MEN'S SOCCER | OT Win Puts GU at Top of Big East
Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 01:10
An unlikely hero lifted No. 9 Georgetown (12-3-1, 5-1-1 Big East) to a 1-0 overtime win over No. 16 Marquette (9-4-2, 5-1-1 Big East) Saturday night in a clash of the top two Big East teams. Senior defender Ted Helfrich, who started the game in place of injured defender Joshua Yaro, scored in overtime to break a scoreless tie and prevent the Golden Eagles from clinching the top spot in the conference. Georgetown and Marquette are now tied for first in the Big East.
Heading into the biggest conference game of the season, Georgetown knew that it needed the road win. A loss or tie would have all but ensured that Marquette would finish the regular season in first place, especially considering that the final two games on the Golden Eagles’ schedule are against Seton Hall and DePaul, teams that the Hoyas defeated by a combined 14 goals.
“We knew that if we didn’t get three points, there was no way we could win the Big East regular season,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.
Georgetown started the game much like it has all season, quickly controlling the ball and playing in the opponent’s half. The Hoyas had three corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of the match and forced the Golden Eagles’ goalkeeper, redshirt junior Charlie Lyon, to make four saves in the first half. Marquette also had four shots on goal in the first half, but junior keeper Tomas Gomez was able to handle each of them. Chances by senior forward and captain Steve Neumann and freshman forward Alex Muyl would prove to be some of the best Georgetown would have in regular time.
“I thought the first half in particular was very good,” Wiese said. “I thought we started off on the [right] foot and were really unlucky not to be up at halftime with some of the chances we created.”
The second half saw a defensive stalemate, with both teams finding fewer offensive opportunities. Georgetown and Marquette combined for just two shots on goal in the final 45 minutes, and the Hoyas had only five shots compared to eight for the opposition. The head coaches of both teams commented after the game on the improved play of Marquette in the second half, but neither side could find the back of the net before time expired.
With 90 scoreless minutes past, the Hoyas took the field for overtime with a share of first place in the conference on the line. Marquette started quickly, recording two shots in the first three minutes. Georgetown countered after the second, and sophomore forward Brandon Allen had a shot blocked in the 94th minute. Just a few seconds later, Neumann set up to take a corner kick which Helfrich headed into the corner of the goal from six yards out for the game winner.
“Somebody was going to have to make a play on either team to win it. Fortunately for us, it was Neumann with a really great assist and big Ted Helfrich coming through like a senior,” Wiese said.
Helfrich made six starts in the 2012 season, but had seen limited game action this year, suffering a concussion against Seton Hall that sidelined him for two games. On Oct. 19, the senior made his first start of the season against Butler, replacing injured freshman defender Joshua Yaro, whose return the team hopes to see before the start of the postseason. The goal scored Saturday was the first of Helfrich’s college career.
“Getting your first goal is always a big deal,” Wiese said. “To do it in a game of that magnitude, in overtime as a golden goal, it is almost storybook. “
The defense, including Helfrich, recorded its 11th shutout this season, a new team record. This number of clean sheets tops Division I soccer, and the team is second in shutout percentage. The Hoyas are 10-0-1 when they do not concede a goal and are 2-3 when allowing the opposing team to score. As the season winds down and the postseason begins, Georgetown’s back line will remain one of its keys to success. Credit for the impressive defense, however, does not rest solely with defenders.
“Our midfielders have been terrific. [Senior] Joey Dillon as a center midfielder has been a big part of our defending, and our frontrunners are hugely important too,” Wiese said.
Overall, Wiese and the coaching staff are impressed with the performance.
“It was great to see the guys go to the ground of one of the best teams in the country and get a win.”