri

Once again, No. 13 Georgetown women’s soccer has an experienced and talented group hoping to take the next step and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament this year. Last year, Pitt knocked Georgetown out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round. This year, though, the Hoyas have a great mix of new and returning players who could make a deep postseason run, potentially cinching a fourth BIG EAST Conference Champion after wins in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

One of the main reasons for their ambitious goals is the plethora of experienced players on the team’s roster. Fifth year graduate midfielder Julia Leas, a 2022 First Team All-American and semifinalist for the Mac Hermann Trophy, is returning this year as team captain. In goal for the Hoyas is another fifth year graduate student, Allie Augur. Augur, the 2023 Preseason BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year, has only conceded one goal this season. Sophomore forward Henley Tippins and junior forward Maja Lardner are other returners who can bring attacking firepower to the Hoya offense.

Georgetown also added a lot of talented new players to the roster. Graduate defender Brianne Riley transferred in from UCLA, where she won the 2022 National Championship. Graduate forward Allie Winstanley, graduate forward/midfielder Grace Sherman, and sophomore midfielder Shay Montgomery also joined the team through the transfer portal. 

Last year, a lack of scoring in key moments was an issue, but Winstanley, Tippins, and Lardner could help change that. Although last year’s leading scorer Gia Vicari transferred to Rutgers, Augur was optimistic nonetheless. 

“I think once [our offense] clicks, once that final third ball happens, we’re gonna be unstoppable for sure,” Augur said in an interview with the Voice.

Head coach Dave Nolan, in his 20th season on the job, expressed a similar confidence in Georgetown’s ability to score goals.

“The good thing is we’re creating chances, the good thing is we’re getting opportunities, and we just need to be a little bit more polished at finishing,” Nolan said.

Nolan has his eye on winning the BIG EAST, a goal he thinks is achievable. “At the end of the day, this is a top 20 program that views success as winning BIG EAST Championships and making as deep a run as possible in the NCAA Tournament.” 

Augur also has big goals for her final season at Georgetown, but she’s making sure to savor every moment. “It’s my last year playing college soccer. It’s a blessing to have this opportunity and to have it for five years, and so I really just want to enjoy the ride and to go as far as possible,” she said.

Georgetown women’s team is undefeated after five games, as of publication, including an impressive 1-0 win against the talented Virginia Tech team, setting them up for a successful non-conference run. The Hoyas will host No. 2 Stanford at Shaw Field at 1 p.m. on Sept. 10.

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After entering the 2022 season ranked second in the nation, Georgetown men’s soccer struggled out of the gate before finally finding their footing in time for a BIG EAST regular season championship, only to be upset in the tournament championship game by No. 2-seed Creighton. That was followed by a disappointing second round exit in the NCAA tournament at the hands of No. 15 Tulsa. 

But with the return of most of last year’s key players, the Hoyas (2-1-1) are shaping up to be a formidable force this season. The losses of Second Team All-American defender Daniel Wu and First Team All-East Region defender and midfielder Aidan Rocha will certainly be felt, but head coach Brian Wiese and captains Kenny Nielsen and Diego Letayf are optimistic that the team is prepared to step up to fill the gaps.

“We had the whole spring season to fix the gaps that they left, and I think that we have players that can almost do exactly what they were doing,” Nielsen said. 

The Hoyas certainly looked strong this spring, winning the Spring Soccer Cup over nine other dominant programs, including No. 9 Wake Forest, No. 10 Duke, and previously ranked Pitt and Maryland.

Georgetown’s returners also made an impact in various summer leagues. One standout was sophomore forward Jacob Murrell, who led Annapolis Blues FC in scoring, building on momentum from last fall, where he had seven goals in 21 appearances. The summer work paid off—Murrell scored two of the Hoyas’ goals in their season-opening 3-2 victory over Santa Clara.

With the addition of the freshman class—ranked No. 3 by TopDrawerSoccer—this should be one of the deeper rosters the team has had in recent years.

“We have six freshmen joining us who have all been really integral to our preseason,” Nielsen said. “I think that depth for us this season will play to our advantage.”

“With all six of them, I actually have total confidence in putting them into a game early in the season,” Wiese said. “I think it’s been a pretty seamless transition.” 

Sure enough, four of the six saw action sometime in the first three games. They’ll need to be patient before playing major minutes, but with visions of a return to the College Cup, everyone will have to step up when their name is called. 

“We know that to achieve those long-term goals, we just gotta take it one by one,” Letayf said.

That starts with figuring out how to bounce back after falling to 2-1-1, as of Sept. 6, following a 3-3 draw to an unranked Fordham on Monday. While their three goals against Santa Clara and their dominant 4-1 win over then-No. 8 Pitt last Friday were promising offensively, the Hoyas still seem to be adjusting on defense. 

But based on strong off-season play and the stacked roster that Wiese has assembled, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Hoyas playing in Cary, North Carolina for a chance at College Cup glory once again this December.

The men’s team will host No. 8 James Madison at Shaw Field on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. For continued coverage and updates on Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on X (formerly known as Twitter).


Lucie Peyrebrune
Lucie is the Sports Editor and a sophomore in the College studying Political Economy and French. A DMV native, she is a big fan of DC sports teams (especially the Wizards and the Spirit) and anything USWNT-related.


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