After just one minute and fifty-five seconds of play, the No. 10 Georgetown men’s soccer team (8-1-1, 3-1-0 Big East) scored its first goal of the game. It was a sign of things to come, as the Hoyas added two more first half goals en route to a 3-0 win over No. 15 Butler (7-3-0, 3-1-0 Big East) on Friday afternoon at Shaw Field. The Blue and Gray were led by goals from senior midfielder Declan McCabe, sophomore forward Achara, and freshman forward Derek Dodson.
With the win, Georgetown moves to the top of the Big East table, tied with Butler on points. However, the Hoyas hold sole possession of first by owning the tiebreaker. Georgetown also remains unblemished at home (6-0-0) on the year.
“I think we all knew going in it was a really big game,” McCabe said. “Our mentality really set us up and everybody really stepped up all over the place.”
“We’ve been talking all week, saying this is probably one of our toughest games of the season,” junior goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski said. “We’ve had this circled on our schedule since last year. We wanted to come out with a hot start and the guys did that. It was nice to see.”
Right from the opening whistle, Georgetown held its foot on the gas pedal, attacking the Butler defense with through balls and solid possession play. In the second minute, a lofted through ball from senior midfielder Christopher Lema found the foot of Achara behind the defense. The sophomore maneuvered in the box, drawing Butler redshirt senior goalkeeper Eric Dick off his line. Achara then passed across goal to McCabe who tapped the ball in for the easy goal.
Even with a goal in hand, the Hoyas continued to attack offensively. Achara was the recipient of several through balls towards goal, but was called offsides twice. In the tenth minute, however, Achara got his goal. McCabe played a ball through to the forward, whose first touch beat the covering defender. Achara used his speed to get into the box before cutting back to his right foot and shooting into the bottom right corner, giving Georgetown a 2-0 lead.
“We were just trying to handle it like it was a 0-0 game the whole time,” McCabe said. “We just wanted to play the way we do. We’re not worried about them too much.”
After dominating possession for the next 25 minutes, Dodson added his fourth goal of the season. McCabe sent a through ball towards the keeper, who came off his line. Dodson barely beat Dick to the ball, tapping the ball just under the goalkeeper’s outstretched body to give the Hoyas a commanding 3-0 lead entering halftime.
“I think we did a really good job of taking them out of their game,” Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “I think they were a little shattered at the end of the first half.”
After the intermission, Butler was much more aggressive on both ends of the field. With this aggression came increased physicality. Players from both teams took hard challenges, many of which elicited cries from the crowd. In the 56th minute, Achara was tackled hard from behind. The forward remained down on the field, grabbing his already-injured right knee. After receiving treatment from trainers, Achara was helped off the field, unable to put any weight on his leg.
From there, Georgetown maintained dominant possession to control the game. The Hoya defense was dominant, allowing just six Butler shots, three of which were on goal. Butler sophomore forward Brandon Guhl, the conference’s leading goal-scorer, was held to just one shot attempt. Overall, the Blue and Gray outside their opposition 19-6, and 10-3 on target.
“I don’t think they really got any service from up top,” Marcinkowski said. “The guys did really well in pressuring their back line and midfielders and they really didn’t have much building through. I thought our front-runners and midfielders did a really great job of tracking their runners.”
Because of the lead, Wiese was able to rest many key starters in preparation for the team’s Monday afternoon tilt against No. 19 Duke (8-2-1, 2-2-0 Atlantic Coast).
“You can take that pressure of the three points of the Big East out of it,” Wiese said of the non-conference matchup. “Duke’s in really good form. At the end of the day, it’s just us executing and handling their players. It should be a fun game.”
The Columbus Day matchup will kickoff at 1:00 pm on Shaw Field.
Image Credits: Tyler Pearre/The Georgetown Voice