The streak started with a marquee win over a top-ranked opponent. It has included blowout victories and overtime scrapes. Now, the No. 7 Georgetown men’s soccer team (12-2-2, 8-0 Big East) is adding comeback wins to its resume. The Hoyas have now won 10 straight matches, defeating the Villanova Wildcats (8-8, 3-5 Big East) 2-1 on the road Saturday afternoon after falling behind in the first half.
“Very much like the Seton Hall game, the response [to conceding] was really good,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “This week was a great test for us, and we passed twice, in terms of … not panicking when you find yourself down a goal.”
The win moves Georgetown into sole possession of first place in the conference after No. 1 Creighton (16-1, 7-1 Big East) suffered its first loss of the season. The team also earned at least a share of the conference title to go along with its guaranteed first-round bye in the Big East tournament.
In order to keep their streak alive, the Hoyas had to make it past the Wildcats. Villanova needed a win or a tie in order to clinch a spot in the postseason, while Georgetown looked to take advantage of Creighton’s defeat, which had occurred just three days earlier.
Much as they have throughout the winning streak, the Hoyas controlled the game from the outset. The opening action contained all the hallmarks of a Georgetown soccer game: possession, time on the ball in the attacking half and limited opportunities for the opponent to slow the game down. The team looked in control, though Wiese still saw room for improvement.
“We had some really good moments and some moments where you are wanting a little more quality moving the ball. But the performance on the road was a good one,” Wiese said.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, senior defender and co-captain Josh Turnley was called for a foul inside the box as he tried to put himself between a Villanova forward and the ball near the Georgetown goal. Senior midfielder Sean Sheridan scored the resulting penalty kick in the 19th minute, putting the Wildcats ahead against the run of play.
“I thought a pretty unlucky, unfortunate penalty kick call against us. Up until that point, we had done a pretty good job managing the game, and suddenly you find yourself down 1-0,” Wiese said.
The Hoyas, however, went right back on the offensive as they looked to equalize. The opportunity came after just seven minutes, when senior defender and co-captain Keegan Rosenberry sent a cross to junior midfielder Bakie Goodman in front of the goal. Goodman brought the ball down onto his right foot and easily scored to tie the game at 1-1.
The game remained tied entering the half and picked up right where it left off in the second 45 minutes. Nevertheless, Georgetown had to wait until the 74th minute before it finally took the lead.
The break came when senior forward Brandon Allen and sophomore midfielder Arun Basuljevic combined for a give-and-go that put Allen behind the defense. Allen, who now has 47 goals in his career, put away the opportunity and gave the Hoyas a lead they would not relinquish. The goal was Allen’s ninth this season and his fourth in the last three matches.
“I think he is looking more and more dangerous. I think he is settling into enjoying his senior year, letting the goals come if they come, and usually when you do that they come,” Wiese said.
Georgetown will not have long to enjoy the victory before one of its most important matches of the year. It will take on Creighton at home Thursday afternoon with the conference title and home-field advantage in the conference tournament on the line. The Bluejays can only win home-field advantage and a share of the conference title with a win over the Hoyas.
This meeting has been looming ever larger as both teams marched their way through conference play. With both teams ranked in the top 10 throughout the season, and with the game scheduled on the final day of the regular season, Nov. 5 stood out on the schedule from day one. Wiese addressed the matchup and its potential implications in an interview in August.
“[Creighton] is absolutely loaded with talent. They are hard as hell to play against,” Wiese said. “We know that if we slip up, they easily might not all year. They’re that good.”
As it turned out, Creighton was the team that slipped up in conference play. Now the Hoyas will look to prove that one Bluejays’ mistake is all they need to take the Big East title.
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