The Georgetown men’s soccer team (8-2-2, 4-0 Big East) extended its winning streak to six games, and it did so in style. The Hoyas controlled the game from start to finish, scoring three second-half goals en route to a 3-0 win over Marquette (5-5-2, 1-2-1 Big East) at home Wednesday afternoon.
Marquette clearly entered the game expecting to be underdogs. It spent large stretches of the first half with 11 men behind the ball. The tactic ceded the ball to Georgetown but sought to prevent any clear chances on goal by simply overloading the defensive third with players.
For the most part, the strategy worked in the first 45 minutes. The Hoyas outshot the Golden Eagles 11-2, took five corner kicks and forced the opposing keeper to make five saves before the break. For all this offensive production, the best chances of the half came from a pair of long-range shots by senior forward Brandon Allen and junior forward Alex Muyl.
“How do you open up a team like that? You’re looking for three things. One is can you take good advantage of the times they actually have [the ball]. … Then it’s good width … or taking advantage of set pieces,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.
A set piece was exactly what broke the deadlock. Georgetown earned a corner kick less than a minute into the second half. The initial kick looked like it would pass in front of the goal harmlessly, co-captain Cole Seiler put the ball back in a dangerous position. That put sophomore midfielder Arun Basuljevic in front of the net with a clear shot on goal, which he easily hit home.
After the opening goal, Marquette came out of its shell, adopting an attacking mindset in an attempt to level the game. For the next 13 minutes, a wide open match saw even chances on both sides.
That spell, however, ended when senior defender and co-captain Josh Turnley picked out a cross from the left side to Allen in the 18-yard box. The forward easily put the chance to the right of the keeper and doubled Georgetown’s lead.
“I thought Josh Turnley maybe had one of his best games in terms of delivery and finding entries. As a fullback, he was very aggressive, which I thought was really important,” Wiese said.
Georgetown began to make substitutions after going up by two goals. Three of the substitutes combined to pull apart the Marquette defense with a series of passes that ended with a goal for senior midfielder Melvin Snoh.
The Hoyas’ back line and midfield pressed high for nearly the entire game, another consequence of Marquette’s defensive approach. Georgetown frequently had multiple players around the ball as soon as Marquette gained possession.
“You have to quickly realize how the other team is playing, what they are giving you and then play to that. We did that well today when we realized they were sitting in,” junior defender and co-captain Joshua Yaro said.
The high press and a back line that made few errors resulted in a comfortable shutout for Georgetown. The team has now held opponents scoreless for 366 consecutive minutes, a streak spanning four games. All four of those games were played against conference opponents.
“We’ve finally gotten into a rhythm, and that is to the credit of the whole team. We’ve done really well up top defensively. When you have strikers that are defending, it makes our job a lot easier,” Yaro said.
Wednesday’s victory is the sixth straight for Georgetown, which remained perfect in Big East play. The team remains tied with No. 1 Creighton University (15-0, 4-0 Big East) in the conference table. With conference play in full swing, the Hoyas have their sights set high for the remainder of the schedule.
“We talked about perfection. Can we be perfect through the league? You’re four games in and you haven’t conceded a goal and you are 4-0. We can maybe make a little history with that if they keep showing up and roll up the sleeves and work at it,” Wiese said.
Georgetown will take on DePaul (3-10, 2-2 Big East) in Chicago on Saturday. The Blue Demons have struggled this season, winning just three times and dropping 10 of their first 11 matches. Nevertheless, Wiese and his team will be careful not to take their opponent lightly.
“Tough one at DePaul on the road. That will be a tough ask to do it, just based on their venue, and I think their record is a really deceiving record for how good they are,” Wiese said.
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