For the first time in program history, the No. 3 Georgetown men’s soccer team (15-2-2, 9-0 Big East) has won the Big East tournament. The accomplishment came in a dramatic fashion, with junior forward Alex Muyl winning Sunday’s home matchup against No. 5 Creighton University (17-3, 8-3 Big East) in the second sudden-death overtime with a goal to put his team ahead 2-1. The game-winner came in the 107th minute, just moments before the match would have progressed to penalty kicks.
Georgetown entered the match having already made program history this season. The team’s 13-game winning streak, 16-game unbeaten streak and perfect record in conference play all set school records. The Hoyas have not dropped a decision since Sept. 4.
“The ability to maintain a consistency is one of the real special stories of this team. To go through [13 games], that’s a hard thing to do with the league you’re playing. … That consistency is really what you are most proud of,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.
After a solid start Sunday against Creighton, Georgetown’s various streaks and records seemed in jeopardy. Against the run of play, senior midfielder Timo Pitter scored for Creighton and gave his team a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Pitter’s goal came from an impressive individual effort, which saw him move past senior defenders and co-captains Josh Turnley and Cole Seiler before beating freshman goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski.
“Going in, we knew this could happen and we were fully prepared for it. I think as a team we responded really well,” junior defender Joshua Yaro said.
The goal could have been deflating for the Hoyas, but the team has had plenty of experience coming from behind this season. In the 19th minute, a precise cross from senior defender and co-captain Keegan Rosenberry put senior forward Brandon Allen in position to easily tap in the equalizer. Allen was awarded the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player honors.
“Rosenberry had some great plays. His assist was a fabulous assist,” Wiese said. “To equalize as quick as we did, I thought, was really important.”
Meanwhile, in the Georgetown defense, Yaro was busy preventing Creighton from finding a second goal. Yaro, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player, made key stops throughout the match. His interventions helped keep the Bluejays off the scoreboard in the second half.
Just five minutes into the second half, Georgetown had a chance nearly identical to its first goal. The linesman, however, judged Allen as offsides and took back the goal. Then, in the 87th minute, junior forward Brett Campbell hit the crossbar with a volleyed effort. That would be the Hoyas’ final chance in regulation.
“I think both teams left it all on the field even going into overtime,” Wiese said. “I think both teams were standing there wondering how much longer they were going to have to run around.”
Creighton senior forward and the nation’s second-leading goal-scorer Fabian Herbers nearly won the match in the 92nd minute. His long-range shot from far outside the 18-yard box hit the post just inches from the upper-right corner of the goal.
Georgetown survived that scare and the remainder of the first overtime. As time wound down in the second overtime, the match seemed headed for penalty kicks. Then, a key interception by Yaro and a centering pass by sophomore midfielder Matthew Ledder set up Muyl at the top of the 18. Muyl glided past the defender and beat the Creighton keeper from close range with a blistering shot to the far post.
“I just had a good look on goal and knew I wanted to get it on target. I saw the far post was open, I swung and I prayed that I made it,” Muyl said.
The Hoyas have a week to celebrate before returning to Shaw Field for the NCAA tournament. With Sunday’s win, they earned both an automatic berth to the tournament and a first-round bye. For now, however, the players are enjoying bringing home the first conference title in Georgetown history.
“Twenty-four teams had tried and failed, and we are just really proud to be the first team. This is a team that is making a lot of history this season, and we just want to keep it going,” Muyl said.