Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

MEN’S SOCCER | Georgetown Defeats Lehigh Following Tough Draw With DePaul

The No. 5 Georgetown men’s soccer team continued its strong 2019 campaign as they drew with DePaul over the weekend before beating Lehigh on Tuesday. 

The Hoyas (8-1-1, 2-0-1 Big East) visited the DePaul Blue Demons (4-5-2, 0-1-2 Big East) on Oct. 4. The Hoyas were the dominant side throughout the majority of the match as the Blue Demons played heavily on the defensive side. 

In the 35th minute, junior forward/midfielder Derek Dodson came close to breaking the opening tie. Following a failed clearance by DePaul, Dodson picked up the ball outside the box and hit an effort on net from about 20 yards out that forced DePaul goalkeeper Drew Nuelle to make a diving stop. 

Then, in the 42nd minute, senior forward Riley Strassner got in behind the Blue Demons’ defense but went just wide of the target. The game went to halftime scoreless with Georgetown having outshot DePaul 8-5. 

In the second half, Georgetown continued to dictate the game but were still unable to break through DePaul’s defense. Early in the second half, freshman midfielder Dante Polvara had a decent look at the net, but his shot sailed over the crossbar. 

Late in the second half, the Hoyas had their best opportunity of the half courtesy of a fluid combination between Dodson and senior forward Achara. However, once again, Nuelle came up big for the Blue Demons to keep the game scoreless. 

Throughout the two overtime periods, the Hoyas continued to find themselves in good scoring opportunities only to be thwarted by Nuelle. Junior midfielder Paul Rothrock found himself in behind the DePaul defense courtesy of a long ball played forward. He played a ball across the face of goal toward Achara. However, Nuelle was able to get a hand to it before Achara and parried the ball wide. 

Moments later, senior midfielder and defender Dylan Nealis had a golden opportunity to win the game for the Hoyas with a free kick. However, his shot was saved by Nuelle, and the game ultimately ended 0-0 after two overtimes. 

The Hoyas outshot the Blue Demons 24-8. Freshman goalkeeper Tomas Romero made two saves in net for Georgetown while Nuelle made eight for DePaul.

Following the draw at DePaul, the Hoyas returned home to host the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (7-3-1, 3-0-1 Patriot League) on Oct. 8 in their penultimate nonconference match of the year. 

Freshman defender Daniel Wu dribbles the ball up the field with intensity.

Similar to its previous match against DePaul, Georgetown started quickly against Lehigh and generated a few solid scoring opportunities in the opening minutes. However, this time, the Hoyas were able to capitalize on one of their chances and score.

Following a blocked cross, the ball made its way to Achara outside the left side of the box. Achara then took a touch and hit a shot that zipped past the Mountain Hawks’ defenders before finding the back of the net. This was Achara’s first goal of the season in only his second match back from injury. 

“It’s great that Achara gets on the scoreboard. It’s great for him to get in. For him, it’s all about getting his fitness and his sharpness back,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. 

That goal seemed to dictate play throughout the rest of the first half as Georgetown continued to look comfortable on the ball and find themselves in space down the wings. Junior midfielder Jacob Montes kept finding himself in space in the center of the pitch and was able to play dangerous balls forward that troubled Lehigh’s defense. 

“I just think especially in the pocket positions, me, [junior forward and midfielder] Jack Beer, [sophomore midfielder and forward] Zach Riviere, a lot of us got on the ball at our feet and attacked the back four,” Montes said. “And then also with Achara and Dodson, there’s so much dynamic in our attack.” 

But, despite dominating play throughout the half, Georgetown was unable to get a second goal and entered halftime with a 1-0 lead. 

Early in the second half, the Hoyas had a number of opportunities to double their lead. In the 47th minute, Nealis hit a free kick that forced Lehigh’s goalkeeper into making a diving save. Junior midfielder and defender Foster McCune had a chance to score off the rebound but ultimately ended up hitting the post from a tight angle.

However, in the 49th minute, Georgetown was able to double its lead as a result of a great solo effort from Montes.

“I just had a guy to beat one-on-one and get to my left foot,” Montes said. “So I just took the opportunity. Luckily I had a really good strike and it went in so I was happy.”

As the half wore on, the Mountain Hawks began to gain a bit more control of the game as the Hoyas seemed to relax more.

“I think the challenge that we had today is that the goal almost relaxed us too much,” Wiese said. “They did a lot of really good things but there were a lot of details they weren’t really handling which led to some problems that I think we will have to be better at as we advance through the season.”

However, the Hoyas’ defense was stout and prevented Lehigh from generating many good looks going forward. 

“I think we handled some really good players today well,” Wiese said. “[Lehigh forward Josh Luchini] didn’t get a shot. He’s a very, very good player. I think that’s a credit to the back four. We were very concerned about him so that was a success for us today.”

In the 70th minute, sophomore goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis preserved the clean sheet when he saved a penalty kick following a Georgetown foul in the box. 

Late in the match, the Hoyas continued to look dangerous going forward as Achara had a few fantastic efforts on goal that were saved by the Mountain Hawks’ goalkeeper. The match ended after 90 minutes with a 2-0 victory for the Hoyas.

Georgetown outshot Lehigh 27-6 in a great attacking performance. Nikopolidis got the shutout in net and earned his fourth win of the year. Wiese used his depth throughout the match as he used nine players off the bench in addition to his starting 11.

“The group we have gives us a lot of great options and when they’re all healthy we need to petition for a 15-man-on-the-field sport,” Wiese said. “We have guys we want to get on and guys we need to get on to get the fitness level up, but at the moment it’s who we are and we’ll take the depth for sure.”

Next up, Georgetown will return to Big East play as it hosts Seton Hall (8-1-1, 2-0-1 Big East) on Shaw Field on Friday, Oct. 11 at 3 p.m.

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