On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the No. 24 Georgetown men’s soccer team lost 1-0 at home to St. John’s in its penultimate Big East game. Because of the wet weather conditions, the game was played at Cooper Field rather than Shaw Field, the Hoyas’ usual home ground.
The Hoyas (9-4-3, 5-2-1 Big East) entered the match against the Red Storm (7-6-3, 3-2-3 Big East) in strong form, having won four out of their previous five fixtures.
Georgetown dominated possession in the first 15 minutes against a physical St. John’s side. The narrow pitch size of Cooper Field enabled the Red Storm to pack their defense in tight, preventing the Hoyas from having space to attack.
Despite having little possession, St. John’s grew into the game as the half wore on and began to test Georgetown freshman goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis. Midway through the half, St. John’s fired a shot on the net that forced Nikopolidis to make a diving save at the far post.
In the 44th minute, St. John’s took the lead on a goal from freshman defender Sanoussi Sangary. The Red Storm fired a shot from the left side of the box that took a heavy deflection off a Georgetown defender. Nikopolidis dealt with the deflected shot, but the rebound went straight to Sangary, who clinically gave the Red Storm a 1-0 lead heading into the half.
The second half continued like the majority of the first half as Georgetown controlled possession.
Three minutes into the period, junior forward Achara won back the ball in the Red Storm’s half and started a quick attack. He played sophomore forward Derek Dodson in on net, and St. John’s senior goalkeeper Lenny Wilson came out quickly to deal with the danger. The rebound bounced to Achara, but his ensuing header went off target.
As the half wore on, Georgetown saw most of the ball but struggled to deal with the Red Storm’s physicality. Whenever Georgetown received the ball in the attacking third, it was closed down by the St. John’s defense.
Head Coach Brian Wiese said that the aggressive tactics of St. John’s were effective.
“They’re a super aggressive team, and I think it was fairly disruptive soccer. That was their aim, and it worked pretty well,” Wiese said in an interview with The Hoya.
Late in the half, the Hoyas had several chances to get an equalizer. Achara was played into space down the left wing multiple times but was unable to pick out any runners in the box.
The Hoyas came closest to scoring off two chances created by junior midfielder Dylan Nealis. He hit a curling shot from the right side of the box that hit the far post and bounced away. Moments later, Nealis had another opportunity as he hit a shot on an empty net. However, his shot was deflected over the goal, and the Hoyas were unable to find the back of the net before the final whistle.
Overall, the Hoyas outshot the Red Storm 14-8. Nikopolidis took the loss in net with four saves, while Wilson got the win for St. John’s with seven saves.
Georgetown will travel to Omaha, Neb., to take on No. 19 Creighton in both teams’ final regular season match at 8 p.m. Oct. 31.