As one of the most talented soccer players in the BIG EAST, Georgetown sophomore Daphne Corboz leads her team in a quiet manner, though you wouldn’t know it from her scoring totals. The 5-2 midfielder leads the league in scoring with 38 points and 16 goals. Having started each of the first 39 games of her collegiate career, the diminutive dynamo has made an immediate contribution to the Hoyas since she set foot on campus. But that hasn’t seemed to faze her much, she has a great soccer pedigree.
Her soccer-rich family includes her brother Mael (a freshman at Rutgers with 13 points and seven assists) and younger sister Rachel (still in high school with aspirations of playing in college). In addition, her father played professionally with Grenoble, a France-based team located near the Swiss Alps.
Growing up, they watched soccer all the time. “My dad instilled our love for soccer,” Corboz said. To this day, when they are together, they play soccer tennis, a form of juggling a soccer ball over a net, usually pairing Daphne and her brother against her dad and sister. Though she wouldn’t divulge who won most of the time, it was rumored to be her squad.
Scoring goals has been part of Daphne’s makeup. A native of Watchung Hills, N.J., about 30 miles from New York City, Corboz left Watchung Hills High School as the program’s leader in goals (97) and assists (57) for an eye-popping 251 points.
“Daphne plays way beyond her years,” mused Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan. “She quietly had a very good year for us last year and was in the running for (BIG EAST) Rookie of the Year. Playing with Ingrid (Wells), Kelly (D’Ambrisi) and Sam (Baker) helped her establish a good base and now, as Daphne goes, we go.”
As an All-BIG EAST Third Team selection and a member of the league’s All-Rookie Team last season, Corboz totaled 10 goals and one assist, including two multi-goal performances. In the classroom, Corboz is a BIG EAST All-Academic, maintaining a grade-point average above 3.0.
This year, Corboz has been running rampant among the NCAA scoring leaders. She set a BIG EAST record with 11 points in an 8-0 win at Pittsburgh on Sept. 30. Corboz scored five goals in the contest, tying for the most in a league game. The performance was a school record and earned her BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honors.
“At halftime my teammates and I had no idea what the record was,” Corboz recalled. “They set me up really well and the goals just went in. I’m very honored to break the record, but I’ve played with a lot of awesome players who helped as well.”
Corboz also was quick to turn the spotlight on her coach. “Coach Nolan has been excellent as well. He is funny, always cracking jokes. He has definitely turned this program around. It’s a credit to his coaching, style of play and recruiting.”
Talk of a “turnaround” is understated. What Dave Nolan has done with the Georgetown women’s soccer program is revolutionary. A program that had nowhere to go but up, has become a national power.
The Hoyas finished above .500 only twice during their first nine years of BIG EAST round-robin play (1995-2003) and had never been to the conference tournament, never mind the NCAAs. In Nolan’s nine years at the helm (2004-2012), the team has made eight appearances in the conference tournament and a pair of NCAA showings. Nolan was the league’s Coach of the Year in 2007 and could be among the favorites to win the honor again in 2012.
However, as the leaves change and the calendar turns to November, Corboz and the Hoyas are squarely focused on postseason play, something that would be a new experience for the sophomore scoring machine. Last year Georgetown compiled an impressive record (15-6-0, 8-3-0 BIG EAST) but was left out of the NCAA Championship despite an RPI of 42.
“We got gypped from the NCAAs last year,” lamented Corboz. “It was a huge shock, but since then, we as a team, have made that our No. 1 thing. It’s been a big fuel to our fire.”
The team has chosen to focus on the present. That present begins on Oct. 28 in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship and hopefully extends past Thanksgiving into the College Cup, the first weekend in December.