Whether it was quality opponents, the lack of an elite scorer, or just plain bad luck, the Hoyas have had problems putting the ball in the back of the net this season.

It was no different in Georgetown’s first-round exit from the Big East tournament Wednesday evening in Tampa, Fl. The Hoyas (7-11-1, Big East 5-5-1) had several quality chances but could not finish as they lost 4-0 to No. 22 South Florida (12-4-1, Big East 6-4-1) in a match that was much closer than the final count indicates.

The Bulls, who scored an ugly goal on a scramble in front of the net late in the first half, added another in the 58th minute, and then scored twice in the final four minutes as the Hoyas were pushing forward. Georgetown, which netted just 14 goals in 19 games, possessed the ball well and created scoring chances, but failed to score for the 10th time this season.

“It wasn’t a 4-0 game. I think it wasn’t even a 2-0 game,” Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “But in the end, South Florida played well and it just wasn’t our day.”

The loss ends the season for the Hoyas, while the Bulls will take on Connecticut, the No. 1 seed in the tournament and the top-ranked team in the nation, in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. USF is also in good position to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.

Georgetown, the fifth seed out of the Blue Division, withstood a strong opening from the fourth-seeded USF to begin the game. About 20 minutes into the match, the Hoyas took control of the possession and set the pace of the game. Freshman defender Mostafa Ebrahimnejad just missed a lunging attempt in front of the goal off a free kick from sophomore midfielder Scott Larrabee, taken just inside the right corner flag, a chance that would have put the Hoyas on top.

But in the 39th minute, the Bulls capitalized on a fortunate bounce in front of the Hoyas’ net. As a USF cross hung in the air, Georgetown freshman goalkeeper Matthew Brutto, freshman defender Alex Verdi and two USF forwards converged on it in the box. The players collided, and the ball bounced into the net. A USF press release credits freshman midfielder Bernardo Anor with the goal, a Georgetown release gives the goal to freshman forward Tony Taylor, but Wiese saw it differently. According to the coach, Brutto knocked the ball out, but it deflected off of Verdi and bounced back into the Hoyas’ goal.

“That was an incredible sequence of bad luck to lose that goal the way we lost it,” Wiese said. “I was very comfortable with where we were until then.”

As ugly as the Bulls’ first goal was, their second goal was just that pretty. USF hit four one-touch passes around Georgetown defenders, and junior midfielder Kevon Neaves hit a rocket from the middle of the box that Brutto had no chance of saving.

“The second goal is one you tip your hat to,” Wiese said. “It’s one of the better goals I’ve seen all year in terms of buildup and finishing.”

Down 2-0, the Hoyas had chances but could not finish. Freshman forward Chandler Diggs hit the post, and the ball bounced directly to the Bulls’ freshman goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who was on the ground and would have had no chance at saving a rebound shot. Senior forward Mike Glaccum, who was hampered by an ankle injury for part of the season and did not register a goal or assist, had a chip shot from the left side of the box that Restrepo just got his outstretched arms to.

With Georgetown pressing in the final minutes, USF scored two breakaway goals within the last four minutes of play. Senior midfielder Simon Schoendorf recorded three assists on the game, and Restrepo notched his seventh shutout of the year. The loss was the first time all season that the Hoyas had given up more than two goals since a 3-0 loss to UNC Greensboro in the season-opener.

Wiese said he will give his team a week off before they begin their offseason weight-training program. The Hoyas will lose three seniors, but they have 10 of 11 starters from the tournament game returning. With all four members of a stout defense and 100 percent of their scoring returning, optimism for next season is abound.

“We have a lot of work and it’s a long way away,” Wiese said. “But you can’t help but be excited with the talent we have returning.”

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