The Georgetown men’s soccer team (2-1) stepped out onto Shaw Field and took a 4-1 victory over the Panthers for their first home game of the season.
Playing against a strong University of Pittsburgh side (1-1-1), the Hoyas knew that they would need to have a short memory to have any chance of success. They began with a high press that allowed them to be on the front foot for the majority of the game, and Georgetown scored early and often as they cruised to an easy victory.
Georgetown returned from their up-and-down road trip in California to begin the season, after which they dropped out of the top 25 in national rankings. Looking to bounce back against the No. 8 Pittsburgh Panthers, the Hoyas dominated the match 4-1 to win their first home game of the season.
The Hoyas started the game quickly, winning a corner within 10 seconds of the first-half kickoff. Pittsburgh struggled to escape their opponents’ constricting press, and Georgetown made them pay for early mistakes. In the sixth minute, sophomore midfielder Max Viera whipped in a cross to senior midfielder Kyle Linhares on the back post, who calmly tucked his volley into the bottom left corner to put the Hoyas up by a goal to begin the game.
Pitt came back with a press of their own, forcing the Hoyas to defend well to maintain their lead. Georgetown was able to weather the storm, and 20 minutes into the match, they solidified their lead when senior defender Kenny Nielsen slotted the ball into the bottom right corner, just out of reach of the keeper.
The Panthers attempted to get a goal back before the half, but a combination of solid Hoya defense and goalkeeping left the Panthers scoreless entering the half.
The Hoyas began the second half strong. Linhares doubled his goal tally to two after junior defender Kieran Sargeant sent a ball in behind the Panthers’ defense, and Linhares shifted the ball to his right foot before depositing the ball into the bottom right corner.
Just a few minutes later, the devastating Georgetown press struck again, forcing a mistake from the Pitt center back and allowing Linhares to play junior midfielder Joe Buck in a simple one-on-one with the defenseless Pitt goalie. The Panthers were able to snatch a goal back in the 79th minute, but their efforts were not nearly enough to cool off the red-hot Hoyas in front of their devoted fans at Shaw.
Though every Hoya worked together to lead the team to such a decisive victory, a few players had performances that particularly stood out. Linhares led the pack with two goals and an assist, while Buck and Nielsen each added a goal to round out the four for the Hoyas. Georgetown outshot Pitt 11-7, with five of their shots on target compared to just one for Pitt. The Hoyas were clinical with their opportunities in front of goal, scoring on four out of their five shots on target.
Head Coach Brian Wiese said that a large part of Georgetown’s success stems from players moving away from thinking about their loss against Stanford and focusing on the match in front of them instead.
“We had a much better mentality to play the game how we wanted to play it, and we scored some great goals, which obviously helped,” Weise told The Hoya in a postgame interview. “I thought the fact that we were able to rebound and respond from the Sunday game with this kind of performance against a good team like Pitt was very telling for our group.”
After the game, Linhares said it was special to win in front of home fans for their home opener.
“It’s always good being out here,” Linhares told The Hoya. “We love Shaw, and we try to protect it every year, so just trying to keep that going.”
It is still early in the season for Georgetown as the team looks to carry on the positive momentum. The Hoyas drew with Fordham 3-3 on Monday and will travel to College Park to face the University of Maryland Terrapins Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.