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Hoyas bounce back with win against Marquette
After losing their last two conference matches to University of Connecticut and Notre Dame, the No. 6 Georgetown men’s soccer team (13-2, 4-2 Big East) played a crucial game last Saturday against a Marquette team (12-1, 3-1) then-ranked second in the nation.
Georgetown controlled the ball early in the game, keeping possession on Marquette’s half and pushing up hard on offensive attacks. One of the earliest true opportunities came up short in the 27th minute, when freshman forward Brandon Allen received a through ball inside the 18-yard line but was pulled down by a defender, resulting in a controversial no-call. A tough Georgetown defense forced Marquette to play mostly long balls in the beginning with few of them resulting in shot opportunities.
The Hoyas got on the board though in the 22nd minute, when junior midfielder Steve Neumann received a free kick just outside the corner of the 18 yard box. He played the ball in the air and senior defender Tommy Muller was able to get a head on it, deflecting the ball past a diving keeper and into the far post. Georgetown kept the pace up, keeping constant offensive pressure on the Marquette defenders.
After several goal attempts, including a ball from Neumann to Allen that was headed just wide right of the goal, senior forward Andy Riemer was given a yellow card in the 28th minute for a cleat-to-cleat slide tackle. Marquette’s shot off the penalty was snagged out of the air by sophomore goalkeeper Tomas Gomez.
The Hoyas made another scoring attempt in the same minute when a center slid through the box and Neumann fired for the bottom corner, but the shot was stopped by a diving save. In the 35th minute, a Marquette cross was knocked out to a midfielder standing on the 18-yard line, who shot the ball just out of the reach of Gomez and into the bottom right corner to tie the game at one apiece.
The second half was barely underway when Allen was tripped one yard outside the goal box. Neumann slotted the shot right around the wall and into the bottom right corner of the goal, putting the Hoyas up again early. The defense pressured hard on many of the scoring opportunities, giving Georgetown an extra offensive push on Marquette’s four-three-four formation.
“We got both our goals on set pieces today,” said Coach Brian Wiese of the team’s opportunities. “I’ve been absolutely laying into our guys all year because I said why aren’t we any better on set pieces…and today you’re playing against maybe one of the better teams in the country on set pieces and that’s how we win the game.”
Marquette then picked up their offensive pressure, but the Hoya defense held strong. Freshman midfielder Cole Seiler saved a possible Marquette goal by sliding in front of a shot and clearing it out. The ball was crossing the half line much more frequently as the clock winded down but the defense was able to contain any drives.
Gomez also did his best to delay time in the final minutes by taking water and requesting different balls from the line aids. With just two minutes left, Nealis and a Marquette midfielder both went for a ball in the air, resulting in a head-to-head collision that left the opposition’s player bleeding from his forehead. Nealis continued to play while the other player was taken out of the game. Marquette was given one last corner, but despite bringing up their keeper the ball was cleared out by Georgetown’s defense, ending the game in a 2-1 Georgetown win.
“They did a great job in the last 10, 15 minutes withstanding Marquette’s push and just to clear out all the set pieces, corners, and free kicks from midfield that they were dumping in. Just to handle all those is definitely great for our defense and great for our confidence going forward,” Neumann said of the defense stepping up late in the game.
Handing Marquette its first loss of the season and improving Georgetown’s record to 12-2-1 was huge for this team. With only three games left during the regular season and all of them conference games, Georgetown needs to keep up the high pressure play in order to make it to postseason play. Their last home game will be the last game of the regular season against Seton Hall on Oct. 27.
“I thought the guys had a real discipline performance today,” Coach Wiese said. “I thought it was a hard game, [Marquette] makes it hard to do some things but I thought we were unlucky to just have two goals in at the end.”