Charles Nailen/The Hoya Senior forward Nate Port once again scored the game winning goal for the Hoyas in their Wednesday victory over West Virginia.

The Georgetown men’s soccer team won an overtime thriller Wednesday against West Virginia at home at Harbin Field. Senior Nate Port scored both goals for the Hoyas, giving them a 2-1 victory after 102 minutes of play.

The game ended in the first sudden-death overtime period after the Hoyas battled back and forced the extra period from a goal behind in the last minute of regulation play. The win is significant for the Hoyas as they level their season record at 3-3-1 and avoid beginning their conference schedule at 0-2.

“It was a very good win for our team,” head coach Keith Tabatznik said of the game.

The game opened slowly as no team could get on the scoreboard in the first half. While the Hoyas’ intensity level was lacking in the beginning of the first half, play began to pick up towards its conclusion. Georgetown, nonetheless, was out-shot 12-10 in the first half.

The first quality scoring chance occurred within five minutes of the second half kickoff as Kenny Owens, on his way to the goal, was taken down inside the 18-yard box and awarded a penalty kick. Owens’ shot to the lower right corner, however, was stopped by West Virginia goalkeeper Chris McKinney.

The Hoyas, bolstered by their chance rather than deflated by the missed opportunity, began to dominate play, winning balls in the air and generating scoring chances with a balanced attack. Freshman Kevin Sindelar dominated in the air with his substantial physical presence and left-footed sophomore Joseph Paden routinely set up scoring chances from the left flank.

The Hoyas were unable to convert on their many chances inside the box. The Mountaineers, however, converted in the 85th minute on one of their few scoring chances as Dwayne Grant-Higgins was able to capitalize on a Georgetown defensive error, gathering a bouncing ball served by Corey McLain and finishing on the near post just out of the extended reach of Hoya junior goalkeeper Brian O’Hagan.

“That goal was really against the grain of the game,” Tabatznik said. “In my opinion we were dominating the game at the time.”

One mark of a good athletic team is the ability to come from behind and thrive under pressure. By taking risks and sending almost all of their players into the attacking end of the field, the Hoyas were able to net the equalizer. The goal was scored off an indirect kick taken from about 30 yards out on the right side by freshmen Trevor Goodrich. Goodrich played a ball in the air to the center of the box about six yards from the goal and Port smashed a powerful head ball past McKinney, who got a hand on the ball, but unable to keep it out of the goal. The goal was scored with only 10 seconds remaining on the clock and it sparked a jubilant celebration among the players and the Hoya faithful.

More times than not, the team who tied the game sending it to overtime has the upper hand and that trend held true as the Hoyas immediately began to control play in the first overtime period generating chance after chance. Finally, in the 102nd minute of play, Kenny Owens had a ball played to his feet, turned, dribbled down the right side, and crossed the ball on the ground through traffic to the streaking Port, who was able to touch the ball into the goal for the win. The Hoyas celebrated heartily as their opponents fell to the ground in anguish, having been put in a position Georgetown has been in at times this year.

Undoubtedly, the biggest story of the game was the Hoyas’ ability to come from behind and get the win. Georgetown showed a very important ability to rebound from adversity in order to maintain focus.

“When your back is against the wall you really start fighting,” said Tabatznik, “in addition, we were able to rebound well from Kenny’s missed penalty kick and their late goal and still come out with a win. Our focus is very good right now; instead of dwelling on what happened we look ahead to what we need to do.”

Tabatznik attributed this to the fact that the players have been there before and were able to remain confident after Owens’ miss.

The star of the game was Port, who came off the bench to score the Hoyas’ goals. Port routinely worked with Owens creating chances and wreaking havoc on the West Virginia defense. Besides his speed, touch, and finishing ability, Port appears to have the uncanny knack of a scorer as he consistently appears in the right place at the right time.

“Nate had his first game against really good competition where he created a lot of scoring chances. In addition, he came off the bench and gave us a huge lift. He’s done that all season and every team has to have that,” said Tabatznik.

A rather unsung unit on the Georgetown team this year has been the defense. Behind Sindelar, freshman Dan Gargan, who played his best game of the season, senior Michael Gross, who has made a habit of making game-saving plays, and senior co-captain Peter Finn, who deftly anchors the defense stepping up often to break up opposing threats, the defense is beginning to find itself. The general of the operation is O’Hagan. The boisterous goalkeeper has performed well in goal throughout the season.

“A great goalie has to be a great organizer,” Tabatznik said. “One of the areas Brian has really improved on is directing the defense. Defensively, we are talking and listening much better and that helps.”

The team’s goal remains winning the Big East and Tabatznik indicated that the three points from the win are very important.

“We want to get enough points so that we can control our own destiny at the end of the season. The best way for us to meet our goals is to look at each game, know what we have to do, and then go out and take care of it,” Tabatznik said.

The Hoyas play host to the Providence Friars Saturday at 1 p.m. on Harbin Field.

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

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