Oct. 28, 2011
WASHINGTON - Senior Kelly D'Ambrisi (Trumbull, Conn./Lauralton Hall Academy) has been a vital cog for the Georgetown women's soccer team since her arrival on campus. The midfielder has earned All-BIG EAST honors and helped the Hoyas reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season. Throughout the year, D'Ambrisi has been contributing her thoughts for a blog on soccerbanter.org, which can also be seen on the Georgetown Athletics website. www.guhoyas.com. Here is her latest post:
Going All Out
"These past two weeks have really shaped our season. Going into the last string of five games, I knew we were a good team with potential but we hadn't really won a big game yet. Normally, one game a season sticks out and illustrates how good we can be. Dave (Nolan) calls them NCAA resume games, the ones that will get you in a good spot for qualifying for the NCAA tournament. We've already played two this year, Stanford and West Virginia. I thought the Rutgers win this year was a big one, but they aren't having the season they've had in the past. Pivotal remaining games were Louisville and Notre Dame, both perfect opportunities for us to make a statement in the BIG EAST and set ourselves up nicely for the BIG EAST Tournament and NCAA's. We beat a tough Cincinnati team on Friday and were ready for Louisville. It was the best game we've played all season and yet, probably one of the most disappointing games I've ever played. We went into double overtime and lost 2-1 in a game that we felt handled the entire way. We left everything on the field but they had one special player who got away from us twice and punished us. Throughout the overtime we had so many chances but it just wasn't going our way. Dave was proud of us, felt badly for us... We gave it everything; I wanted to chop my dead 20-year-old legs off. One glimmer to the day was the fantastic tailgate hosted by Kristen Insana's family, which helped us rebound and recharge.
Fighting the Irish
Georgetown has never beaten Notre Dame. It's the game we get up for every year. When they came to us last year we tied them 1-1. I really thought that was our year to beat them. This year they have had their struggles and have even lost a game at home to Louisville. If Louisville can beat them, I know we have the ability to. We fly Southwest and are quite familiar with the open seating format; most times being the last group to board, we are faced with the dreaded middle seats... Fortunately this time there were actually a few full rows of three seats open in the way back for us, which I quickly snagged. Dave sat in the last row and the seat next to him was open. It was very amusing to watch the girls come to the back of the plane, look awkwardly at the seat next to Dave... and then turn around and head back to the front of the plane for that middle seat next to two complete strangers. We flew out to Chicago in Central time and then had a 2-hour bus ride to South Bend... South Bend is back in East Coast time, which made the trip so confusing... no one knew the time or where we were (the middle of nowhere). We trained on a practice field the next day prior to the evening match. Walking into their stadium is unreal. Filled with excitement and nerves, we got out of the locker room and took the field. The warm-up tape was not what we had hoped for. It was the slowest mix of Mariah Carey and country I have ever heard... I'm not sure if that's what pumps them up or if they try to get in teams heads through the warm-up tape, but it sounded like the "sleep" playlist on my IPod. This could be the last time I'll ever play Notre Dame and I thought it was our year to make history. Night game, under the lights, phenomenal stadium, shirts all tucked in for the international walk out... it was a very intense atmosphere, for me big games like these make the game worth playing. In the first five minutes Sam Baker flicked Ingrid Wells' corner kick into the net with her head. We were all in shock that a goal had come to us that quickly and that easily against the reigning NCAA champions. We knew after scoring a goal this early we had to do everything we could to protect our lead because a team like Notre Dame will not just roll over to a team like Georgetown. Ten minutes into the half we scored another goal off another set piece: Sam Baker's throw-in was flicked by Mary Kroening then hit a Notre Dame defender and bounced into the net. I knew we had it in us to beat them but I never would have thought that we would be up by 2 with 70 minutes left to play. There was so much time left in the game, anything could happen. They came back by the end of the first half and tied it 2-2 with two good goals. The second half was a scramble but again Sam Baker came up big with a throw-in that dribbled back out to the edge of the box and she stroked it into the side netting. I was standing right on the back post watching it soar into the net and I went crazy. There were about 13 minutes left to play and we had to protect this lead. Notre Dame had a few chances in the end, flying forward and trying everything they could to score. Both of our center backs were practically on one leg for the last few minutes... they had been knocked around the entire game by the Notre Dame forwards but they did well to keep them to 2 goals. The final whistle blew and we knew we did something really special. It reminded me of the win against Maryland last year to advance us to the Sweet 16. Dave came up to Gabby Miller and I and hugged and kissed us... we were very confused because normally he can't stand our gigglish antics. We finally must have done something right! It feels unreal to come out on top against Notre Dame once in my four years. We started taking pictures of the seniors in front of the scoreboard ...we were only able to get one good one before they saw us and shut it off! The tailgate back at the hotel after this game was awesome; I've never seen everyone so happy. Our friends and family members told us about their valiant efforts in the stands with their long drawn out "WHOOOOOOAAAAAAA's" during Sam's throw-ins... of course led by my mother... It was hard to tell if my mom was more excited than me; she practically ran across the lobby to give me, then Sam a huge bear hug. Reliving and celebrating the win with so many Georgetown fans made it all the more magical...an evening I will never forget.
"We had a game on Sunday against DePaul on their turf... half baseball/half soccer field with the EL train screaming by every 3.5 minutes and the weather there always happens to be miserable. We gutted out a 2-0 victory and secured home field advantage in the Big East tournament. We floated home...even middle seats couldn't bring us down."