Some wins come ugly. That was the case this past Sunday as the Georgetown men’s soccer team (3-1-3, 0-0 Big East) faced off against William and Mary (2-4-0, 0-0 Colonial Athletic Conference) on a scorching afternoon at Shaw Field. The Hoyas had trouble finding a rhythm, yet managed to grind out a 1-0 victory.
“It wasn’t a great advertisement for college soccer today. To be honest, I don’t think we played the most pretty game to watch. But, you know, you’re not going to go through your season and have every game go easy and great and look beautiful,” said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese.
The oppressive heat slowed the game down as players dug deep for stamina, with several players forced to leave the field. The 22nd minute saw senior midfielder and captain Tyler Rudy collapse of dehydration on the field. Following a few nerve-wracking minutes, he was helped off the field for treatment. Later, he would return to watch his teammates finish the game, but wouldn’t get back on the field.
“You saw [junior midfielder] Bakie [Goodman] had to come out, he’s normally a 90-minute player. Rudy, obviously, had to come off. [Sophomore forward] Alex [Muyl] needed a little bit of a break. But we feel comfortable with the guys we put on that they’re going to do the job,” Wiese said.
While this game didn’t highlight the usual aesthetic appeal of a normal Georgetown soccer match, the game did have its highlights. The lone goal came from freshman midfielder Arun Basuljevic, who opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a strike from several yards outside the box. The play preceding the goal looked harmless as the Hoyas possessed the ball, yet failed to threaten the Tribe’s goal. Basuljevic took his chance after junior defender Josh Turnley curved a high cross into the top of the penalty area from his position on the left wing. Muyl sent the ball into the box, and after a couple of ricochets, the ball landed at Basuljevic’s feet. He made no mistake with one of his first touches of the game, driving the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
“I was just trying to make an impact as a sub. I got kind of a lucky bounce at the top of the box, and I just hit it, and it ended up going in,” Basuljevic said.
The goal seemed to come from nowhere, and afterwards the play returned to its previously glacial pace for much of the remainder of the game. The Hoyas kept most of the possession, yet every through ball or cross that seemed like an oppotunity for either team to add to the scoring travelled just wide of its mark.
“They were disciplined and kept a pretty compact field, and there wasn’t a huge amount of space to play. And on the flip side of it, we were really not sharp. We were missing passes, the weight of stuff was off,” Wiese said.
The second half brought about a handful of chances for both teams, with the Hoyas looking the more dangerous side. In the 78th minute, junior defender and captain Keegan Rosenberry cut inside from the right wing and fired a low shot to the near post. The Tribe’s goalie recovered just in time to deny the chance. Minutes later, Alex Muyl stumbled and fell to the ground after sidestepping the William and Mary goalie on a breakaway, but Georgetown’s shouts for a penalty went unanswered.
“They [William and Mary] made it tough for us. They really worked hard. They ran a lot and that combined with the weather made it tough for us,” Goodman said.
The Georgetown defense had a solid game, keeping William and Mary’s offense largely contained for the majority of the game. Except for a few scattered attacking plays from his opponents, senior goalkeeper Tomas Gomez had little work to do on the day. His best moments came late in the first half when a forward for the Tribe received a through ball along the left side of the field and attempted to curl a poorly angled shot into the far post. Gomez was ready, and deflected the ball out of bounds. He then leaped to grab the ensuing corner kick from the air and end one of the only uncertain stretches of the game for the Hoyas.
The game’s best save came from junior midfielder David Witkoff, who came on to replace Tyler Rudy. In the 88th minute, a William and Mary forward managed to step around Gomez on a breakaway, only to see his attempt bounce back off of Witkoff’s chest, who then cleared the ball, ending the danger on the Hoyas’ half of the field.
The team has built up some momentum as the schedule now turns to Big East play, when the results start to determine the pecking order within the conference. The Hoyas will have a short break to rest before travelling to face the Butler Bulldogs (3-2-3, 0-0 BE) this Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re confident. We’ve got two wins in a row, which we haven’t done too many times this season. But heading into the conference, we’re looking forward to it. We won it last year and we’re trying to repeat,” Goodman said.