July 28, 2017
WASHINGTON - The 2017-18 academic year marks the 25th Anniversary of women's soccer at Georgetown University. As part of a planned celebration for the 25th Anniversary during the coming season, Head Coach Dave Nolan will share his top-10 moments in the history of the program leading up to a celebration for the program during the season.
The third of Nolan's Top 10 is a 1-0 win over No. 23 Connecticut in the 2007 BIG EAST Championship, a win that moved the Blue & Gray to the semifinals for only the third time in program history.
I remember this being a real smash and grab for us," Nolan said. "UConn battered us but we defended great. With Ingrid (Wells) and Jordy (Sara Jordan), we were always dangerous on counter attacks and late on, their goalkeeper mugged Jordy and we got a PK. There was no doubt who was taking it and Ingrid stepped up and scored. The UConn team and fans were in shock. We held on for a famous win in a stunned Morrone Stadium.
"This was a huge win for us at that time. It was our first win over BIG EAST power UConn. It put us into the BIG EAST Tournament weekend for the first time and was probably the big scalp we needed to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid. It is still one of my favorite memories of Georgetown Soccer."
Many were saying that the 2007 Georgetown women's soccer team could be called the Cardiac Kids, as nine times during the regular season, the Hoys needed a second half goal to earn a win. In the game against Connecticut, Georgetown struck again, as freshman forward Ingrid Wells provided the difference with a second half tally.
Prior to the game, Nolan had said that his team was confident, despite playing in a hostile environment at Connecticut, a top-25 team that had made the NCAA Tournament every year to that date.
"To be considered as one of the top teams in the BIG EAST you have to start beating some of the top teams in the BIG EAST," Nolan said after the game. "This year we have done a great job of beating the teams below us, but to beat them is huge."
The Hoyas set the tone early as their defensive game plan worked to perfection. Working against the balanced Connecticut attack, senior defender Karen Waskewich, junior defenders Alex Gargano and Nicole Smith and freshman defender Michaela Buonomo played superbly, forcing most of Connecticut's shots to come from outside the box. Senior keeper Jade Higgins recorded the 20th shutout of her career.
"Our back four was tremendous," Nolan said. "Most of their shots, about six of them in the first half, were from 25 or 30 yards out. That was our game plan: keep them to long range shots, and they couldn't do anything with it. We had a few counterattack opportunities in the first half, and we actually had more genuine scoring chances than they did."
The scoring chances were to no avail however, as the Hoyas found themselves in a scoreless tie at halftime. The Huskies came out firing to start the second half, ripping three shots in the first 10 minutes. The Hoyas never lost their composure and withstood the onslaught, but could not get much going offensively.
The main concern going into the game for Nolan was whether Connecticut would man-mark Wells in an attempt to disrupt the Hoyas' offense. For the previous three weeks, every team Georgetown faced had employed such a tactic to varying degrees of success. While the Hoyas were able to get chances on counterattacks, it was clear that the defensive strategy was working as Georgetown struggled to set up sustained offensive sets with Wells constantly covered.
"They changed their system of play from everything they've done all year," Georgetown's then fourth-year head coach said. "They man-marked Ingrid [Wells] and wherever I moved her they sent the man-marker with her. It surprised me that they would do that, but maybe it's a sign of the respect we now have gotten, that they will change what they do to match up with us."
After a Buonomo shot in the 70th minute was saved, the Hoyas got their break. In the 74th minute, senior forward Sara Jordan went up for a ball, but the UConn keeper made an ill-fated decision to leave the goal and go for the ball, fouling Jordan in the process. Wells, finally free of her man-marker, stepped up to take the penalty kick.
With the game, and the season for that matter, on the line, the diminutive but smooth rookie stared down the veteran goalkeeper. Wells sent the ball to the back of the net to give Georgetown a 1-0 lead. "I give her credit - even as a freshman she has ice in her veins," Nolan said of Wells. "I didn't have any doubt she was going to score."
The Blue & Gray couldn't rest easy as Connecticut had two great scoring opportunities in the final five minutes of regulation, but Higgins denied both opportunities sealing the victory.