ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HYOA
ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HYOA

With less than 10 minutes remaining and the score knotted at two on Shaw Field, the No. 19 Georgetown men’s soccer team (6-2) seemed destined for overtime play against a tough Princeton team (1-4). An unlikely hero, however, stepped up to score the game-winning goal for the Blue and Gray.

Junior midfielder Tyler Rudy, who had just three collegiate goals to his name prior to the Princeton game, got the ball at the top of the box after a botched clearance attempt by the Princeton defense and angled his shot to the right past Princeton keeper Seth MacMillan for the much-celebrated game winner. The crowd erupted, and the team mobbed Rudy as he ran towards the corner flag.

“It was amazing,” Rudy said. “Actually, the last time I scored was my freshman year on the same field against Princeton. It’s pretty interesting, a similar goal. … [It] was my first goal in a while, and at a good time, too.”

Though the Hoyas closed out the day victorious, they started the game flat and gave up a goal in the24th minute. Princeton sophomore Nico Hurtado picked up a cross from the right side and, with plenty of room to move in the box, launched a shot to the top left corner for the early 1-0 lead. Head Coach Brian Wiese credited the Tigers with a great play but knew his team could have done more to prevent it.

“There wasn’t pressure from the midfield, then suddenly the backs have some hard decisions,” Wiesesaid. “But [Hurtado] had a lot of time and space there. … They’ll look at that as a really good goal from their point of view, and from our point of view, we didn’t manage to get good enough pressure on the ball. [Junior keeper] Tomas [Gomez] could do nothing about it.”

Playing down a goal for the first time in regulation since their opening game against Cal, which they dropped 2-0, the Hoyas knew they had to respond. For sophomore center back and marshal of the Hoya defense, Cole Seiler, that meant getting back to playing more up-tempo, aggressive soccer.

“We kinda came out flat, and didn’t really play our sort of soccer. [The goal] was kind of a wake up call for us,” Seiler said.

The wake-up call served its purpose, as two minutes after the Tigers’ goal, the Hoyas struck back. Freshman midfielder Alex Muyl received a pass from sophomore forward Brandon Allen, then turned and sent it across to senior forward Steve Neumann, who shot at the far post for the equalizer. The goal marked the end of Neumann’s five-game scoring drought and energized the Blue and Gray.

The Hoyas would score again before halftime on a nifty set piece executed by Allen and Neumann. A Princeton foul gave Georgetown the spot 20 yards out, and, as Neumann is the Hoyas’ go-to player for corners and free kicks, it was expected that he would take it. But when both Neumann and Allen lined up for the kick, it was Allen who drilled the shot that hit the post, the keeper’s hand and finally the back of the net to give the Hoyas the 2-1 lead at the half.

The Tigers came out with a vengeance after the break, and the Hoya defense had its hands full trying to protect Georgetown’s precarious one-goal lead.

“Especially after [our] second goal, it really got them going,” Seiler said. “Coach told us at halftime that just because they were down 2-1, they weren’t out of it. They were ready to come back and get at it the second half.”

It took until the 76th minute, but the Tigers did finally break through and score the equalizer, a play that was costly for the Hoyas in more ways than one. Junior keeper Tomas Gomez was injured during the goal and left the game with a hand injury. Senior keeper Keon Parsa subbed in between the pipes to close out the game. .

“We think [Gomez] will be OK, but it’s too soon to really know what the issue is. But obviously it hurt him enough that we had to take him off,” Wiese said. “But you feel good about Keon Parsa coming on as a captain, and he closed down the game really well.”

Five minutes later, Rudy scored the go-ahead goal, but the Hoyas had to double down on defense to protect their lead. The midfielders dropped back to help defend against Princeton, who pressed until the final whistle, and Parsa came up with a huge save in the 86th minute to maintain the lead.

“We needed a game like that,” Wiese said. “I think we did a much, much better job of handling that adversity, which is important.”

Georgetown will play next at 1 p.m. on Shaw Field against Creighton (4-1) Saturday in its first Big East conference game of the season.

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