Men’s Soccer Charges Past Butler in Big East Opener

September 20, 2019

On the road for their Big East opener after climbing to No. 3 in the nation this week, the Georgetown men’s soccer team (6-0-0, 1-0-0 Big East) downed Butler (3-3-0, 0-1-0 Big East) 3-0 in Indianapolis on Friday night. Senior midfielder Jacob Montes took the team lead with his third and fourth goals of the season in the second half, bookending sophomore midfielder/forward Zach Riviere’s free kick curler in the 74th minute. The Hoyas were comfortably controlling the match throughout, taking 14 shots (with four on target), while the Bulldogs did not put any shots on target for freshman goalkeeper Tomas Romero.

The Hoyas were the more active side in a cagey first half that saw nine Butler fouls and a yellow card issued to Bulldogs sophomore midfielder Jack Haywood. With head coach Brian Wiese deploying a two-forward formation featuring Riviere and junior forward Derek Dodson up top, GU fired seven first-half shots, forcing three saves from Butler’s standout sophomore goalkeeper Gabriel Gjergji. 

The Hoya backline was trying to press the issue, with senior fullback Dylan Nealis and junior centerback Rio Hope-Gund often trying to wade forward to free up other teammates. Dodson and sophomore midfielder Sean Zawadzki were active, finding space for two shots apiece, but the Hoyas went into halftime still looking for the breakthrough. Late in the half, Zawadzki had to exit after colliding in the air with Haywood, who was subsequently issued the yellow.

90 seconds into the second half, however, the Blue & Gray found their goal. Nealis was fortunate to have an attempted nutmeg on the touchline squeak through, and the captain galloped past two more Bulldogs towards the edge of the box. Running into the Butler center backs, Nealis was able to hold up the ball while assistance came in the form of Montes, who had just scored off a wicked sharp-angle finish in the Hoyas’ last matchup against UConn. Nealis laid the ball off, and Montes finessed it into the bottom right corner, past the dive of Gjergji to break the deadlock.

After Montes’ opener, Georgetown had a spell of dominance as Butler tried to commit more players forward. The Hoyas earned three corners in short succession, while another Bulldog picked up a yellow card as the home side became more desperate. Then, standing over a free kick from about 30 yards, Riviere shocked Gjergji, who was expecting a cross, by bending the ball over the wall of defenders and into the right side of the net. It was a brilliant mixture of awareness and technical ability from the ascending star, who potted a hat trick in the Sept. 9 win over UCLA.

Haywood would find the woodwork for Butler in the 75th minute, before junior midfielder Paul Rothrock blazed the ball just over the bar two minutes later. In the 81st minute, good work from Montes to fend off defenders found Dodson in plenty of room to operate going forward. Dodson swung the ball to Rothrock on the left side of the box, who threaded through for Montes, who had beaten his mark, and the Oregon native calmly slotted past Gjergji to wrap up the result for Georgetown.

The Hoyas will look to maintain their perfect record on Tuesday in Kentucky, where they’ll take on Louisville (3-1-2, 1-01 ACC), who received the second-most votes outside of the Top 25 in this week’s poll. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM EST, with a stream available on Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for coverage and coverage of all fall sports at Georgetown.

Will Shanahan
is a senior in the McDonough School of Business, and former Sports Executive and Editor of The Voice. He spends his days plotting visits to downstairs Leo's when the omelet line will be short and trying to recall memories of his middling high school football career.

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