On Wednesday, the Georgetown men’s soccer team put on a strong performance at home to defeat Providence 4-0 in the semifinal of the Big East tournament.
The two teams had played two weeks prior, with the Hoyas (11-4-3, 6-2-1 Big East) topping the Friars (10-7-2, 6-2-1 Big East) 2-1 following a late goal from sophomore forward Derek Dodson.
The Big East semifinal started slowly, as neither team generated chances to score. Georgetown controlled most of the possession early on and generated its first chance of the game in the 30th minute following a mistake by Providence.
A cross-field pass intended for junior defender Dylan Nealis was handled in the box by a Providence defender, leading to a penalty kick. Senior midfielder Kyle Zajec fired the ball past Providence’s keeper into the bottom left corner to give Georgetown a 1-0 lead, marking his fourth goal of the season.
Following the opening goal, Georgetown continued to control the match, but neither team had another scoring opportunity before halftime.
Head Coach Brian Wiese praised the performance of his defense, which limited Providence’s opportunities to score and avoided mistakes.
“I really think our back four, in general, was really good today. [Peter] Schropp and [Brendan] McDonough have been really good all season and they’re playing better and better.” Wiese said. “Giannis [Nikopolidis] I think had one save. The things that we did deal with, we dealt with pretty well and handled their threats in the box. We didn’t concede a lot of silly free kicks and we minimized some of their threats there.”
The Friars started the second half strong, which Wiese expected after a tightly contested first half.
“I thought the first five or ten minutes of the second half you knew you would have to endure a good push by them. It did take a little while for us to get a hold of the ball and play,” Wiese said.
Following a Providence giveaway in its own half, sophomore midfielder Jacob Montes played junior forward Achara through on net. However, Achara’s shot from 12 yards out went wide of the post.
The Hoyas continued to put pressure on the Friars’ defense and scored their second goal minutes later.
In the 59th minute, senior midfielder Ethan Lochner cut inside and played a ball across the field to Nealis. After getting the ball on the touchline, Nealis played a cross into the six-yard box and found junior forward Riley Strassner, who headed the ball on net. Providence’s keeper saved Strassner’s first effort, but he capitalized on the rebound and scored to give the Hoyas a 2-0 lead.
Lochner said that the Hoyas were pushing for more goals in the second half.
“The boys were just buzzing. We were just hungry. We were up 1-0 at half and just said we want a bunch more,” Lochner said in an interview with The Hoya.
As the second half progressed, the physicality intensified and multiple yellow cards were handed out. A Providence player was sent off after receiving a straight red card for a challenge on Zajec in the 69th minute.
After Providence went down to 10 men, Georgetown continued to push numbers forward, looking to secure its lead. Lochner dominated play in the late stages, scoring two goals in the 80th minute.
Lochner found space on the left side of the box and hit a shot low toward the near post, which was saved by Providence’s keeper. An alert Lochner pounced on the rebound and buried the chance to give the Hoyas a 3-0 lead.
Moments later, Lochner again found himself in on net at the top of the box following a through-ball from Montes. Lochner rounded Providence’s keeper and passed the ball into the open net, clinching a dominant 4-0 victory.
The Hoyas outshot the Friars 18-8, and freshman goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis earned his seventh shutout of the season.
Georgetown will host Marquette on Sunday at Shaw Field in the Big East championship. The Hoyas are looking to win their third Big East tournament in the past four years. The final will take place at 2 p.m. and will be televised on FS2.
Lochner is looking for the Hoyas to repeat as Big East champions.
“We’re defending champs and we want to go for it again,” Lochner said.