CHRIS BIEN/THE HOYA Freshman midfielder Tom Skelly (21) recorded the first two points of his college career Saturday, providing the assist on both goals in Georgetown’s 2-0 win over Villanova.
CHRIS BIEN/THE HOYA
Freshman midfielder Tom Skelly (21) recorded the first two points of his college career Saturday, providing the assist on both goals in Georgetown’s 2-0 win over Villanova.

With the help of three impressive rookie performances, the Georgetown men’s soccer team shut out Villanova, 2-0, on Saturday in their first conference game of the season. The win marked the fourth shutout victory for the No. 23 Hoyas, who improved to 5-1-2 on the season.

Inclement weather forced the two teams to face off at Bryn Mawr College instead of Villanova, and created a somewhat rocky start for the Hoyas. In the first half, the Wildcats (2-4-2, 0-1 Big East) outshot Georgetown 12-6, with five shots on goal compared to just two from the Hoyas. But it was the visitors who capitalized on those opportunities, scoring both their goals in the first half.

“The storms that came through made their field difficult to play, which I think was good for us because their field isn’t an easy one to play on,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “It’s a choppy, grass field and it would have been harder to play how we really wanted to play on it. The turf field at Bryn Mawr suited us much better.”

The game was tied until the 22:09 mark when the freshmen began to make their presence felt. Freshman defender Tyler Rudy knocked the ball in on a pass from midfielder and classmate Tom Skelly to make the score 1-0. Eight minutes later, Skelly tallied his second assist of the game on a pass to sophomore midfielder Steve Neumann, who hit the back of the net from 23 yards out to give the Hoyas the 2-0 lead.

“Our first scoring chance of the game was two freshmen hooking up together, and I think that goal really settled us down a bit,” Wiese said. “From that moment on we played very well.”

After the break, Georgetown focused more on keeping a clean sheet, rotating its defensive players frequently to keep the Wildcats at bay for a full 45 minutes. Despite the Wildcats outshooting the Blue and Gray 19-13, the visitors were able to hold on for the 2-0 victory.

Georgetown’s first goal of the game was Rudy’s third of the season and his first career game-winner, while the pair of assists gave Skelly his first two career points.

Freshman goalkeeper Tomas Gomez turned in another remarkable performance on Saturday, making five saves and earning his fourth clean sheet of the season. All five saves came in the first half, including a crucial stop in the first few minutes that prevented the Wildcats from getting on the board early and potentially changing the tenor of the contest.

“We needed Tomas to make a really good save to keep it at 0-0 early in the game, and ten minutes later we scored the first goal,” Wiese said. “That was a really key moment, and on the road those moments happen a lot. Fortunately for us we have some guys who can make plays, and Tomas made a huge play for us there in goal ,and we were able to capitalize.”

On Monday, Gomez was named to the Big East weekly honor roll for the second consecutive week after his performance over the weekend. Gomez has started and played in seven games so far this season with a 5-1-1 record, a goals against average of 0.53 and 25 saves to his credit.

“I think we’re doing really well so far on the defensive side of things,” Wiese said. “We’ve got a goalkeeper who’s keeping the ball out of the net, which has been terrific and vital. And we have an organized, experienced group in front of him, which certainly helps.”

The victory over Villanova marked Georgetown’s first win in the Big East as defending regular season champions in the Blue division, setting the tone for competitive conference play this season.

“It’s a huge start in the league for us. You’re really looking to get those three points for a win, and sometimes you’re even happy with a road tie just to get a point,” Wiese said. “Any points on the road in the Big East are precious, and for us to open up with those three points was really important. We’re very pleased we’re getting off to a good start.”

Georgetown will take on No. 16 Penn State tonight at 7 p.m. in University Park.

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