SUBUL MALIK FOR THE HOYA
Junior goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski had eight saves agaisnt Maryland while allowing zero goals.

The No. 13 Georgetown men’s soccer team concluded its hard-fought two-game road trip with shutout wins against Villanova University and the University of Maryland in two closely contested Big East matches.

The Hoyas’ (10-2-1, 4-1 Big East) first game came against the Villanova Wildcats (7-7, 2-3 Big East) at Talen Energy Stadium, home of MLS team the Philadelphia Union. The Hoyas dictated play throughout the first half before finally breaking down the Wildcats’ defense in the 31st minute.

Freshman forward Derek Dodson received the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and promptly played it to junior midfielder Kyle Zajec, who was able to slot it past Villanova redshirt senior goalkeeper Will Steiner and find the back of the net for his first collegiate goal.

Despite some back-and-forth action to close out the half, the Hoyas went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.

In contrast to the first half, the Wildcats came out of halftime on the front foot and forced the Hoyas to defend and absorb pressure for long periods of play. After most of the second half, the Hoyas finally were able to start a quick counterattack leading to their second goal of the night in the 79th minute.

Senior midfielder Declan McCabe picked out a pass to senior forward Zach Knudson, who calmly finished the attack off with a goal, giving the Hoyas a 2-0 lead.

“It’s great having Knudson back on the field, but [in his absence] guys have done a great job to step up,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.

After the second goal, the Hoyas were able to stifle the Wildcats’ attack and the game ended in a 2-0 victory for the Hoyas. Villanova outshot Georgetown 15-14, but Georgetown was more clinical with its chances and earned an important Big East road win.

Four days later, Georgetown travelled to College Park, Md., to take on the No. 3 Maryland (10-1-3, 5-0-2 Big Ten) at Ludwig Field. Coming into this matchup with the Hoyas, the Terrapins had been riding a 30-game winning streak in regular season play dating to last season.

Early on, the Terps dictated the pace of play and forced the Hoyas to defend, but the Hoyas proved themselves up to the challenge and made several key defensive stops.

“Guys defended when we had to defend, [but] we had good moments of possession and were able to dictate the tempo of the game at times, which is important,” Wiese said.

Despite being outshot 7-1 in the first half, the Hoyas went into the break still tied 0-0. This was due in large part to senior goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski’s six saves in the first half.

“JT’s a fantastic goalkeeper,” Wiese said. “He does a really good job keeping his composure in net. He has such a calm and great presence in goal.”

Throughout the majority of the second half, both teams were able to stifle the opposition’s attack, leading to few chances to score for either team.

“Both teams were able to make it hard on the other team, so neither of us got as great chances as we’re normally accustomed to in games,” Wiese said.

Eventually, the Hoyas were able to break the deadlock in the 88th minute with a goal from freshman midfielder Jacob Montes assisted by senior midfielder Christopher Lema.

“The goal came about from us picking up a loose ball in midfield and recognizing that we had some space to run in at the Maryland backs,” Wiese said. “It was a great pass by Chris Lema. It was a tricky finish, but [Montes] did really, really well to keep that ball low. It was a bouncing ball. He finished it superbly.”

After the game, Wiese praised Montes and the composure he showed scoring his first collegiate goal in such a big moment.

“For a freshman, he’s got such great composure. He’s such a talent. He really is. He’s got amazingly soft feet. He’s deceptively fast, and he can really play a combination with players,” Wiese said.

Following Montes’ goal, the Hoyas were able to hold off the Terps’ final attacks and close out a huge 1-0 victory, despite being outshot 12-6. Marcinkowski finished with eight saves and earned his second straight shutout and sixth shutout overall of the season.

The win over third-ranked Maryland will boost Georgetown’s RPI ranking heading into their last four conference games against Seton Hall (5-7-1, 2-3 Big East), Providence (4-7-2, 1-2-2 Big East), St. John’s (5-6-2, 2-2-1 Big East) and Creighton (8-4-1, 2-2-1 Big East).

Georgetown will square off against Seton Hall on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Shaw Field. The game will be televised on the BIG EAST Digital Network.

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