Nov. 3, 2012
WASHINGTON - The No. 4/6 Georgetown University men's soccer team (16-2-1) made history on Saturday defeating the No. 13/24 St. John's University Red Storm (10-4-4), 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament at North Kehoe Field. The second-seeded Hoyas, bolstered by goals from their top two scorers, have advanced to the tournament semifinals marking the first time in program history that the squad will appear in the semifinals since it moved to Red Bull Arena.
"I'm really, really happy for the team," said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese. "If you look at the quarterfinal field for this league, all eight teams are NCAA Tournament teams so it's great preparation for postseason. If you can win this league, you can win the whole thing. So if we had been in a different situation today and lost, there's no shame in it, but it would have been heartbreaking for the boys because getting to Red Bull is what they've been talking about all year."
The win over the third-seeded Red Storm was especially meaningful since St. John's eliminated Georgetown in the quarterfinals of last year's BIG EAST Tournament. The Red Storm went on to win the championship and is considered one of the most storied programs in the BIG EAST Conference.
This will be Georgetown's first semifinal appearance since the 2004 season.
St. John's looked crafty at the top of the box early in the game, but it was the Hoyas that had the chance first.
In the 13th minute, sophomore midfielder Tom Skelly (Albuquerque, N.M./Shattuck-St. Mary's) cut right through the defense and fired to the crossbar which was saved. The rebound went to junior forward Steve Neumann (New Hope, Pa./Council Rock North) who shot high from just four yards out, but gave the Blue & Gray momentum.
The Hoyas continued to pressure and in the 25th minute the game changed on the foot of Neumann. The forward took a free kick from five yards outside the left corner of the box and struck with the inside of his foot. Neumann bent the ball past the Red Storm wall and into the top right corner of the net where it hit the bottom of the crossbar and went straight down just past the line to make it 1-0, which would stand at the half.
The lead didn't last long in the second half as a hard challenge from Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Gomez (Webster Groves, Mo./Webster Groves) was whistled for a penalty kick in the 47th minute. Red Storm sophomore defender Tim Parker took the kick and went to the right burying it in the back of the net for the equalizer and his first goal of the 2012 campaign.
Following the goal, the Hoyas tried to gain back some momentum with the offense pressing forward. Neumann had another free kick just outside the box and it resulted in a scramble in front of the net. GU got four good shots off attempting to take the lead as freshman forward Brandon Allen (Old Bridge, N.J./St. Joseph's) looked active.
As the play continued to be physical, fouls abounded on both ends of the field.
A free kick in the 65th minute at the top of the box gave senior midfielder Ian Christianson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Christian Life) an opportunity. His shot was saved by St. John's keeper Rafael Diaz, but the rebound was controlled by senior defender Jimmy Nealis (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) on the right side. Nealis sent it across the face of the goal and to Allen on the left side. Allen found a way to get through the scramble and slid it in from two yards out to give Georgetown the go-ahead goal.
St. John's had a final chance in the last few minutes of the game forcing Gomez to make the biggest save of the contest. A header to the left post found Sean Sepe at point-blank range. The sophomore keeper dove to the left to stop the hard shot and the rebound was cleared by the Hoya defense to hold on for the victory making the final 2-1.
"I've been saying it all year, it's our seniors that have been finding ways to win," said Wiese. "The play that made our second goal was Jimmy Nealis, instead of panicking he put a smart ball back into the mix. The guys are stepping up and making the plays we need them to make."
Georgetown outshot St. John's, 14-9, and took five corner kicks to the Red Storm's one. Gomez was awarded the win in the net with three saves on the afternoon and Diaz took the loss with two stops to his credit.
The Hoyas will move on to the semifinals on Friday, November 9 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Georgetown will play the winner of Louisville and Marquette. The Cardinals are the top seed out of the BIG EAST Red Division and the Golden Eagles are the fourth seed from the Blue Division. This season, Georgetown defeated Marquette, 2-1, at North Kehoe Field.
The game is scheduled 5 or 7:30 p.m., which will be announced tomorrow. The winner will advance to the championship which will be held on Sunday, November 11 at noon at Red Bull Arena.