Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas Advance in Big East Tournament

Image Contributor
Senior forward Peter Grasso

The Hoyas extended their Big East lifeline to the quarterfinals yesterday with a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats.

In a game that was more hard-fought than the score suggests, the Hoyas had to come from behind, scoring three quick goals in the span of seven minutes to seal the victory.

After a relatively flat start by both sides, the Bearcats made the first mark on goal in the 13th minute to take the lead at North Kehoe Field. A throw-in resulted in multiple close-range attempts at goal by the Bearcats, which were blocked repeatedly by sophomore goalkeeper Matt Brutto. But Cincinnati’s junior midfielder Judson McKinney finally slipped a rebound past the Hoya keeper to put the Bearcats one up.

“Cincinnati’s awfully good on restarts and long throws and corners, and we knew that those were going to be things to watch out for,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “They ended up scoring off a long throw. The good news was that they did it early enough in the game that we were able to settle down and get it back, and I think the guys did a really good job coping with going down a goal.”

“When they scored, we got the team together [in a huddle] and talked it out,” senior midfielder Corey Zeller said. Junior defender Len Coleman’s voice boomed over the crowd’s chants of “Let’s go, Hoyas,” as he tried to get the team to settle down and regroup. The team huddle seemed to spark a fire in the Hoyas, and just four minutes later, they responded with a fierce offensive onslaught that proceeded to win them the game.

“We started playing very, very well,” Wiese said. “I thought we had some really good performances. . We had a real spell going, and got some terrific goals.”

The Hoyas’ first goal of the game – the equalizer – came in from junior midfielder Scott Larrabee. The left-winger headed in a corner taken by the Hoyas’ set-piece specialist, junior defender and co-captain Mark Zeman.

“Mark Zeman basically played in a perfect ball, and I just tried to get my head on it and tried to get it on goal,” Larrabee said. The midfielder followed up his first goal with a pair of close attempts at goal, which were barely off the mark. “I was trying to get as many opportunities, tried to get as many chances as I could. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to convert those chances. But as long as I’m looking dangerous, that’s what I want.”

Larrabee ended the day’s play with four shots at goal.

With 21:38 left on the clock, Zeller also recorded a score to his name, putting the Hoyas in the lead for the first time in the match.

“It was awesome,” Zeller said. “The ball got ricocheted out around the six-yard line, and me and [senior forward Peter Grasso] kind of met the ball at the same time. I called him off and had a look at the space – the center back was coming out at me really hard and I just pulled the ball back and went around him. The keeper was out so I just thought I’d slide it under him.”

Just over two minutes later, sophomore forward Chandler Diggs was fouled in the box by a Bearcat defender and the referee promptly called a penalty. Hoya top-scorer Grasso stepped up to the spot, and despite the fact that the Cincinnati coach called the goalkeeper over to the sideline for some last-second advice and perhaps to stall time and make Grasso nervous, the forward calmly shot the ball in the back of the net for the Hoyas’ third goal.

“I don’t know, they were trying to ice me or something like that,” Grasso said. “I don’t know what they were doing. My technique for a PK is seriously just to hit it as hard as I can, I don’t really know where I’m going till I actually hit it. But yeah, it felt good.”

The Bearcats fought back in the second half of play, and there was a period of play where the team played mostly in the Hoya half of the field, pressuring the defense significantly. The back four and Brutto held on, however, and the visiting team was reduced to putting in rough challenges and late tackles, resulting in two yellow cards for the players and one issued to the Head Coach Hylton Dayes for his dissent on the sidelines.

“I thought the back four was very strained,” Wiese said. “It was stressed today. We were bent several times today, but we didn’t break, and that was the good news.”

After recovering from the Bearcat onslaught, the Hoyas continued pressuring the Bearcat backline. The home team was unlucky not to put more goals up on the scoreboard – the sophomores put a solid showing up front, and right-winger Seth C’deBaca and forward Diggs both ended the day with two shots each. Collectively, the Hoyas topped the Bearcats 13-12 in attempts at the net.

“We did well in getting the goals [against Cincinnati],” Larrabee said. “They’re a tough team to beat. To make it better, we should have scored a fourth goal – a fourth goal would have sealed the game.”

Wiese had similar thoughts about the elusive fourth goal but proceeded to say that the victory was a “terrific” one for the team, taking them a step further into the postseason.

The Hoyas will only have two days to bask in their victory before they face their next opponents in the Big East tournament quarterfinals. The team will travel down south on Sunday to take on the University of South Florida in a game that promises to be a grudge match for the Blue and Gray – the Bulls knocked the Hoyas out of the Big East tournament last year with a 4-0 thrashing and were responsible for the first loss of the season on North Kehoe when they handed the Hoyas a 2-1 defeat.

The Hoyas and the Bulls will face off in Tampa, Fla., at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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