In front of a raucous crowd at Shaw Field, the No. 1 Georgetown men’s soccer team notched a 1-0 victory over local rival and soccer powerhouse No. 7 Maryland on Sept. 11.
A mix of 2,211 energetic home and away fans watched the Hoyas escape with a narrow and hard-fought 1-0 win to improve to an undefeated 5-0 record on the season. Georgetown (5-0-0) notched its fifth win in its past seven matches against Maryland (4-1-0) with the victory.
Georgetown jumped to a quick lead in the sixth minute. Off assists from sophomore midfielders Chris Hegardt and John Franks, junior forward Stefan Stojanovic leaped into the air, heading the ball into the corner of the net.
Stojanovic, who transferred from Saint Louis University this summer, has been a vital addition to the team, according to Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese.
“He’s doing great,” Wiese said in a postgame interview with The Hoya. “He’s a perfect fit for our system, and he has now scored two important goals on the season, which is why he’s here.”
The Hoyas did not find the back of the net for the rest of the game but were impenetrable on defense. Georgetown’s back line held the Terrapins to just eight shots, only one of which was on goal. This marked a season low for a Maryland side averaging 13.8 shots per game.
The only real defensive scare for Georgetown came with two minutes remaining in the first half on a Maryland corner kick, after a second-chance shot by Terrapin defender Brett St. Martin was booted past Georgetown senior goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis. Both sides and their fans believed the game was tied at 1-1, until a late offsides whistle was sounded by the assistant referee and the goal was rescinded.
Georgetown has now recorded four straight shutouts and allowed just one goal through five games.
Georgetown’s midfielders have been vital in the team’s impressive defensive efforts this season, helping ease the pressure off the Hoyas’ backfield, according to Wiese.
“You can’t talk about our defense without mentioning Dante Polvara and Sean Zawadzki,” Wiese said. “We’re getting more experience in the back and developing a greater understanding of roles. With this team, we feel like if we score one goal, that’s enough considering how our defense has been playing.”
Despite the close score, the Hoyas dominated the game and created numerous opportunities on offense. In the first half, Georgetown pressured Maryland in its own defensive third, recording 12 shots on goal, while Maryland could only garner three.
In the final two minutes of the first half, Georgetown sophomore Marlon Tabora dribbled into Maryland’s box and let a powerful shot fly that rebounded off the left post. The Hoyas were able to regain possession and put up three more shots before the halftime whistle blew.
The second half was more evenly matched, although Georgetown continued to dominate possession. The Hoya offense outshot the Terrapins 9-5, and 3-0 in terms of shots on goal. The Hoyas continued to frustrate Maryland’s offense but failed to extend Georgetown’s lead and capitalize on offensive opportunities.
“I would have liked to have won by a greater margin, but not sure we should have,” Wiese said. “We’ve now had three games in a row where we’ve generated a lot of good chances but have only scored one, but that’s our sport. However, we certainly could put a few more in the back of the net to make my stress levels go down.”
The Hoyas are now one victory away from matching the team’s longest winning streak since 2019. That squad went on to claim Georgetown’s first NCAA national championship.
Wiese said he is optimistic about how the team is growing throughout the season and is encouraged by the win against a Maryland team that he thinks can make the Final Four, but he said it will be hard to tell how this year’s team stacks up against the 2019 championship-winning team until later in the season.
Next up on the schedule, Georgetown will be traveling to Omaha to take on Creighton at 8 p.m. EDT on Sept. 18 following the postponement of a Tuesday matchup against Temple. The Hoyas’ next home game on Shaw Field will be Sept. 25 versus Dartmouth.