Stojanovic and Nikopolidis earn tournament honors as Hoyas claim Big East title

November 14, 2021

Georgetown players celebrate after winning the Big East Soccer men’s championship between Georgetown and Providence in Washington, DC on November 14th, 2021. Photo by Nathan Posner

The No. 7 Georgetown men’s soccer team (16-2, 8-2 Big East) conquered the Big East Tournament and retook the title after a 2-1 overtime win against the Providence Friars (10-4-4, 5-2-3 Big East). The Hoyas were led by junior forward Stefan Stojanovic who scored both of Georgetown’s goals, including the winner in the 95th minute.

Stojanovic’s first goal came in the 51st minute off of a penalty kick, while his second was scored after a magnificent assist by junior midfielder Dante Polvara five minutes into the first overtime period. The Friars had tied the game with five minutes left after a long throw-in by senior midfielder Gil Santos found sophomore forward Brendan McSorley at the far post and his volley to the bottom left was unstoppable for the Hoyas senior goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis.

Georgetown started the game firing on all cylinders after a shaky performance on Thursday that saw them overcome Villanova (11-7-1, 5-4-1 Big East) in the 89th minute with a goal by freshman midfielder Joe Buck. Right after kick off, Georgetown’s freshman defender Kieran Sargeant, starting in place of an injured junior defender Daniel Wu, threaded a beautiful ball down the left side of the pitch to junior defender Will Sands, who then found Stojanovic at the front post, but his finish was wide right. The game then became a more cagey affair, with both teams holding possession for long stints and trying to avoid any mistakes at the back.

The next big chance came for the Hoyas as a corner kick taken by sophomore forward Marlon Tabora in the 27th minute that ended up in Sargeant’s feet at the back post. Alas, his left-footed shot was cleared off the line by Providence’s graduate defender Miguel Candela. Only three minutes later, a beautiful cross to the far post by junior defender Aidan Rocha was headed back across the box by sophomore midfielder Chris Hegardt, but Sands’ shot was easily saved by sophomore goalkeeper Lukas Burns. The rest of the first half was mostly dominated by the Hoyas, but Providence’s solid defending did not let Georgetown enjoy any more scoring opportunities.

The second half, however, was a different story. In the 51st minute, a great collective play by the Hoyas left Stojanovic one-on-one with Burns. Even though Stojanovic’s shot was saved by the goalkeeper, sophomore midfielder Kyle Linhares was fouled inside the box by Friars’ senior defender Ramzi Qawasmy when he was looking for the rebound, forcing the referee to point to the penalty spot.

Stojanovic stepped up to take it, despite Polvara being the usual taker during the season. The responsibility was given to the junior transfer after Polvara began to waver in the position toward the end of the regular season. The penalty was perfectly slotted into the bottom right corner and Burns had no opportunity to save it.

Ten minutes later, Providence had the perfect opportunity to equalize off of a penalty kick after a miscommunication between Rocha and Nikopolidis in the back forced the Greek goalkeeper to commit the foul inside the box to avoid the goal. The penalty was taken by senior midfielder Paulo Lima, but his intentions were perfectly read by Nikopolidis who made the save at the bottom right corner and kept the Hoyas in the lead.

The penalty kick opportunity shifted the momentum of the game as the Friars looked to tie it up and began to dominate possession and enjoy great scoring chances.

In the 84th minute, a throw-in from the left hand side made its way into the box and, following a couple of rebounds, the ball fell to McSorley in the right side of the box and his right-footed volley perfectly found the bottom left corner of Nikopolidis’ net. McSorley’s goal sent the final to overtime, as both teams were wary of losing the game in the last minutes.

In overtime, Georgetown’s superiority began to show, as Dante Polvara threaded through an inch-perfect ball from the right side of the field, finding Stojanovic inside the box, who, with a flawless touch, set himself up excellently to slot the ball into the back of the net with his right foot. The goal that proclaimed the Georgetown Hoyas as the Big East Tournament Champions, a great follow-up after winning the regular season title.

After logging the brace, Stojanovic was named the Offensive Player of the Tournament, while Nikopolidis’s sterling play earned him Defensive Player of the Tournament honors. The two were joined on the All-Tournament team by senior midfielder Sean Zawadzki and Buck, the semifinal hero.

The next stop for the Hoyas will be the NCAA Tournament, where they will look to regain momentum after an irregular end to the season. The selection ceremony will take place on Monday November 15th at 1:00 p.m. EST, when Georgetown will find out its path to Cary, NC. Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter for more updates and coverage of all fall sports at Georgetown.

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