On a cold, windy day at Shaw  Field, the Georgetown men’s soccer team suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in the second round of the NCAA tournament to the Southern Methodist University Mustangs.

Georgetown (14-4-2, 6-2-1 Big East) surrendered an own goal off a defensive miscommunication with only 14 seconds remaining in double overtime, ending the team’s hopes of making a run for the NCAA title in the second round of the tournament.

Coming off a victory over Central Arkansas in the first  round, SMU (17-2-1, 5-1-1 AAC) started the game off quickly. Six minutes into the game, the Mustangs had a free header from 6 yards out. However, the header went straight to junior goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski and the game remained tied 0-0.

Following that early chance, both teams struggled to create any decent opportunities until midway through the first half. Senior forward Declan McCabe made a run down the left wing and played a ball across the middle of the box. That ball found freshman midfielder Jacob Montes, who placed it past the Mustangs’ goalkeeper at the far post, giving the Hoyas a 1 -0 lead in the 18th minute.

Following that early goal, the Mustangs failed to generate many chances against the Hoyas’ stout defense. MSU hit multiple shots from outside the box, but the majority of them missed the target altogether. The few that were on target were comfortable saves for Marcinkowski.

As the game wore on into the second half, the wind picked up, creating tough conditions for both teams.

“With the wind, it’s difficult to play our possession style. We like to play on the ground. We like to build out,” Montes said.

Early in the second half, the Hoyas had a great opportunity to double their lead. From a corner kick, senior midfielder Christopher Lema found freshman midfielder Foster McCune running to the near post. McCune got a head to the ball but was only able to direct it into the side netting, keeping the score at 1-0.

The next chance for the Hoyas also came from the foot of Lema. In the 60th minute, Lema lined up for a free kick from about 25 yards out. He struck the ball well and had the SMU goalkeeper beaten on his near-post side, but the shot hit the post.

Despite Georgetown’s chances, SMU eventually scored the next goal of the game. In the 82nd minute, following a poorly cleared corner kick by the Hoyas, the Mustangs’ freshman forward Nicky Hernandez found the ball at his feet at the edge of the box. He lofted a high cross into the box that got caught in the wind. Marcinkowski slipped as he came out to collect the ball, and senior defender Jordan Cano took advantage of this misfortune to head the ball into the back of the net and tie the game at 1-1.

In the dying minutes of the game, both teams had opportunities to score the winning goal. Following an SMU shot in the 87th minute, Marcinkowski made an outstanding save to get his fingertips on the ball as it was headed toward the far corner of the goal.

In the 89th minute, the Hoyas had multiple opportunities to close the game after the Mustangs’ goalkeeper bobbled a shot. The ball then dropped at the foot of freshman forward Derek Dodson in the 6-yard box; however, his shot hit the post and bounced out to the foot of McCabe. Again, the Hoyas had a great look on net, this time from McCabe, but his effort was blocked off the line by an SMU defender. The game remained tied heading into overtime.

In the first overtime, the play was very open as both teams searched for the winning goal, resulting in end-to-end soccer. Two minutes into overtime, sophomore forward Achara got in on net but had a tight angle and was only able to shoot directlyat the Mustangs’ goalkeeper.

A minute later, McCabe hit a hard shot at the near-post that forced the Mustangs’ goalkeeper into another save. However, the save of the game came just three minutes later when SMU forward Garrett McLaughlin used his pace to get in behind Georgetown’s defense and was in on goal. He hit a shot toward the far post, but Marcinkowski stuck out a hand and got his fingertips to the ball, deflecting it wide.

Despite the end-to-end action, neither team could find a breakthrough and the game remained tied heading into the second overtime.

With under a minute to go before penalty kicks, the Hoyas’ defense was under immense pressure as the Mustangs kept sending ball after ball into the box. A miscommunication among Georgetown’s defense resulted in an own goal and a 2-1 victory for SMU.

In a remarkably even match, Georgetown narrowly outshot SMU 18-17. SMU goalkeeper Michael Nelson received the victory with six saves while Marcinkowksi received the loss for Georgetown with seven saves.

“SMU played really well, and they deserve to be going forward as much as we do. Their goalkeeper made great saves. They’ve had a stellar season and will look to keep it going,” Marcinkowski said.

 

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