Much like the rest of its season, nothing came easily for the Georgetown men’s soccer team (3-2-2) in its away matches against Virginia Commonwealth (2-4-1) and West Virginia (2-5-0). The Hoyas endured a disappointing 2-2 tie with the Rams before earning a 3-1 comeback win over the Mountaineers.
Georgetown outshot VCU 10-3 in the first half of Thursday’s match and earned five corner kicks compared to just one for the opposition. Junior forward Alex Muyl converted that advantage into a lead in the 38th minute, scoring from a short distance off a cross by sophomore midfielder Matthew Ledder.
“I thought we controlled the game how we wanted. We did more than enough to win. We had plenty of chances to put a team away,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.
Despite that goal and several other chances to seal the win, the Hoyas only managed a 1-0 lead going into halftime. The Rams went on to equalize in the 52nd minute, but sophomore midfielder Arun Basuljevic quickly put the Hoyas ahead once again, scoring off the rebound of a save by the opposing goalkeeper.
Unfortunately for the Hoyas, that new lead would not hold until the end of the match. An 88th-minute goal by VCU junior midfielder Dakota Barnathan tied the game at 2-2. Georgetown had multiple scoring opportunities during the two overtime periods but could not walk away with a victory.
“There’s a lot of lessons for this team in how to put a team away,” Wiese said. “There’s two ways of doing that. One is to score another goal … and the other is to simply make it very hard to concede. We did neither there.”
Georgetown bounced back from that draw by dominating much of Sunday’s match against West Virginia. The Hoyas outshot the Mountaineers 16-3, recorded seven corners and forced the opposing keeper to make seven saves. Nevertheless, the score remained tied at halftime until a free-kick goal after a disputed foul put West Virginia ahead 1-0.
“You look at your season and you say, ‘What is going on with this group? And how unlucky can you really be with this stuff?’ But they responded terrifically well,” Wiese said.
Needing to battle for a goal once again, the Hoyas continued to press. Then, in the 60th minute, they got their break. An off-ball foul resulted in a penalty kick for Georgetown and a red card for West Virginia senior defender Francio Henry. Senior forward Brandon Allen buried the penalty kick and tied the game at 1-1.
The gap in West Virginia’s defense only made it easier for the Hoyas to control the pace of play and hold on to possession. In the 66th minute, Ledder scored his first Georgetown goal to put his team ahead 2-1, and junior midfielder Bakie Goodman made it 3-1 with just eight minutes remaining in the match. This time, the lead lasted until final whistle.
“I thought the resilience of the team over the last few road games really showed itself really well,” Wiese said.
Ledder, who recorded two assists against Virginia Commonwealth and scored against West Virginia, gave one of the most impressive performances of the weekend. He did not see the field last season, but quickly earned important minutes this year. As the season progresses, the speedy outside midfielder and winger could provide a spark off the bench or even in the starting lineup.
“He’s got really good pace, and when he is playing how he should be playing, he is very hard one-v-one. He’s a wonderful attacking presence for us. He is one of these little gnats that’s running around and somehow getting in crosses and shots off,” Wiese said.
Georgetown will return to Shaw Field Wednesday afternoon for its next match against No. 10 Maryland (3-1-3, 0-0-2 Big Ten). Wiese and his team return home with important lessons learned and positive signs of moving forward after a pair of tough road tests.
“We had two games against two good teams on the road where we controlled the tempo. We imposed our game on both of them. That is hard to do, so it was good to see,” Wiese said.
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