The No. 6 Georgetown men’s soccer team (3-0-0, Big East) edged the UC Irvine Anteaters (0-2-1, Big West) by a final score of 1-0 on Friday night, thanks to a late goal by junior midfielder Jacob Montes. The game provided a winning start to the Hoyas’ two-game West Coast road trip which will conclude at UCLA (2-1, Pac-12) on Monday.
The game was knotted up for 85 minutes before Montes’ heroics. With the Hoyas playing a man-up due to a second yellow to junior midfielder Eder Oliva in the 78th minute, junior defender Sean O’Hearn stood over a free kick in the offensive zone. His pass found the foot of Montes who slotted his first goal of the season past Irvine graduate student goalkeeper Ford Parker with a 25-yard shot inside the far post to provide the winner for Georgetown.
Despite a subpar record, the Anteaters are a tough matchup. Last season, UC Irvine finished first in the Big West Conference with a 11-6-4 overall record. The squad made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament before falling to Stanford 2-0. Expectations were high coming into the season, and Irvine was ranked 25th in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll. Head coach Yossi Raz did not rest on a successful season and scheduled 3 top 10 opponents in their first four games, falling to No. 8 St. Mary’s before facing the Hoyas (with an upcoming matchup against No. 4 Stanford).
The first half certainly bore this out. The first 45 minutes were a tight, physical affair. Neither team could get much going on the offensive end, and the two teams combined for just seven shots on goal, with only two of those being viable chances. Meanwhile, the two combined for 16 fouls going into the halftime break.
The second half began providing more of the same, before a big 58th minute save by sophomore goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis kept things scoreless. The game continued uneventfully until UC Irvine’s Oliva picked up his second yellow at 77:58. Georgetown then pressed the attack and was rewarded with Montes’s score.
Up next is a trip 50 miles up the road to face UCLA on Monday. After a well-fought loss to No. 2 Indiana (3-0, Big Ten), the Bruins stunned No. 3 Maryland (1-2, Big Ten) on Friday thanks to a hat trick from junior forward Milan Iloski. Nikopolidis and the Hoyas defense will seek to shut down Iloski and the Bruins front line on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. Live stats will available at guhoyas.com. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for updates and continued coverage of all Georgetown sports.