Dan Gelfand/The Hoya Georgetown sophomore defender Jeff Curtin and Towson freshman defender Nigel Marples battle for ball control. Curtin won the battle and his team won the entire contest, 3-1.

The difference between Saturday’s men’s soccer game and Tuesday’s was like night and day – literally. Under the white lights of Belson Stadium at St. John’s, Georgetown fell flat against its sure-footed hosts, losing 3-0 in front of a boisterous weekend night crowd. On a relentlessly sunny and slightly breezy Tuesday, the Hoyas dismissed the over-matched Towson Tigers 3-1 with a strong and focused performance witnessed mostly by the team’s quietly supportive, mostly female fans up on North Kehoe Field.

Last year Towson provided an early challenge when the team traveled into Maryland only to lose 1-0 after two overtimes. This year, however, the team looked more composed as it shrugged off the weekend’s harsh defeat and showed up its local adversary.

“We had an offense today,” head coach Keith Tabatznik said.

Georgetown controlled the ball for most of the first half, volleying shots at the opposing goal. The team could not connect, however, until the 34th minute when senior midfielder Carl Skanderup hurled a shot toward the goal. The Towson goalkeeper deflected the shot, causing the ball to sputter around inside the box. In the ensuing scramble, sophomore midfielder Dan Pydo came upon the ball and stuck it in the goal.

“We were strong at times throughout the game, but we also had plenty of times when we couldn’t finish and we need to work on that,” Pydo said.

Towson would not sit idly, however, pressuring the Georgetown defense in the minutes following the first goal. The Hoyas’ focus appeared scattered, allowing for the Tigers to sneak in on offense. After the attackers passed the ball through the crease looking for a scoring chance, junior midfielder Peter Johnson pounced on an opportunity, sending the ball past Georgetown senior goalkeeper Tim Hogan, leveling the game at 1-1.

Despite the Hoyas’ stronger offensive in the first half, it looked as if the teams would head into halftime with the score at 1-1. Providence worked in Georgetown’s favor, as a penalty allowed junior defender Dan Gargan to take a free kick with 34 seconds left in the period. The shot from 20 yards out gracefully arced over the heads of the Towson wall of defenders, curving into the lower left corner of the goal to put the Hoyas ahead 2-1 by the end of the half.

Despite the lapse that led to the Tigers’ goal, the Hoyas looked dominant through the first 45 minutes. They outshot their guests 13-3, a solid rebound after only getting shots off during the entire game against the St. John’s Red Storm. Georgetown would continue to direct the game throughout the second half.

“Today we learned a lot from [the St. John’s] game and how we cannot play, and I think we definitely stepped up today, but it still needs to be more consistent,” Pydo said.

While in previous games this season the Hoyas have often had to play catch-up with their opponents, in the second half of the game the squad had to hold on to the lead. While the team continued to outmaneuver its challenger, Georgetown looked safe.

The Hoyas nearly came up with a goal when junior midfielder David Eder gained control of a loose ball and tapped it into the goal. The referee soon discounted the goal, calling the play offside. Towson would come up with a legitimate chance to score with 11 minutes left, but Georgetown was able to foil the attempt and kept its lead.

The put away goal came three minutes later with 7:45 remaining in the game. Junior forward Kaiser Chowdhry, returning to the field for the first time this season after sustaining an injury during the summer, was inside the box vying for the ball when an opposing player knocked him down, provoking a call from the referee. Sophomore defender Jeff Curtin was called in to take the penalty shot, which he successfully sent to the back of the net after the ball ricocheted off the inside of the right pole.

“We’re trying to work Chowdhry back in, and fortunately he was very sharp in his first game,” Tabatznik said.

Up 3-1, Georgetown cruised to victory, its first win since beating Howard University 4-0 on Aug. 29 during the D.C. College Cup. The team improves to 2-2-2 for the season. Towson, however, falls to 0-4-1 this year, dropping its fourth consecutive game. The goal Towson scored in the first half is the team’s first for the season.

The Hoyas racked up 24 shots during the game, including eight shots on goal, while the Tigers came up with only 10 shots, four of them on goal. Hogan, guarding the goal for the full 90 minutes, finished with three saves, bringing his total number of saves this season up to 27. The game also featured much less contact, as the teams combined for 12 less fouls than Saturday’s rough-and-tumble matchup with St. John’s.

“There was a pretty goal focus, and we didn’t get frustrated when we missed a couple things. The only lack of focus was on their goal; otherwise, it was a pretty complete game,” Tabatznik said.

Assuming that the field is in playable condition, Georgetown will face Big East foe Boston College on Sunday at the Newton Campus Soccer Field. The Eagles are 2-3-0 for the season, but remain one of the top teams in the conference, having reached the NCAA quarterfinals last year. Boston College won the meeting last year, 3-1 at Georgetown.

“This game was a step in the right direction,” Tabatznik said. “What we did today we’ll have to do faster and we’ll have to deal with different conditions on the field. BC is a good team and we played them extremely well last year, but we dropped the game.”

The Hoyas return to campus for a Wednesday matchup against Virginia Tech at 3 p.m. on North Kehoe Field.

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