In front of a packed crowd at Shaw Field, the Georgetown men’s soccer team continued a fierce start to its season by defeating the Santa Clara Broncos 1-0 on Monday, Sept. 6. The Hoyas are currently ranked No. 1 in the country after the release of this week’s United Soccer Coaches poll.
Georgetown (4-0) dominated possession from the opening kickoff of the Labor Day game and kept the Broncos (3-1) on their heels defensively. In spite of maintaining control of the ball, Georgetown did not have many scoring opportunities in the first half. The Hoyas’ first opportunity came in the 5th minute, when senior midfielder Sean Zawadzki’s left-footed shot sailed wide of the post.
Despite outshooting the Broncos 20-6, the Hoyas failed to make the most of their opportunities and recorded just five shots (only 25% ) on goal. Meanwhile, Santa Clara made the most of its few chances, registering three shots — or 50% — on goal. The Broncos, known for their dangerously quick counterattacks, were poised to jump to a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute. After a beautiful transition from the defensive half, Santa Clara’s Oladayo Thomas ripped a clean shot on goal. However, graduate goalkeeper Ethan Koehler made a diving save left to preserve the 0-0 draw. The save was Koehler’s first of three in an outstanding performance at the net.
Just when it looked like the Hoyas were headed into halftime scoreless, Georgetown’s offense attacked with six minutes to play, with three corner kicks and three shots on goal. However, a leaping save by Santa Clara’s goalkeeper Andreu Cases Mundet on a shot by Hoya sophomore defender Dominic De Almeida kept the score tied at halftime.
Georgetown kicked off the second half by sticking to its game plan of possession and passing around the Santa Clara defense until it could find a gap. Just three minutes into the second half, the Hoyas appeared to advance to a 1-0 lead when senior midfielder Joe Daluz buried a shot into the back of the net. Just as Georgetown began to celebrate, the assistant referee blew his whistle and waved the goal off, claiming Daluz had stepped offside. A brief conference between the referees, captains and coaches confirmed the offside call, keeping the game tied 0-0.
In the 58th minute, Georgetown finally scored to open up a 1-0 lead. Following a corner kick and a chaotic scramble by the net, first-year defender Kieran Sargeant buried his second goal of the season into the left corner. Sargeant, who was recently named Big East Defensive Player of the Week, had an outstanding game as the Hoyas’ left back and is quickly becoming one of Georgetown’s most promising talents.
Despite the second half lead, Georgetown’s defense endured several Bronco attacking spurts down the stretch. With 15 minutes remaining, Santa Clara’s Oladayo Thomas ripped a shot that was saved by Koehler for a corner kick. Six minutes later, Oladayo shielded off three Georgetown defenders and struck a left footed shot on goal. Koehler came up big again, this time with an acrobatic kick save to keep Georgetown’s lead.
With under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Georgetown’s dominant possession had clearly worn down the Santa Clara defense. In what looked like a shooting drill, the Hoya offense unleashed shot after shot on goal following beautiful build-up passing. The Hoyas’ best opportunity came in the 84th minute when Polvara found senior midfielder Zach Riviere off a low cross. Riviere’s shot was denied by Cases Mundet’s miraculous save, keeping the final score 1-0.
With the win, Georgetown has jumped out to an early four-game winning streak. The squad will look to maintain their momentum and undefeated season as they take on the University of Maryland next Saturday, Sept. 11. The game is scheduled to kick off at 1:00 PM at home on Shaw Field.