FILE PHOTO: JULIA HENNRIKUS/ THE HOYA Sophomore defender and MAC Hermann semifinialist Joshua Yaro’s defensive effort kept Syracuse at bay.
FILE PHOTO: JULIA HENNRIKUS/ THE HOYA
Sophomore defender and MAC Hermann semifinialist Joshua Yaro’s defensive effort kept Syracuse at bay.

Senior midfielder Jared Rist scored his first career goal Sunday afternoon and he could not have chosen a better time to get his name on the score sheet.

“[In the break between regulation and overtime] it was [senior midfielder and co-captain] Tyler Rudy and Rist that were telling the guys that we were not going to lose this game,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.

No. 11 Georgetown (14-4-4, 6-2-1 Big East) took on No. 4 Syracuse (16-4-1, 5-2-1 ACC) at Shaw Field Sunday in a Sweet Sixteen matchup between the eighth- and ninth-seeded teams, respectively, in the NCAA tournament Sunday. The Hoyas defeated No. 22 Old Dominion (13-6-1, 4-3-1 Conference USA) in the second round, while the Orangemen had advanced with a 2-1 victory over Penn State (13-6-1, 5-3 Big 10).

From the opening whistle, it was exactly like what a matchup between two top-10 seeds is expected to look like. The match was open, fast-paced and neither team could clearly claim an advantage.

Syracuse junior goalkeeper Alex Bono, who is considered one of the top college soccer players in the country, kept his team in the game with diving saves on shots by sophomore forward Alex Muyl and sophomore midfielder Bakie Goodman.

The second half, however, was a different story. Although Georgetown had a handful of chances, Syracuse held the majority of the possessions and continually threatened to score on the Hoyas.

The breakthrough for the Orangemen came in the 55th minute, when they quickly took a short corner and surprised an unprepared Hoya defense. Syracuse sophomore midfielder Alex Halis weaved his way into the 18-yard box and buried his shot from a difficult angle into the far side of the net to give his team a 1-0 advantage.

“The team has begun to respond where they have shown a lot of resiliency and a lot of character. … I think it says a lot about your older players. The seniors that have been involved in these plays have just been refusing to lose,” Wiese said.

After 25 minutes of struggling to score the equalizer, junior defender and co-captain Keegan Rosenberry scored arguably the most important goal of his career. In the 80th minute, Rosenberry was on the receiving end of a long corner kick and headed it home to tie the match 1-1. Neither team managed a goal in the final 10 minutes, thereby sending the game into sudden-death overtime.

Syracuse nearly scored the game-winning goal in the opening seconds of the extra period. The Georgetown defense held, however, and Rist took his turn at being the hero when the offense won a corner kick in the 94th minute. Rist made his move to the near post and scored the goal that sent the Hoyas to the Elite Eight.

Georgetown’s two goals in the match marked its first two successful corner kicks in 130 attempts this season. Rudy was responsible for the assists for both goals.

“In any set piece … the determining factor is the quality of the service,” Wiese said. “[Rudy] has been working on it a lot this year and all game he was absolutely spot on.”

While Rist and Rosenberry will be remembered as the heroes of the day, sophomore defender Joshua Yaro perhaps turned in the performance that kept the Hoyas within striking distance. He used his quickness to track down searching passes by Syracuse, then showed his sound decision-making to cut out the passes. Yaro, a semifinalist for the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, the country’s premier soccer award, displayed an impressive amount of poise in one-on-one situations in front of goal.

“Maybe one of [Yaro’s] best [matches] of the year. It’s not just the fact that he was great, it’s the fact of who he was great against,” Wiese said. “For my money, and I’m obviously biased as his coach, he showed why he is the best player in the country.”

The Elite Eight match will be played at Shaw Field on Saturday as Georgetown will host Virginia (11-6-2, 3-3-2 ACC). The Cavaliers, who upset top-seeded Notre Dame (12-5-4, 6-1-1 ACC) to advance to the quarterfinals, had a mixed record this season, notching a win and a draw against the Fighting Irish, but also losing six games, including defeats to Davidson (10-2-6, 4-2-2 Southern Conference) and Tulsa (11-6-3, 5-2-1 American Athletic Conference).

Georgetown and Virginia played to a 1-1 tie in a preseason exhibition match in August. The Cavaliers are the 16th seed in the tournament, granting the Hoyas one last home game in 2014.

“The fact that we will get three or four thousand fans on Saturday, it’s what you play all year for,” Wiese said.

The Elite Eight match against Virginia is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at Shaw Field.

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