The No. 20 Georgetown men’s soccer team (3-1-1, Big East) defeated Yale (1-2, Ivy League), 3-1, on a wet Sunday afternoon. Playing at the George Washington Mount Vernon athletic complex due to inclement conditions at Shaw Field, the two teams battled both the elements and each other for a physical 90 minutes. The game got off to an exciting start with each side scoring in the opening 3:04. The remaining 87 minutes were competitive, but it was the Hoyas who sealed the win with two second half goals from their attacking duo of sophomore forward Derek Dodson and junior forward Achara.
The Hoyas applied steady pressure to Yale’s backline from the opening whistle and were rewarded early on. Georgetown made an aggressive push forward after a second minute foul on Yale. After the ball was delivered inside, the Bulldogs could not get a smooth clearance and it found its way to senior midfielder Kyle Zajec at the top of the box. The Georgetown captain took a touch and then sent a rocket of a shot passed the outstretched arms of sophomore goalkeeper Tom Wallenstein for the opening goal and his first of the season.
After the game reset, the Bulldogs came right back down the other way looking to equalize. The ball came to senior midfielder Nicky Downs on the left side. He did not hesitate, launching a shot to the far post, giving Georgetown senior goalkeeper Maurice Coyle no chance and the score was 1-1 just three minutes in. Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese expected Yale to put up a tough fight.
“Yale is a good team,” he said. “They’re hard and they obviously responded really well to our goal.”
The game slowed down after the early scoring frenzy, but with a slippery surface, neither team was able to hold the ball for very long and take firm control. Despite the back and forth action, it was the Hoyas with a significant lead in shots and corner kicks in the first half. In the 20th minute a Zajec corner kick found its way to sophomore midfielder Jacob Montes who shot just over the crossbar. In the 33rd minute, another Zajec corner kick led to a scramble in the box. This time, it was senior midfielder Ethan Lochner making a solid connection, but the ball drifted wide right. On the other side of the field, Coyle was barely tested throughout the remainder of the first half and the teams went into the break knotted at one.
The second half began with more of the same, until a lofted through ball from Lochner in the middle of the field sent Dodson one-on-one with the keeper. Dodson opted for the chip shot and Wallenstein could not react in time as the ball nestled into back of the net. After the Hoyas went ahead in the 52nd minute, the game’s physicality only escalated. Eventually the referee was forced to calm things down with yellow cards for the Bulldogs in the 55th and 60th minutes. Yale continued to press men forward, but Georgetown’s elite back line held firm, allowing just two shots from the Bulldogs for the remainder of the game.
In the 82nd minute, the Hoyas sealed the win with some impressive play from Montes and Achara. After a perfectly executed give and go between the teammates, Achara sprinted between two Yale defenders and gained possession just inside the box. While holding off the two Bulldogs, he was able to slot the ball just to the right of the goalkeeper and Georgetown began to celebrate a certain victory. Coach Wiese was pleased to see contributions coming from a range of Hoyas on Sunday.
“Not playing in ideal conditions, and playing on the turf, I thought the guys handled it superbly,” he said. “It’s good to see goals coming from different sources, there was a lot of positive to take out of today.”
Next up for the Hoyas is the first Big East matchup of the season against Xavier (2-0-2, Big East) next Saturday at Shaw Field. Kick off is scheduled for 1:00 PM ET. For updates on men’s soccer, as well as the other fall sports at Georgetown, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.