On a sunny Saturday afternoon on North Kehoe Field, No. 20 Georgetown (8-3-3, 3-2 Big East) fell to No. 12 Notre Dame (6-3-4, 2-2-1 Big East) 3-0 in a clash of top Big East teams. A few defensive breakdowns proved costly for the Hoyas as the Fighting Irish capitalized on their goal chances in the 20th, 60th and 74th minutes. Despite the lopsided score line, Georgetown outshot Notre Dame 18-16 and took six corner kicks to the visitors’ three.

“It’s a difficult game,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “I’m sorely disappointed, because this is a game that, if we execute some things, we could win.”

Each team was dangerous in the first few minutes, but it was the visitors who drew first blood as a result of an impressive passing sequence. Notre Dame junior midfielder Dillon Powers and sophomore forward Leon Brown executed a quick give-and-go on the edge of the box before Powers fed the ball to junior forward Danny O’Leary, who touched the ball to the left of Georgetown freshman goalkeeper Tomas Gomez and into the back of the net.

“That first goal was a very good goal,” Wiese said. “They moved it well, and you have to give credit for a good goal.”

In the final 20 minutes of the half, the Blue and Gray did their best to respond with a goal of their own, but were unsuccessful. In the 23rd minute, sophomore forward Steve Neumann’s headed shot was denied with a diving save by senior goalie Will Walsh.

With four minutes remaining in the half, though, the Hoyas had possibly their best chance of the game. Sophomore defender Joey Dillon headed the ball to Neumann just inside the 18-yard box on the right side of the field. Neumann struck a low, hard shot that struck the inside of the far post before the Notre Dame defense was able to clear the ball without further incident.

After halftime, the Fighting Irish increased their lead in the 60th minute. Gomez was able to parry Notre Dame junior forward Ryan Finley’s shot from the top of the penalty box, but Fighting Irish senior midfielder Michael Rose slotted the ball home to double the visitors’ lead to 2-0.

Georgetown had a few more decent goal-scoring opportunities, but were once again unable to convert. In the 71st minute, sophomore forward Gabe Padilla stole the ball at the top of the box before shooting wide. A minute later Walsh denied another Neumann header to keep the Blue and Gray off the scoreboard.

The Fighting Irish scored their final goal in the 74th minute when the ball was chipped into the box in front of Gomez, but a Notre Dame player was able to head the ball back to Finley who volleyed the ball into the open net.

Four minutes later, the game went from bad to worse for the Hoyas as junior defender Jimmy Nealis fouled Finley on a near breakaway. Nealis received a red card for his foul and will miss Georgetown’s next match against Marquette (7-5-2, 5-0 Big East).

“Red cards are red cards, but when they are dodgy red cards it makes it tough,” Wiese said. “We have to quickly focus on how we are going to handle a road game against the top team in the division, Marquette, and do it without Jimmy Nealis. The mountain just got a little bit higher.”

The Blue and Gray kept pressing but struggled to keep possession while playing a man down and could not find a way to break through the stout Notre Dame defense.

“You want to get your points at home, but I think overall, if you look at things and how we played, there is a lot of good in it,” Wiese said. “The score really flattered Notre Dame in terms of how the game was played.”

The loss gives the Hoyas a 3-2 record in the Big East, and drops them to third place in the Blue Division.

“This conference is awfully tough. This loss just made it that much harder,” Wiese said. “The aim has always been to finish in the top two in order to get that bye. That still is very obtainable. As far as our big picture goes, I have a team I think can beat any team on any given day.”

The Hoyas now travel to Milwaukee, Wis., to face Blue Division leader Marquette on Wednesday at 8:05 p.m.

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