Eleven seconds before the game would have ended in a draw, the Georgetown men’s soccer team (4-8-1, 1-3-1 Big East) netted the golden goal to defeat the Princeton University Tigers (6-6-1, 0-2-1 Ivy League) 4-3 in double overtime.
In the first half, Princeton took command, scoring two goals in the first 13 minutes of regulation. The first came off a corner kick that Princeton’s senior defender Mark Romanowski connected with on a header. The second goal was also off a header, this time executed by senior midfielder Greg Seifert off a free kick to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
“The two goals were extremely disappointing but, to concede a pair of goals, [it was good] we did it right away. It settled [Princeton] into a sense of false security and all it takes is one goal and the whole thing shifts,” Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese said.
The Hoyas did in fact cut into the deficit, scoring their own two goals in four minutes to tie the game at 2-2. In the 32nd minute, Georgetown sophomore defender Peter Schropp took an assist from junior midfielder Christopher Lema and headed the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.
Then, in the 36th minute, senior midfielder Jon Azzinnari executed on a great strike from over 30 yards that made it into the net off the post.
“[Azzinnari], as a senior, was making some great plays today,” Wiese said. “He was fantastic.”
In the remaining time in the first half, each team missed a header chance and the score stayed tied until halftime.
At the start of the second half, Princeton gave itself chances to score but strong plays by the Hoya defense and senior goalkeeper Mitchell Auer held off the Tigers’ attacks. In the 54th minute, the Hoyas were awarded a free kick and Lema’s lefty boot ripped past the Princeton goalkeeper into the back of the net to make the score 3-2.
After Lema’s goal, Princeton controlled a lot of possession, giving the team many legitimate chances deep in the Georgetown zone. Auer’s activeness in net helped defray some of the Tigers’ chances, but ultimately, Princeton’s consistent penetration led to the game-tying score by junior defender James Reiner in the 81st minute.
The score eventually stayed 3-3 going into a final 10 minutes of game time. In the 109th minute, Princeton’s junior midfielder Harry Heffernan had a clear look at the net but his shot was barely deflected by Auer in a truly game-saving effort.
“I’ve been playing the game a long time and you want those moments, less than a minute left, [to make] that save,” Auer said.
Immediately after, Georgetown had a breakaway chance that was stopped when the referee issued a yellow card to Reiner. Princeton got the chance to get its players in position, but a ball by Lema allowed Azzinnari to gain control and rip the game-winner to the left side of the net.
“[Lema] put in a great ball at the end. My eyes lit up when it came out to me. I knew if I just finished it home, the game would be over and I could take my midterm,” Azzinnari said.
Next, Georgetown hosts the St. John’s Red Storm (6-3-4, 2-1-2 Big East) this Saturday. St. John’s did not play a mid-week game so it will come into the matchup well-rested for Georgetown. Wiese commented on the team’s stamina after 109 minutes of play.
“In terms of winning a game, it’s about the worst-case scenario as you can get. [The players] getting their legs back definitely is priority one,” Wiese said.
Georgetown will need to shore up some holes against a St. John’s team that is adept on the attack.
“[Both teams have] big, tough guys who are really good on set-pieces and make life hard for you … this is going to be, as [I] said to the guys, a grisly bear of an opponent. For us, we just need to get in the right mentality for that type of game,” Wiese said.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. this Saturday at Shaw Field.
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