The No. 12 Georgetown men’s soccer team completed a successful homecoming weekend, beating Seton Hall University on Oct. 11 on Shaw Field and taking down No. 25 University of Maryland, College Park, on Oct. 14 on the road.
Continuing Big East play, the Hoyas (10-1-1, 3-0-1 Big East) hosted the Pirates (5-5-0, 2-2-0 Big East) on Shaw Field. In the eighth minute, senior forward Achara had the first major chance for the Hoyas as he beat two Pirates defenders down the left wing to get into the box. His shot went just outside the far post, however, so the game remained scoreless.
As the half wore on, the Hoyas continued to control possession but were unable to generate many looks on net. Their best chance came in the 20th minute when a cross was whipped in toward junior midfielder Jacob Montes, who was unmarked in the box. However, his header went straight at the goalkeeper, making it an easy save.
With less than five minutes left in the first half, Seton Hall began to see more of the ball, which put Georgetown’s defense under pressure. They won a few corners but the Hoyas’ defense held strong and prevented the Pirates from having any substantial looks on goal, leaving the game scoreless at the half.
The Hoyas opened the second half aggressively in the first few minutes as freshman forward Will Sands forced the Pirates’ goalkeeper to make a diving save after Sands received a cross from junior midfielder Jack Beer.
Moments later, the Hoyas got on the scoreboard courtesy of Achara’s second goal of the season. Beer hit a shot on the net that was bobbled by the Pirates’ goalkeeper. Achara got to the rebound first and beat a few defenders before completing an easy finish to give the Hoyas a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute.
In the 55th minute, Seton Hall had its first good look on goal off a quick counterattack. This counterattack resulted in a header from six yards out that forced sophomore goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis to make a diving save at his far post, which he did successfully.
The second half was noticeably more violent than the first, and the game began to become much more physical. This intensity culminated in the 60th minute when a Seton Hall player received a red card for a bad challenge, resulting in Georgetown’s playing a man up for the remaining 30 minutes.
After the red card, the Hoyas dominated play and looked likely to double their lead. In the 72nd minute, Montes showed some strong skills as he beat multiple Pirates defenders to get in on net, but his shot hit the side netting from a tight angle. Junior forward Derek Dodson also had a shot from 18 yards out a few minutes later that forced the Pirates goalkeeper to make another impressive save.
In the 90th minute, the Hoyas finally broke through and doubled their lead courtesy of another goal from Achara. Seton Hall’s goalkeeper misplayed a pass that Achara intercepted. From there, Achara had an easy finish into the empty net, giving the Hoyas a 2-0 victory.
The Hoyas outshot the Pirates 26-4, and Nikopolidis earned the win in net with his second shutout of the season.
After the victory over Seton Hall, Georgetown traveled to College Park to face defending national champion Maryland (6-4-2, 1-1-2 Big Ten) in the Hoyas’ final nonconference game of the season.
Early on, it became clear that this would be a tough test for Georgetown as Maryland had the first chance of the game. Freshman goalkeeper Tomas Romero made a good save on a shot from a Terrapin attacker as he pushed the ball over the crossbar.
In the 21st minute, the Hoyas had their first solid chance of the game. Dodson hit a shot that was well-blocked by a Terrapin defender. However, the rebound bounced to graduate student and forward Ethan Lochner, whose ensuing shot was blocked on the goal line by another Terps defender.
Late in the first half, Maryland had a golden opportunity to take the lead, catching some Hoyas out of position to get a great look on net. Maryland midfielder David Kovacic had a diving header that beat Romero but went just over the crossbar, so the game went to half scoreless.
Early in the second half, Georgetown began to dictate play and created the majority of the chances. Achara had a strong run down the center of the pitch and shot from the top corner of the box, forcing the Terps goalkeeper to make a good save. Moments later, Sands hit a shot on net that was cleared right off the goal line by a Terps defender. The referee then promptly stopped play and checked the video replay to see if the ball did cross the goal line. However, the ball was stopped just short, confirming there was no goal.
In the 65th minute, the Hoyas were finally able to break the deadlock. Sophomore midfielder Zach Riviere broke into space in the midfield and played a perfect ball out wide to junior midfielder Paul Rothrock. Rothrock then played a cross into the box and found Achara, who settled the ball perfectly into the path of a sprinting Dodson. Dodson finished the combination play with a strong finish into the back of the net, giving the Hoyas a 1-0 lead.
The remaining 25 minutes were a bit of a dicey affair for Georgetown as both Georgetown and Maryland traded chances on opposite ends, keeping fans of both teams on the edge of their seats. Maryland had one final effort on target but Romero came up big once again to preserve the shutout and give the Hoyas a 1-0 victory.
Georgetown outshot Maryland 16-5 and had 10 corners to Maryland’s three. With his two saves in net, Romero earned his fifth win and fourth shutout of the year. This game concluded the Hoya’s nonconference schedule in which they finished a robust 7-1-0, with the Georgetown focusing on Big East opponents for the remainder of the regular season.
Next up, Georgetown will host Xavier University at Shaw Field in a Big East matchup Saturday, Oct.19, at 1 p.m.