ALISHA MALHAS/THE HOYA
Captain senior midfielder Christopher Lema, left, has four goals, and sophomore defender Mason Deeds has two shots this year.

The Georgetown men’s soccer team advanced to the Big East Championship on Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over St. John’s on goals from sophomore forward Achara and freshman forward Derek Dodson.

Following a 1-0 loss to the Red Storm (9-7-3, 5-2-2 Big East) two weeks prior, the Hoyas (13-3-2, 6-2-1 Big East) were eager to start the Big East semifinal on their front foot. Just over a minute into the game, senior forward Zach Knudson and Declan McCabe had a quick attack down the left wing. McCabe then sent a cross into the near post that found Achara, who was able to one-time it into the back of the net, giving the Hoyas an early 1-0 lead.

“[Scoring early] takes off a little bit of the pressure. I think St. John’s is one of the better defending teams in the league, and so the longer the game goes 0-0, the more they can tighten up and the more our guys can tighten up so I think it just relaxes you a little bit which is good,” Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese said.

After battling leg injuries for over a month, this was Achara’s first goal since the Oct. 6 game against Butler.

“I got an early goal, and that was awesome. It feels great. I’ve been out for a long time, of course, and I just wanted to play and enjoy playing,” Achara said.

Following the first goal, the game opened up, which created more space for Georgetown to run in behind the St. John’s defense. The extra space led to several great scoring chances for Achara, but he was unable to convert them.

The first came 13 minutes into the game when Achara found himself in on goal after a quick counterattack but he put the shot high. Just two minutes later, he found himself in on net again, but a last-ditch effort from a St. John’s defender blocked his shot.

“We really wanted to exploit the space in behind because they’re a really aggressive team, so when they step there’s always space behind and we did that really well today,” Achara said.

As the half wore on, St. John’s began to gain a foothold in the game. The final 20 minutes of the first half were full of back-and-forth play, with both teams having a few half chances but nothing concrete. After 45 minutes of fast-paced action, the Hoyas entered the half with a slim 1-0 lead.

Sensing their Big East Championship bid was in jeopardy, St. John’s started the second half with a flurry of intensity. Taking advantage of a few Georgetown mistakes, St. John’s created good chances early in the half.

Their first great chance of the game came midway through the half when a cross found junior forward Filippo Ricupati on the edge of the six-yard box. However, his resulting shot ricocheted off the post and the Hoyas escaped the attack with their lead intact.

However, Georgetown responded, and just over two minutes later, netted its second goal of the game. Senior midfielder Christopher Lema whipped in a corner kick that found Big East Freshman of the Year Derek Dodson running toward the near post. Dodson kept his composure and scored giving the Hoyas a 2-0 lead.

Following Dodson’s goal, the game’s intensity drastically increased. Both teams played physically throughout the game, and as the game wore on and the players began to tire, the ferocity started to manifest itself more and more. However, the Hoyas did a good job to keep their heads and not lose focus on the task at hand.

“St. Johns always comes out physical and they want to play. They want to get in your back [and] hit you. We kind of lost our discipline a little bit but you just have to matchup and be strong and get in there and try to do the best that you can,” Achara said.

In the 77th minute, the Red Storm were able to grab a goal back after a Hoya miscue. Following a poor Georgetown throw-in that resulted in a turnover, St. John’s quickly countered. St. John’s sophomore midfielder Alistair Johnston played a gorgeous through-ball that resulted in senior forward Harry Cooksley one-on-one against junior goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. He slotted it past Marcinkowski cutting the Hoyas’ lead in half to 2-1.

“You see how dangerous they are in transition. They were very very good [as] Cooksley scores a goal in transition,” Wiese said.

Following that goal, both teams heightened the intensity for the closing minutes of the game. St. John’s pushed for the equalizing goal while Georgetown defended with their backs against the wall. However, the Hoyas held strong and were able to stifle the Red Storm from having any good looks on goal for the remainder of the game.

“You’re playing for the league [championship] so you can’t ask for anything better than that,” Wiese said.

St. John’s outshot Georgetown 19-16 in this open and free-flowing affair. Marcinkowski earned the win for the Hoyas with four saves while redshirt junior goalkeeperAndrew Withers took the loss for the

Red Storm with six saves.

Next up for Georgetown is a game on Sunday against fourth-seeded Xavier in the championship game of the Big East Tournament. The game will be played at noon on Shaw Field and will be broadcast on FS2.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*