Despite the scorching heat at Shaw Field on Saturday afternoon, the Georgetown men’s soccer team (1-4) notched its first win of the season over UConn (3-2), narrowly defeating the Huskies 1-0.
In the first half, both teams appeared reluctant to put any major pressure on the other. However, the Hoyas managed to scrap up some semidangerous chances on offense.
With freshman forward Achara out due to a minor injury suffered in last week’s game against Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1 ACC), junior forward Zach Knudson, a new transfer from N.C. State, stepped into a starting role up top with senior forward and co-captain Brett Campbell.
Knudson had a scoring chance 15 minutes into the game in which he got past his defender but ultimately shot the ball wide of the post. He showed some of the skills he can bring to Georgetown’s offense in his strength and hold-up play.
“He’s a little bulldog, he’s this little dynamo of a kid. He’s very hard to push off the ball, and I think he did a very good job of holding the ball for us and getting other people involved in play, and he’s very, very strong. I think defenders have a very hard time with his center of gravity and strength,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.
“When he gets ahold of it he’s very, very hard for defenders to take it from him. He gave us a really good performance, which is good to see because he’s coming back from an injury he got over the summer,” Wiese said.
However, it was Campbell who gave the Hoyas what they needed toward the end of the first half in a quite unconventional fashion. UConn’s junior goalkeeper Scott Levene tried to quickly clear the ball while under pressure from Campbell in the box before the ball deflected off the captain and rolled into an empty net. Although it certainly was not a typical goal, it may have been exactly what Georgetown will need to kick-start Campbell and its offense. It was just the Hoyas’ second goal of the season.
“I think it’s very important,” Campbell said on scoring his first goal of the season. “It’s just good to see the ball go in the net and I had a couple chances that I wish I put away, but hopefully more chances [will mean] more goals.”
After the half, Georgetown pressured UConn despite holding the lead, and Wiese utilized his experience depth to keep his players on the pitch fresh in the heat. Senior midfielder Jon Azzinnari, senior defender P.J. Koscher and junior midfielder Declan McCabe all played prominent roles in keeping the team fresh, playing well in their limited minutes.
“Both teams got really tired. It’s hard to run out there. We used more guys today, which was important. I think you got some really important performances from guys coming in. Some of your seniors did a great job, I thought P.J. Koscher came in, in a hard ask, coming into the back four, and was fantastic for us, almost scored a goal and, I thought was really good filling in for what, 60 minutes,” Coach Wiese said.
“I think we have a lot of faith and trust that guys we put on are going to give you important minutes. I thought it was a team win today in that regard.”
With fresh legs and sustained pressure, the Blue and Gray did not allow UConn to get many serious chances. Sophomore keeper J.T. Marcinkowski only needed to make three saves during the match, continuing his defensive prowess this season — Marcinkowski has allowed just five goals in five games this season.
Georgetown will look to carry its first-win momentum and will head to Williamsburg, Va., on Tuesday, Sept. 13 to face William and Mary. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.