MEN'S SOCCER | Defense Prevails in 0-0 Draw
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 00:10
Despite 110 minutes of furious play, No. 12 Georgetown (6-2-1, 0-0-1 Big East) and No. 3 Creighton (5-2-1, 1-0-1 Big East) played to a scoreless draw Saturday in front of a rowdy homecoming crowd.
Both teams had runs of possession and good chances, something that senior forward Steve Neumann said is typical of a game between two highly ranked opponents.
“They are a possession based team just like us, so they had their spells of 10 minutes, and we had our spells of 10 minutes,” he said.
Though the teams both controlled possession at different points throughout the game, Georgetown had the most threatening chances. The first half was bookended with two of the best opportunities in the entire game. A Georgetown corner kick in the opening minutes glanced off freshman defender Joshua Yaro’s head and landed at the feet of freshman forward Alex Muyl, who could not find space to take a shot. In the 44th minute, freshman forward Brett Campbell, a substitute for sophomore forward Brandon Allen, barely missed a cross in front of an open net.
“We had some really good chances,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “But that game, there was very little in it.”
While scoring opportunities were scarce, the stands were full and the homecoming crowd of almost 1,500 got into the game early and only became louder as the game went on. The players tried not to focus on the noise, but the large crowd did have an impact on the game.
“It definitely lifted the excitement of the game,” Neumann said. “We definitely could hear the fans and it definitely lifted the tempo of the game. We love to have the fans here, and it’s great to have them cheering us on.”
In the second half and overtime, both sides created a handful of promising opportunities as they spread out across the midfield and played at a faster pace. Creighton’s sophomore goalkeeper Connor Sparrow made a diving save on a header by Allen, and the Blue Jays looked threatening inside the box several times, despite never really testing Georgetown junior goalkeeper Tomas Gomez. The Hoyas’ best chance of the second half came in the 90th minute when Muyl won a free kick at the top of the Blue Jays’ 18-yard box. Allen converted a free kick in a similar position in Georgetown’s last game against Princeton; this time, Neumann took the opportunity but couldn’t convert.
“It’s a matter of where the wall sets up and where the goalie sets up,” Neumann said regarding the decision about which player would take the kick. “I felt I could put that one on goal.”
Both teams played more physically in the second half as well, and the referee took on a larger role in the game. Muyl received a controversial yellow card in the first half for diving, Creighton sophomore midfielder Christian Blandon received a yellow card in the 50th minute for a foul on Muyl and Creighton senior forward Sean Kim received a caution less than three minutes later. Though players from both teams could be seen appealing for fouls and objecting to calls, sophomore midfielder Keegan Rosenberry said Creighton’s physical style of play affected his team.
“We like to think we can rise to the challenge whether it is a physical game or a not so physical game … and obviously Coach Wiese and all the guys on the team like to think we can handle any type of game. We did that pretty well today,” Rosenberry said.
The Georgetown defense recorded its sixth shutout of the season to improve a shutout percentage that was already one of the best in the nation. Saturday’s game marked the first time all year that Creighton, who came into the contest averaging over two goals a game, was held scoreless, a testament to Georgetown’s back four. In addition, Gomez made six saves, but nearly all were comfortable for the goalkeeper who was questionable for the game after receiving a hand injury against Princeton last Sunday. A large number of the Blue Jays’ shots came from a long distance, something which the Hoya defense saw as a sign that they played well.
“They kept taking shots, and none of the shots were dangerous to our keeper,” freshman defender Joshua Yaro said.
While they Hoyas would have preferred a win, the team is not too disappointed with the result.
“We had chances to win it, they had chances to win it, so a tie is a fair result,” Neumann said.