Hoya File Photo Senior captain Nate Port scored the game-winning goal against Virginia Tech on Tuesday.

The Georgetown men’s soccer team split two games against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Virginia Tech Hokies this past week. Notre Dame handed the Hoyas their second straight loss Friday in South Bend, Ind., 3-1. However, the Hoyas bounced back Tuesday in an overtime thriller at home on Harbin Field.

With the Virginia Tech victory, Georgetown got back to the .500 mark and now has an verall record of 5-5-1 and 3-2 in Big East play.

The Hoyas played strong for a portion of the Notre Dame game but were dominated by an aggressive Notre Dame attack, being outshot 17-5 in the second half. Junior Notre Dame forward Erich Braun notched two goals against the Georgetown defense which sent the Hoyas below the .500 mark for the first time since late September.

The Irish scored in the 43rd minute, just before the halftime intermission. Braun, upon receiving a pass from the right side of the field, took a shot from eight yards out that rolled past diving Georgetown goalkeeper junior Brian O’Hagan. It was the second straight game that the Hoyas trailed at halftime.

The Notre Dame lead did not last long. Georgetown rose to the challenge of coming from behind as senior Kenny Owens tied the game eight minutes into the second half. Owens netted a rebound off of Notre Dame goalie Chris Sawyer who was unable to secure the shot of freshmen Kaiser Chowdry. Chowdry was credited with the assist and the game was knotted at 1-1.

Unfortunately for the Hoyas, their goal only steeled the resolve of the home team as the Irish began throwing more players forward than the Georgetown defense could contain. The Irish counterattacked ferociously, playing quickly and keeping the Hoyas on their heels and at times making them look disorganized. In the 69th minute Braun struck again, scoring the eventual game-winner by redirecting a shot from the right side into the lower right corner.

Notre Dame put the proverbial nail in the Hoyas’ coffin, scoring an insurance goal in the 80th minute. Sophomore Justin Detter collected a cross from teammate Chad Riley, who earned his second assist of the game and blasted the shot past O’Hagan.

The Hoyas were outshot in the match 23-12 and O’Hagan was forced to make 11 saves compared to Sawyer’s six. The usually solid Georgetown defense could find no answer in the second half for Braun, originally from Germany, or his blitzkrieg-like offensive style. Meanwhile, the Hoyas did counter the very aggressive Irish attack with attacks of their own and were unlucky as their chances came to fruition on the scoreboard only once.

While the Virginia Tech game was not a must win, it was a pivotal Big East match for the Hoyas who came close to a three-game losing streak that they desperately wanted to avoid.

“If you have a streak you definitely don’t want it to be a losing one,” said Head Coach Keith Tabatznik.

Returning home, the Hoyas responded to the challenge immediately, controlling the ball, generating opportunities and scoring the first goal of the game in the 12th minute when senior Truls Engebretsen fed Chowdry, who dribbled in before pushing the ball past the diving Hokie goalkeeper. The Hoyas protected their lead by limiting Virginia Tech’s opportunities and held strong throughout the first half and almost all of the second.

The equalizer was scored in the 86th minute when Bobby O’Brien knocked in a shot by Fred Silva. The Hoyas had been playing poorly for 20 minutes leading up to the goal. Unable to maintain possession, Georgetown seemed like it was settling back, trying to keep their one-goal lead and preserve a 1-0 victory.

“There was no intent to do that,” said Tabatznik of his team’s prevent defense. “It was really frustrating to not be able to keep possession like that.”

The goal by O’Brien sent the game into overtime, where Georgetown went back to their scrappy, aggressive style of play. Nonetheless, the Hoyas lacked firepower on the front line as Owens was forced to replace injured fellow-captain Peter Finn in the back and senior Nate Port’s time had been limited due to some sore ribs. Port however, got a brace and some extra tape on the sideline and was sent back into the game with only a couple minutes left in the first overtime period. Port capitalized, gathering the ball, dribbling to the end line left of the goal and kicking the ball straight across the goal mouth. The goalkeeper, playing out to reduce the angle of the shot, got a hand on the ball which rolled tantalizingly slowly over the goal line.

“We definitely had some good fortune on Nate’s goal,” said Tabatznik. “All you can really do in that situation is put the ball on goal and see what happens.”

The Virginia Tech game showed a different lineup from previous games. The Hoyas have struggled to find a consistent lineup due to injuries. Tabatznik insists, however, that the lineup’s inconsistency is the effect of the players’ inconsistency.

Perhaps referring to the final 25 minutes of regulation as well as the two losses to Notre Dame and Old Dominion prior to Tuesday’s game, Tabatznik said, “Sometimes the players are becoming spectators out there and we have to get guys in the game that want to play hard the whole game. That has become a major issue for us.”

The win was important for the Hoyas as it thrust them back into the thick of things in Big East conference play. Georgetown won’t be able to rest on its laurels, however, as they face two perennial Big East powerhouses in their next two games. First the Hoyas face No. 9 Rutgers Scarlet Knights in New Jersey Saturday. Then they take on the No. 16 Connecticut Huskies at Harbin Field.

Commenting on the looming specter of these two games, Tabatznik said, “Our mindset going into these games has to be that we beat these teams just as regularly as anyone. Don’t be surprised if we win these games. It will be an upset because they are ranked but it could be just what we need to get ourselves back on the map.”

Team Schedules/Rosters 2001 Men’s Soccer Schedule | Roster

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