Dan Gelfand/The Hoya Sophomore defender Dan Pydo chases down Virginia Tech junior forward Ken Jonmaire. Pydo scored both goals in the Hoyas’ 2-1 overtime win over the Hokies.

With lots of pluck and a smidgen of luck, Georgetown’s men’s soccer team finished off Virginia Tech in overtime, 2-1, to earn the team’s first Big East victory and a confidence boost.

Sophomore midfielder Dan Pydo was the hero of the day, supplying both of the Hoyas’ goals. Senior goalkeeper Tim Hogan made nine saves during yet another hard-fought overtime contest for the battle-hardened Blue and Gray.

“I don’t think we do them any other way,” head coach Keith Tabatznik said. “It was a big battle today.”

The game started out at a slow pace on sun-baked North Kehoe Field on Wednesday afternoon, with the Hoyas recovering from a 1-0 setback at Boston College a few days before and the memories of a crushing 4-0 defeat by the Hokies late last season. Virginia Tech, however, came to campus off a strong start to their season, racking up six wins and a tie with only one loss, to national powerhouse Wake Forest, marring its record.

The game progressed throughout the first half without either team scoring a goal, although both teams had legitimate chances. The Hokies looked to have an edge, forcing Hogan to make six saves, but the Hoyas edged their guests 10-9 in the shots column by the end of the half.

“We mentioned the fact at halftime that we’re getting enough going in the attack, but we have to get more numbers in there,” Tabatznik said. “We were very close in the first half to getting a couple of goals there and we had people in the right place.

The second half featured more action, including a physical skirmish, that led the referee to issue a yellow card to sophomore defender Jeff Curtin. It was the second of three yellow cards issued throughout a game that often left Tabatznik hopping up and down on the sidelines yelling at the officials, although he would not comment negatively on them after the game.

“I thought they did a fair job. They were fair to everybody,” Tabatznik said.

Halfway through the second half, Virginia Tech came up with a series of near-misses that would haunt them later. One shot looked ready to pass the goal line, but narrowly struck the right side post before spinning back into the box and out of bounds, while in the 69th minute a shot hit one goal post than ricocheted off to the other goal post before deciding to pop back onto the field instead of heading into the net, again frustrating the Hokies.

Soon afterwards, Georgetown went on the attack, setting up a chance inside Virginia Tech’s box. After one shot was blocked, Pydo gained control of the ball and sent it back toward the net, only to have the shot deflected again. Pydo was quick to rebound his shot, and this time he aimed it toward the right corner, beyond the goalkeeper’s reach and into the back of the net with 13:41 left on the clock.

The Hoyas looked set to take the match until they loosened up a little bit toward the end, allowing the Hokies a chance to even the game. Virginia Tech, with less than three minutes remaining, managed to get the ball within 18 yards when a series of passes from freshman midfielder Brent Dillie to senior forward Bobby O’Brien and then to freshman forward Scott Spangler, who drove the ball past a lunging Hogan into the right corner of the goal.

“[The goal] was absolutely caused by a lapse in judgment. They had four guys against our two defenders and it definitely cost us,” Pydo said.

While Georgetown’s hopes were momentarily deflated, it was able to keep itself going for the remainder of regulation time and into overtime.

While the Hoyas only garnered four shots throughout the second 45 minute period to the Hokies 13, the team played well defensively to keep their adversaries at bay while taking advantage of their own opportunities on offense.

“They have big forwards who play pretty direct, but we did pretty well and the defenders definitely helped out a lot,” Hogan said.

In overtime, the teams continued their combat on the field. Despite some close shots and four different corner kicks, three for the Hoyas, neither team could get the golden goal. Georgetown finally broke through with 4:20 left on the clock when junior defender Dan Gargan passed to junior forward David Eder, who passed the ball across the box to Pydo, who fired the ball into the right corner to seal the victory. The team ran out onto the field to pile on top of Pydo in celebration while Virginia Tech skulked off the field.

“It’s tough to play these overtime games, especially when it’s warm out like this, but everyone kept their head,” Hogan said.

While Virginia Tech owned a statistical advantage, coming up with 24 shots compared to Georgetown’s 17 and 12 corner kicks over their hosts six, they could not capitalize on these chances. The Hoyas, however, seized the moment, and in effect, the game.

The win puts Georgetown at 3-3-2 for the season and 1-2-0 in the Big East, while Virginia Tech falls to 6-2-1 and 1-1-0 in the conference. Pydo moves up to a tie for first place on the season points total for the Hoyas with 10, four goals and two assists and is in second place for goals to freshman forward Ricky Schramm with five. Pydo has emerged in the past few games as a valuable contributor to the front line, but claims that higher powers were at work today.

“It was destiny, I guess,” Pydo said. “They got two well-placed balls to me and I finished them. I can’t really explain it.”

The Hoyas should hope destiny continues to favor them when they travel to South Bend, Ind. to take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, ranked No. 15 in the nation in the latest NSCAA/Adidas poll. Georgetown may not need it, though, having taken down their Big East foe twice last season in two of their best games.

“The two wins last year and this overtime game should give the team the confidence to go into South Bend; it’s a very hard place to play,” Tabatznik said. “If we can show the same commitment as last year, it should be another battle.

Hogan, who will face Big East Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year Chris Sawyer next Sunday, put out the challenge to the Irish.

“We’re an up-and-coming team, and you can’t take us lightly,” he said. “We want to win and we want those three points.”

The two teams face off at 2 p.m. next Sunday on Alumni Field at Notre Dame.

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