KARLA LEYJA/THE HOYA Senior forward Brandon Allen scored his 10th goal of the season on Thursday to lift the Hoyas over Xavier in a 1-0 Big East semifinals.
Senior forward Brandon Allen scored his 10th goal of the season on Thursday to lift the Hoyas over Xavier in a 1-0 Big East semifinals.

An early strike lifted the No. 3 Georgetown men’s soccer team (14-2-2, 9-0-0 Big East) over Xavier (12-6-1, 5-4-1 Big East) Thursday afternoon and secured the Hoyas a place in the championship match of the Big East tournament.

The only goal of the game came off a counterattack by the Hoyas. After an incredible save by freshman goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski, the ball was played down the left side of the field. Junior midfielder Bakie Goodman then crossed the ball into the 18-yard box. The perfect cross found senior forward Brandon Allen, who one-touched the ball into the back of the net. The goal was Allen’s 10th of the season.

“It came across the box from Bakie Goodman, he played a great ball to my feet, first time I just found the back post, opened up my hips,” Allen said.

Thursday’s win preserved Georgetown’s winning streak, which now stands at 12 games. The Hoyas have not lost since Sept. 4 — a run that has spanned 15 matches — and now hold the program record for longest unbeaten streak. That record was previously held by the 2012 team that reached the NCAA tournament finals.

Despite constant pressure from Xavier, which had 10 total shots, the Hoyas’ defense and clutch playing by Marcinkowski held the Musketeers scoreless for 90 minutes.

“J.T. was good when he needed to be good. I think he handled the space behind the back four pretty well, he came for some balls that he needed to come for. He made a very good save the one time they got behind us, which is very important,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.

Offensively, the Hoyas did an impressive job of switching the field and using all of the area available to them, while the Musketeers’ attack was largely launched up the middle of the field.

“Finding the gaps and exploiting the area in behind balls … helped us a lot,” Allen said. “When they played into the forwards’ feet that created a lot of chances for us going forward.”

The Hoyas’ first-place finish in regular-season conference play earned them a bye in the quarterfinals and home-field advantage throughout the Big East tournament.

“We have the advantage of we don’t have to travel; we’d have to get on a plane tomorrow if we were going to Creighton. We’d be getting on a plane tomorrow and flying to Omaha and that’s hard. It’s just tough on your legs,” Wiese said. “I think if we don’t touch a ball between now and Sunday, they’ll be ready to go.”

Along with the excitement of the semifinal win, the Hoyas are also celebrating numerous Big East awards. Four of Georgetown’s players were named to the All-Big East First Team, four more were named to the All-Big East Second Team and one was named to the Big East All-Freshman Team. Additionally, junior defender Joshua Yaro was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Marcinkowski was named Freshman of the Year and Wiese and his staff were named Coaching Staff of the Year.
The Hoyas hope that these players can help lead them to a Big East title Sunday.

“It’s really just mentally getting them in a good place and physically able to do the running they need to win a final,” Wiese said.

Georgetown has never won a Big East championship despite having played in 23 tournaments. This year, the team hopes that the 24th time will be the charm.

“To win the Big East tournament for Georgetown, it would be first in history, so it would be great,” Allen said.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Sunday at Shaw Field.


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