The top-seeded Georgetown men’s soccer team defeated third-seeded Providence 3-1 at Shaw Field to earn their third straight Big East Championship on Nov. 17.
Coming off a shootout victory over Creighton, the Hoyas (15-1-3) got off to a slow start against the Providence Friars (14-6). Despite Georgetown having the first chance of the game off a curling free kick from junior midfielder Jacob Montes, Providence controlled the majority of the game throughout the beginning of the first half.
Head Coach Brian Wiese commented on the team’s slow performance in the first half in an interview with GUHoyas.
“It was one of the poorest first halves we’ve had and a lot of that is a credit to Providence,” Wiese said.
In the 14th minute, Providence redshirt senior defender Joao Serrano played a lovely through ball to freshman midfielder Esben Wolf on the left side of the box. Wolf then cut the ball back and played a pass to redshirt senior midfielder Tiago Mendonca who hit a one-time shot into the far corner of the net, giving Providence a 1-0 lead.
Following that goal, Georgetown began to generate a few opportunities of their own. In the 23rd minute, sophomore midfielder Sean Zawadzki found himself in space outside the box and hit a shot that sailed just wide of the post. Minutes later, freshman midfielder Dante Polvara tried to find senior forward Achara with a cross. Providence cleared the cross right to sophomore midfielder Dylan Nealis, whose shot went just wide of the post.
In the 41st minute, Providence had a golden opportunity to widen their lead when sophomore midfielder Christopher Roman played junior midfielder Davis Smith in on goal. However, sophomore goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis came out and made a huge diving save on the attacker to keep the Hoyas within one.
Wiese told GU Hoyas about the team’s discussion in the locker room at halftime, emphasizing the potential for the team’s offense despite the Friars shutting them down until halftime.
“We knew how good they could be, and we said at halftime if we want to show we are one of the best teams in the country, we’ll make them regret only taking one on us in that first half,” Wiese said.
Early in the second half, the Hoyas began to take control of the game and it began to look like it was only a matter of time before they equalized. In the 56th minute, Montes received the ball on the left-wing and played a quick give-and-go with Polvara. After receiving the ball again, Montes was taken down in the box, earning a penalty kick for Georgetown. Polvara, who had sealed the team’s spot in the championship in penalty kicks against Butler on Wednesday, stepped up to the penalty spot once again and buried the kick in the right corner, tying the game at one goal apiece.
In the 60th minute, freshman forward Will Sands found Polvara. However, Polvara’s shot from close range went just wide of the net as the game remained tied but the Hoyas were building momentum toward a tie-breaking tally.
In the 61st minute, Achara pulled up and seemed to injure his left leg, which led to junior forward Jack Beer coming onto the pitch. Beer made a quick impact by scoring the game-winning goal for Georgetown in the 73rd minute. Beer hit a free kick on the ground that hit off the post and bounced into the bottom right corner, giving the Hoyas a 2-1 lead.
Georgetown would add a third goal moments later in the 74th minute to expand the lead to two goals, putting the championship trophy in full focus. Beer began the attack by playing Polvara in down the left-wing. Polvara then crossed it to junior forward Derek Dodson who finished the attack by scoring with a low and powerful one-time finish.
The game ended after ninety minutes with Georgetown defeating Providence 3-1 to gain its third consecutive Big East Championship title. The Hoyas are the third team in Big East history to win three consecutive Big East Championships, joining the St. John’s Red Storm — who won the championship four times from 1992 to 1995 — and Seton Hall — who won each of the 13 titles from 1986 to 1998. The current Hoyas, however, have had the greatest championship run since the 2013 Big East realignment, with no other school having captured three titles in the past seven seasons.
Beer, Nealis, Polvara and Dodson were all named to the Big East All-Tournament squad. Nealis was also named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the tournament and Beer was named Most Outstanding Offensive Player. Nikopolidis got the win in net for Georgetown and made five saves in the process.
Beer told GU Hoyas how the team rallied the energy, cohesion and determination needed to win the game.
“We just came out flat and at halftime we got together and decided to work hard and put our heads to it and get after it and that’s exactly what we did,” Beer said.
This is only the second time is Georgetown men’s soccer history that the team won both the regular season and the Big East Championship in the same year.
Wiese described to GUHoyas the feeling of winning yet another championship, certainly demonstrating pride in his players, hungry for the championship feeling despite nearly the entire team knowing how it tasted the previous season.
“This never gets old, it’s great. I get a little emotional because every time you come through and win one of these, there are certain people who do something above and beyond and we had a whole lot of those guys today,” said Coach Wiese.
With the victory, the Georgetown Hoyas earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Hoyas are the No. 3 ranked team in the bracket and will play host to the winner of Pittsburgh and Lehigh on Nov. 24 at 12 p.m.