Last year, the women’s soccer team had its most successful season in the history of the program. They finished with 15 wins, good for their most ever, and made it to the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.
This season, the team sports a much younger look, but is still strong, having won their first six games in a slate that included Columbia, Cornell, and Delaware. Though the 2011 team lost many players to graduation, the new team is fully capable of repeating last year’s feats, and is gifted with decreased pressure and expectations.
Last year, then-senior Ingrid Wells played an enormous role on the team and was one of three players named to the All-Big East Team. Coach Dave Nolan realizes the enormity of her loss but remains confident in the players stepping up in her stead.
“Good players come and go, and you have to think down the line on how you have to replace players,” Nolan said. “Ingrid was a very special player, but there are other special players as well.”
“Special player” is a category that now certainly includes sophomore midfielder Daphne Corboz, who started every game in her freshman season and scored 10 goals. Corboz is able to create opportunities and score goals from the midfield, which will make her a formidable target for opposing defenses this season.
While teams may have been distracted with more experienced players last season, this year Corboz will definitely have to adjust to being marked in the box. “Daphne has a fantastic soccer brain. She’s probably the purest soccer brain we’ve ever had in regard to the understanding of the game.” said Coach Nolan, “She has great ideas. She can create chances and score goals.”
Meanwhile, of the seven freshmen on the team, Marina Paul and Sarah Adams have stood out. Paul has had to step into the spotlight because of the injuries on the team. At 5-foot-10, Paul has the physique needed to meet the physical demands of the game despite only being a freshman. Adams, while smaller in stature, is said by Nolan to have “a great soccer brain,” similar to that of Corboz.
Ahead, the Hoyas face all of the talent in the Big East, though they will first have to face West coast powerhouses Santa Clara on Friday and defending NCAA champion Stanford on Sept. 9. Though this is a daunting schedule, Nolan looks forward to the challenge.
“We bring kids here on the premise that they not only get one of the best educations in the country,” he noted. “Any time you get to play good games out of conference, you take it. That’s what excites the kids.”
Photo: Georgetown Sports Information