On Thursday afternoon, the No. 7 Georgetown Hoyas (14-2, 8-2 Big East) defeated the Villanova Wildcats (11-7-1, 5-4-1 Big East) 1-0 on Shaw Field in a physical match-up decided in the 90th minute. With the win, the Hoyas move on to the Big East final.
Although the score did not show it, the Hoyas outplayed the Wildcats in the first half, denying all shots despite the loss of junior defender Daniel Wu to injury ten minutes into the half. Wu was named to the All-Big East second team this past weekend and has been an important player all season for the Hoyas. Freshman defender Kieran Sargeant, who had struggled to find a spot in the lineup in recent weeks, stepped into Wu’s spot on the backline and performed well, especially when facing Villanova’s physical frontline.
Villanova’s physicality would remain a theme throughout the match. The Wildcats picked up six yellow cards in the second half alone, with three occurring in the last ten minutes. When Villanova did get the ball, they struggled to maintain possession as the Hoyas were constantly on them. In fact, the aggressiveness of the Wildcats and the play of their goalie, All-Big East Second Team member Carson Williams, were the only things keeping them in the game.
The Hoyas continued to dominate in the second half, outshooting the Wildcats twelve to three. Georgetown’s passes and through-balls connected well, allowing the team many opportunities off of corners and penalty kicks, including a header that was just wide of the net from junior defender Will Sands off of a corner kick.
It looked as if things were heading toward overtime as the clock winded down and approached the final minutes of the game. In an effort to waste time and break the Hoyas’ momentum, Villanova took their time with throw-ins and passes. The Wildcats’ strategy ultimately was their downfall, as overtime never came.
With less than a minute left in regulation, freshman forward Joe Buck scored the first goal of his collegiate career off of an assist from sophomore midfielder Chris Hegardt. Hegardt sent a looping ball into the box that Buck tried to send into the mixer. When a Villanova defender blocked the pass back to Buck, he took a touch and sent a shot that deflected off a defender. There was nothing the redshirt senior Williams could have done to block the shot, as he was out of position. With only 38 seconds left in the game, Villanova was unable to mount a comeback and the Hoyas advanced to the Big East Tournament final for the sixth time in history, and the fifth season in a row.
On the day, the Hoyas took 19 shots to Villanova’s 3 and commanded time of possession. Georgetown senior keeper Giannis Nikopolidis was rarely threatened while registering the shutout.
The Big East final will be played on Sunday, Nov. 14 on Shaw Field between Georgetown and No. 18 Providence (10-3-4, 5-2-3), who defeated Butler 2-0 in the other semifinal game. It should be exciting to see how the Hoyas fare against Providence when well-rested and at home, after suffering their first and worst loss to the Friars in Rhode Island earlier this season. The game will kickoff at 12 p.m. and will be aired on FS2. For live stats and updates, see guhoyas.com, and check out @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for continued Georgetown sports coverage.