The Hoyas’ march toward the postseason took a big step backward yesterday. The Georgetown men’s soccer team turned up lame against the Pittsburgh Panthers in a 2-1 loss on Wednesday night.

With the importance of each win becoming greater as the season winds down, the Hoyas have watched themselves slip from a chance to place themselves on the top shelf of the conference by dropping two close matchups in the past week.

While the team could have been sitting at 6-2-0 near the top of the Big East, they are instead fighting lower down with a 4-4-0 conference record and an 8-7-0 record overall.

Although the Hoyas wanted to rebound from last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Villanova that snapped a five-game winning streak, Georgetown could not put the pieces back together against its latest challenger.

Similar to the previous game, the Hoyas fell behind in the first half and despite many tries could not score the winning goal. This time, however, Pittsburgh (4-5-3, 2-3-1 Big East) led from the beginning and was able to put a number on the scoreboard early. The lone goal of the first half game in the 17th minute when Panther junior forward Dwayne Grant-Higgins capped a breakaway with a well-placed shot into the right corner of the goal, just beyond the Georgetown goalkeeper’s grasp.

Pittsburgh effectively kept Georgetown out of contention throughout the first 45 minutes, limiting its guest to two shots. The Panthers registered seven in the first half.

Just as in the Villanova game, Georgetown could not summon a second-half rally to secure a win. Ten minutes after the start of the second half, the Hoyas gave themselves a reason to hope after placing the ball in the net.

Sophomore forward Ricky Schramm, the Hoyas’ offensive powerhouse and the conference’s leading scorer, had been less than effective against Villanova but came back with his 12th goal on the season to tie up the match at 1-1.

Schramm converted on senior forward Kaiser Chowdhry’s cross into the box that he sent into the back of the goal, offering Georgetown a way back into the game.

While the Hoyas tried to chase down the win throughout the remaining portion of the second half, their luck would run short.

Despite holding a slight 7-5 edge on shots through the last 45 minutes of the game, Georgetown was stopped by Pittsburgh’s game-winner in the closing minutes of the competition.

Justin Genes, a Panther junior midfielder, was the man of the hour as he broke through a loose-ball scramble for the winning shot with only 2:17 left.

With both Villanova goals also coming off scrambles inside the box, Georgetown was again finished off in close quarters. While the last game’s takeaway lessons revolved around more hustle, greater tenacity and a better presence in the box and off restarts, these problems came back to haunt the Hoyas in its second consecutive loss.

An invite to the Big East tournament is still likely if not guaranteed, although Georgetown has made its path more difficult as it lies in a fifth-place tie with upcoming opponent No. 17 Seton Hall.

With two ranked opponents remaining in their final Big East games, the Hoyas have placed themselves in a tight situation and may be left facing an uphill battle come the postseason in November.

Georgetown can make a bold statement tomorrow with a victory over No. 12 Boston College (10-3-0, 6-3-0 Big East). The Golden Eagles have been a tough foe in the past few years, defeating the Hoyas in their last six showdowns.

This season Boston College has one of the conference’s best goalkeepers in sophomore Issey Maholo, who has recorded eight shutouts this season and an overall deep squad.

The game starts at 1 p.m. on North Kehoe Field, the first matchup in a four-game home stand that will carry the Hoyas through the end of the season.

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