On a hot and humid weekend in Washington, D.C., Georgetown men’s soccer team (2-1-1, 0-0 Big East) hosted their first two home games of the 2018 season at Shaw Field, defeating Radford University and drawing against defending national champions Stanford.

CAROLINE PAPPAS / THE HOYA
Senior Midfielder/Forward Ethan recorded four shots against Stanford, scoring one goal.

In the first match on Aug. 31, the Hoyas welcomed the Radford Highlanders (0-3-0, 0-0 Big South) to the Hilltop. Coming off a loss in double overtime to Coastal Carolina in its previous game Aug. 26, Georgetown was eager to get off to a quick start.

In the 14th minute, sophomore forward/midfielder Derek Dodson gave the Hoyas the spark they needed as he found the back of the net off a ball from senior midfielder Kyle Zajec.

Zajec drew out both the Highlanders’ defenders and goalkeeper, then sent a ball across the box to Dodson, who calmly sent the ball into the open net to give the Hoyas a 1-0 lead.

“[The key was] playing simple. Just taking what they were giving us and moving the ball with good tempo,” Dodson said.

The Hoyas continued to pepper the Highlanders’ net with shots in the second half, but were thwarted by the goalkeeper and a bicycle goal line clearance from the Highlander defense.

“One of the advantages of getting the lead was that Radford started taking more chances and their line was pretty high and we got behind them a bunch from that,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.

Georgetown nabbed a second goal in Dodson’s second score of the game. Junior midfielder/defender Dylan Nealis played a through ball to junior forward Achara into space down the right wing, who sent it to Dodson making a run into the middle of the box.

After a goalmouth scramble, Dodson gathered the ball, turned and fired a shot on net past the outstretched hands of the goalkeeper.

This goal marked the third time Dodson has found the net in the Hoyas’ past two games.

“[Starting the season well] is good for the mentality. Scoring goals is kind of a mental thing and just being able to tuck stuff away. Hopefully, I can just keep that going,” Dodson said.

The Hoyas closed out the game, earning a 2-0 victory. Freshman goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis recorded his second shutout of the season with four saves.

“This was a huge game. You never really want to have back-to-back losses and that’s what you’re staring at,” Wiese said.

Following the victory over Radford, Georgetown hosted the three-time defending champion Stanford (0-0-3, 0-0 Pac-12) in front of a raucous crowd at Shaw Field.

The fans were out in full force on Labor Day and provided a fantastic atmosphere throughout the game.

“You have to understand what Stanford is. You’re not playing the team, you’re playing the program. You’re playing against a group that has a huge identity. What they do, how they do it,” Wiese said.

The first 20 minutes of the first half provided exciting back-and-forth soccer as both teams traded chances.

“We knew they were going to press us early but we had confidence in our fitness and our play and knew we would wear them down eventually. So, as the half wore on, they got tired and we started to control the game,” Zajec said.

The Hoyas were unable to convert any of their opportunities and the two teams entered halftime deadlocked.

Midway through the second half, Georgetown grabbed the lead through a goal by senior midfielder/forward Ethan Lochner, assisted by freshman midfielder Sean Zawadzki.

“[Junior forward] Riley [Strassner] played it to [Zawadzki], he was a little deeper than us so I knew someone needed to make the forward run. So, I made it,” Lochner said. “[Zawadzki] was incredibly composed and found me with the right exact spot and I was just trying to hold off the defenders because it was just coming and I got lucky with the finish.”

In the final ten minutes of the second half, the tone of the game changed as the Cardinals began to play on the front foot and pressed for an equalizer.

After multiple decent chances, senior midfielder Amir Bashti found the back of the net for Stanford. The Cardinals capitalized on a poor clearance by Nealis as sophomore midfielder/defender Logan Panchot intercepted the ball and quickly passed it up to Bashti, who clinically equalized.

“It’s just a chain reaction and an opportunistic goal by Stanford which is how they’ve made a living in some moments but credit to them,” Wiese said. “They find a way to get a goal when maybe they’re not playing their best soccer.”

Following Stanford’s goal, Georgetown was unable to answer and thus the two teams went to overtime tied 1-1.

With the heat certainly playing a factor, both teams relied heavily on their depth as coaches brought on fresher legs to try to turn the tide.

“It could have been pretty easy for us to fold over and give up another goal but I’m proud of the guys. They dug their heels in and played a good overtime,” Zajec said.

The best chance of both overtime periods came as Achara found himself in on net in the 96th minute. Much to the dismay of the home supporters, Stanford’s goalkeeper made a fantastic fingertip save and forced Achara’s effort just wide.

The match ended as a 1-1 draw after 110 hard fought minutes.

“It’s frustrating when you play well enough to win and when you have two chances cleared off the line. You’re hitting posts. You have some unbelievable chances and their goalie is making some good saves,” Wiese said.

Overall, the Hoyas outshot the Cardinals 29-16. Lochner’s goal was also the first goal that was conceded by Stanford in their previous nine games.

Following its draw with Stanford, Georgetown will continue their non-conference schedule as they host the Yale Bulldogs on Sept. 9. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Shaw Field.

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