The No. 9 Georgetown men’s soccer squad split its two contests over the Columbus Day weekend, defeating No. 20 Butler but falling to No. 16 Duke.

On Friday, the Hoyas (8-2-1, 3-1-0 Big East) cruised 3-0 over the reigning conference champion Bulldogs (7-4-0, 3-1-0 Big East). Butler had sat at the top of the Big East, but with the win Georgetown took sole possession of first place in the conference.

SUBUL MALIK FOR THE HOYA
Sophomore forward Achara, middle, notched a goal and an assist against Butler, but left the game due to injury.

Georgetown scored all of its goals in the first half to dominate the Bulldogs. Senior midfielder Declan McCabe started the scoring right away for the Hoyas as he found an assist from sophomore forward Achara and finished to put the Hoyas up 1-0.

“We all knew it was a really big game, they were top of the league. And we were talking with Coach [Brian Wiese], thinking if we didn’t win that game, we might not have a chance to win the league, so our mentality really set us up and everyone really stepped up all over the place,” McCabe said.

Minutes later, McCabe returned the favor for Achara, giving him a ball to work with near the box. Achara handled it and fought through two defenders to score the Hoyas’ second goal.

“[Senior midfielder] Chris Lema has a really good step on a guy and the ball just bounced to me, I saw Achara make a run and [he had] kind of some individual brilliance to put it in,” McCabe said.

Freshman forward Derek Dodson scored the third and final goal for the Hoyas in the contest.

In the second half, Butler managed three of its six shots in the game, leading to an eventual shutout. The shutout is the fourth clean sheet of the season for junior goalkeeper JT Marcinkowksi.

“I thought our front-runners and midfielders did a really good job tracking their runners and pressing their guys so their front-runners didn’t get a chance to get going,” Marcinkowski said.

Despite the big win, Georgetown again lost Achara to injury and was without the services of senior forward Zach Knudson, who is still out with lingering injuries.

The injury-riddled Hoyas had little time before their next contest at Shaw Field Monday against the Blue Devils (10-2-1, 3-2-0 ACC). Georgetown struggled to stay fresh early, particularly with the difficult conditions. As a result, Duke struck first in the 25th minute with a header from the left side to make the score 1-0.

“It was unbelievably humid and the field took a lot of water,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “[Our team] actually handled it really well, but it’s just a softer field and those combinations make both teams feel it.”

The Hoyas fought hard to tie it up and finally got their chance in the second half. In the 66th minute, sophomore midfielder Dylan Nealis took a shot that the keeper could not handle, and Dodson finished the rebound into the net to knot the game at 1-1.

“This was a good example of a game where you would have loved to have Achara and Knudson because of their physicality and their athleticism and ability to ask more of the Duke defense. Dodson and Declan [McCabe] were still good though, and we still had a lot of good moments,” Wiese said.

The tie score did not hold up for long, however, as Georgetown conceded the game-winning goal just over a minute later. The Hoyas’ defense failed to pick up Duke freshman forward Daniel Wright, who ran close to the net and scored the game winning goal.

“It’s always frustrating after they score the first goal and you fought the whole time to get the equalizer and get the fans behind us and some momentum. We made a sloppy mistake,” junior defender Brendan McDonough said.

For the game, Georgetown outshot Duke 19-8 and stayed tough on defense. The Hoyas only forced Marcinkowski to come up with three saves in comparison to the eight they forced on the Duke goalkeeper.

“Duke’s a good team this year, it’s a great out-of-conference test for us. I would have been interested to see what would have happened if we had managed the moments after we equalized better,” Wiese said.

The Hoyas return to action Friday to take on the Villanova Wildcats (6-6-0, 2-2-0 Big East). The game will be played at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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