Georgetown’s 2-0 victory over Harvard this weekend did little to inspire championship-level confidence in Hoya soccer fans. The Blue and Gray (2-0-2, 0-0-0 Big East), therefore, had something to prove going into Sunday’s game against the Wisconsin Badgers (1-3-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) and they delivered, with an impressive 4-1 victory.
After only five minutes of play, junior forward Brandon Allen found the back of the net from an assist by junior defender Keegan Rosenberry and senior midfielder Austin Martz. Allen slotted the ball past Wisconsin goalkeeper Adrian Remeniuk at the near post to give the Hoyas a 1-0 lead.
20 minutes passed and the Badgers had plenty of chances, but the Georgetown defense quickly quashed all scoring chances. The next goal came in the 30th minute, just as junior midfielder Melvin Snoh took to the field. Brandon Allen lofted the ball to the winger who quickly added another score to the Hoyas’ tally.
“After the Harvard game we were up 1-0 the first half and we didn’t try hard enough to get a second goal,” said Snoh. “Leading up to this game we talked about trying to push the game and score more goals and that’s why we were so aggressive today.”
Just four minutes later, Snoh turned creator by feeding sophomore forward Alex Muyl, who streaked down the right and fired the ball across the goal to give Georgetown a 3-0 lead going into halftime.
“We didn’t want to have a one-goal lead going into the second half and then [have] them pressure us at the end of the game. We were trying to score more goals to have more freedom at the end of the game,” said Snoh.
Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese supported this game plan. He was happy to see his team pull out all the stops to put the game to rest.
“I was really pleased with the game today … I think the team started both halves terrifically well and goals came from that … I thought we looked much more dangerous, much more dynamic going for it and created some real good chances today and had some great goals,” he said.
Going into halftime with a lead is never easy. The Hoyas struggled to maintain their momentum from the first half 45 minutes, allowing the Harvard Crimson to get back in the game. The Hoyas were determined to not let this happen again.
“The thought coming out of halftime was, can you kill the game? Can you demoralize the other team by stepping on them again?” said Wiese.
The Hoyas answered their coach’s challenge, scoring a mere 30 seconds after the break. Allen again was involved, taking the ball all the way to the endline before sending in a pass to Muyl, stationed in the middle of the box. Muyl sent the ball into the net to give the Hoyas a 4-0 lead.
On Monday, Allen was given the nod to the Big East weekly honor roll for his performance, the second such accolade of his career and the second for Georgetown this year. Allen totalled four points with his goal and two assists in Sunday’s contest, as well as eight total shots in the week.
While the Hoya offense certainly contributed to the win, the defense kept opportunities for Harvard at a bare minimum, only allowing seven shots on goal. The Hoyas controlled possession for the majority of both halves. Their only fault came in the form of a questionable foul called against the Blue and Gray that led to a penalty kick for the Badgers. Wisconsin junior midfielder Drew Connor was able to bury the shot in the back of the net to account for the final score of 4-1, ruining the shutout for the Hoyas.
Wiese attributed this aggressive defensive performance to a strong effort from the Georgetown seniors. Wiese singled out senior midfielder Tyler Rudy and teammate Martz for praise.
“I thought the key guys today in a lot of ways were Tyler Rudy and Austin Martz in the midfield. Those guys were absolute pests on both sides of the ball. Martz is as fit as he’s ever been … Tyler Rudy, I thought, really ran the midfield. And those are two seniors stepping up for you and that’s what you want at this point in the season,” said Wiese.
This leadership, coupled with strong performances from younger players, such as Muyl, will be absolutely key in Georgetown’s game plan for the rest of the season. The junior duo of Snoh and Allen help bridge the gap between the strong senior leadership and the talented underclassmen who will be looked at to contribute even more as the Hoyas’ competition heats up.
The Hoyas will face their biggest challenge yet when they face off with Virginia Commonwealth University this Thursday, September 11 at 4 p.m. on Shaw Field.
“It’s just ability to concentrate,” said Wiese. “VCU is going to be a very different kind of team. We just have to be able to handle the details we’ve talked about and hopefully we can handle the challenges that game will present because that’s not going to be an easy one. It’s as hard as any game that we have played all year.”
The Hoyas will cap off their challenging week with a matinee matchup against top 25 ranked UC-Irvine at noon on Sunday on Shaw Field.