The most remarkable regular season in recent memory saved the greatest challenge for last. At home, on Senior Day and on the final day of the regular season, No. 6 Georgetown (13-2-2, 9-0 Big East) defeated No. 2 Creighton (15-2, 7-2 Big East) 2-1, with senior defender and co-captain Cole Seiler winning the game with a header in the 82nd minute. The victory finished a perfect 9-0 run through the Big East and clinched the regular season conference title.
Before the season had even began, Thursday’s matchup between the Hoyas and the Bluejays was slated to be crucial. Georgetown and Creighton were exactly tied at the top in a Big East coaches’ poll, splitting the 10 first-place votes equally.
Then, Georgetown dropped two of its first three games and fell out of the national rankings. The Hoyas reached a low point when they lost at home against Akron on Sept. 4. Just three days later, they turned their season around against then-No. 1 UCLA, winning 3-1. After that game, a number of players — Head Coach Brian Wiese named sophomore midfielder Arun Basuljevic as the ringleader — declared that the team would not lose again. They have held true to their word.
“You can’t do it too much better than 9-0,” Rosenberry said. “For us as seniors, it has been quite the experience and a special something to end on.”
Since starting the season 0-2-1, Georgetown has posted an undefeated 13-0-1 record. The team is currently in the midst of an 11-game winning streak that includes the entirety of the Big East regular season.
“This group has gotten into a really good rhythm. They are in a really good groove. They are finding different ways to score goals from different sources,” Wiese said.
Creighton, meanwhile, was the last team without a loss in Division I up until the end of October. After dropping their first game of the season to Xavier (11-4-1, 5-2-1 Big East) last week, the Bluejays needed a win to overtake the Hoyas and win the conference title.
As the match began, however, Georgetown seemed more likely to take the lead, pinning Creighton back into its own half and creating several close chances. The attacking mindset paid off in the 17th minute, when senior forward Brandon Allen’s touch put junior forward Brett Campbell through on goal. Campbell finished the chance, scoring his fourth goal of the season.
The goal did not change the game in the remainder of the first half, with neither Georgetown nor Creighton shifting from their game plans. The Hoyas nearly doubled the lead in the 32nd minute, when senior midfielder David Witkoff saw his long-range effort on an empty net roll just right of the goal.
“Witkoff had a terrific performance today,” Wiese said. “He came on and nearly scored within 10 seconds.”
As the second half progressed, it became clear that the Hoyas could have used that second goal. The half began relatively even, but the Bluejays took control for a significant portion of the match. Then senior defender and co-captain Josh Turnley had to be subbed off for a large portion of the half after suffering an injury.
That run of play culminated in the equalizing goal in the 70th minute, when star senior forward Fabian Herbers made Georgetown pay for its failure to clear the ball from a dangerous area.
Fortunately for Wiese and his team, the Hoyas have battled back after conceding in their last two matches. Thursday was not different. In the 83rd minute, Seiler, in his final regular season appearance at Georgetown, rose to meet a free kick and headed it just inside the far post, putting his team ahead 2-1. Fellow senior defender and co-captain Keegan Rosenberry earned the assist.
“It’s perfect [to have a senior score the game-winner]. It’s perfect,” Wiese said. “We give Cole Seiler a lot of stick because he is up there all the time for these set pieces and he never seems to score. He was probably as shocked as anybody that it actually went in.”
All six seniors played Thursday, with Witkoff and midfielder Melvin Snoh entering the match as substitutes. This group of players has the most wins of any in program history and has been at the heart of Georgetown soccer’s most successful four-year run.
“Every great team usually is driven by a great group of seniors. That has been true for this group,” Wiese said.
Georgetown finished the season with an undefeated conference record, becoming the first team since Louisville in 2009 to win every regular season conference game. For the seniors, the feat was an unbeatable way to end their last regular season.
“Looking back on it, it is quite the accomplishment. It is definitely something that I think not only our senior team but the team in general will be remembered for,” Seiler said.
Along with the trophy comes the number one overall seed in the conference tournament. Georgetown will receive a first-round bye and an automatic spot in the semifinals of the tournament.
Georgetown soccer has never won a conference tournament, with the team falling in the semifinals the last two seasons. For Rosenberry, the perfect regular season means high expectations for the Hoyas in this year’s tournament.
“I think after a regular season like that, we would be disappointed not to win it,” Rosenberry said. “That being said, nothing is guaranteed going into the semifinal and final.”
Seiler put it much more simply.
“It’s not over yet,” he said.
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