Oct. 18, 2016
WASHINGTON - With just 11 seconds remaining before the game ended in a draw, senior midfielder Jon Azzinnari (Nutley, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) connected on a goal off of a long free kick propelling the Georgetown University men's soccer squad (4-8-1) to a 4-3 double overtime comeback victory over the Princeton University Tigers (6-6-1) on Tuesday at Shaw Field in the squad’s final nonconference matchup of the season.
“The two goals were hugely disappointing and all of the air left the team at that point,” said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese. “If you’re going to go down two goals, that’s when to do it, and it only takes one goal for the whole game to shift. Getting the first goal gave us life and then you had Jon Azzinnari having a great game today. I was really happy for him as a senior to get some goals today and to get us what could be a very important psychological result.”
The game-winner came when a save on the defensive end resulted in a foul and one last chance for the Blue & Gray. Sophomore defender Peter Schropp (Omaha, Neb./Creighton Prep) sent a perfect diagonal ball into the box, and it bounced around to the feet of Azzinnari whose clinical finish sealed the 4-3 victory for the Hoyas.
“My eyes kind of lit up when it came out to me, but I knew if I took a quick breath and finished in the net, the game would be over and I could go take my midterm,” said Azzinnari.
Princeton took an early lead in the game off of a pair of headers. The first was from off a corner kick in the fifth minute when Mark Romanowski headed it in near the back post. In the 13th minute, the Tigers added another off of a free kick. The ball was sent in and Greg Seifert headed it in the middle of the box to give Princeton the two-goal lead.
The Blue & Gray didn’t give up, however, as the squad began to generate chances. A number of shots were blocked including two by their own teammates before Georgetown broke through.
A throw in gave Georgetown the ball on the right side. Junior midfielder Christopher Lema (Ridgefield, N.J./St. Stephen's Episcopal School) served it in and found Schropp alone at the back post. Schropp headed it back across the face to find the back of the net to cut the deficit to one in the 33rd minute.
Just three minutes later, the Blue & Gray struck again to tie it up. A foul at midfield gave Georgetown a free kick and freshman forward Davey Mason (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) did a quick restart. He found junior midfielder Matt Ledder (Falls Church, Va./Gonzaga) who tapped it to Azzinnari. The senior hit a long bomb from 30-yards out and caught Josh Haberman by surprise. The shot was right on target to tie the score at two.
The deadlock would stand at the break as the squads went into the locker rooms tied 2-2.
Early in the second half the Hoyas took the lead off of Lema’s first-career goal. The junior had a free kick just outside the box and he struck it with his left foot, bending it around the Tiger wall and into the left corner of the net to give the Hoyas the 3-2 lead in the 55th minute.
The game was quiet until the 82nd minute when another header by the Tigers tied the game at three. Romanowksi sent it in, and a header by James Reiner in the middle of the box went in to tie it back up.
In the final five minutes, Georgetown goalkeeper Mitchell Auer (Columbus, Ohio/Dunlap [Ill.]) was forced to come up with a big stop to keep it tied. Neither team could find the back of the net in the rest of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
Georgetown had chances in the first overtime, and Auer was forced to come up with two big stops. In the second overtime, Princeton had a golden opportunity go just wide.
With two minutes left, senior midfielder Arun Basuljevic (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) had a 1v1, but keeper Jacob Schachner came off his line and saved it. On the other end, Auer dove to his right for a huge save to keep it tied in the final minute. Auer’s big save set up the final restart of the game and Azzinnari’s heroics as the Hoyas came away with the 4-3 win.
Princeton outshot Georgetown, 21-18, but the Hoyas took eight corner kicks to the Tigers’ five. Schachner took the loss in the net with two saves, and Auer was awarded the win posting nine saves in the contest.
The Hoyas will be back in action on Saturday as the squad hosts St. John’s at 1 p.m. at Shaw Field. The game will close out a three-game homestand for the Blue & Gray. Saturday’s contest will be broadcast live on the BIG EAST Digital Network with Dan Helfrich and Tom Greaser calling the action. Live stats will also be available at www.GUHoyas.com.
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