Nov. 11, 2012
CHESTER, Pa. - The second-seeded Georgetown University men's soccer team fell in a 3-2 heartbreaker to the third-seeded University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish (16-3-1) in the BIG EAST Championship at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., on Sunday. Late goals in regulation and double overtime gave UND the victory as the Hoyas dropped to 17-3-1 overall. The Hoyas will now wait for the NCAA Tournament selections to be announced on Monday.
"This is an incredibly difficult tournament to win, it's very reasonable facsimile to the NCAA Tournament," said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese. "Taking a step back, if you're a fan of the game, it was a pretty exciting college soccer game. There was plenty of drama, and plenty of heartbreak from our point of view."
It was Notre Dame that had the first opportunity of the game, hitting the crossbar just two minutes in and later firing just wide left. The Fighting Irish possessed the ball, but the Hoya defense was also at its best in keeping it scoreless.
It was a physical game early and both teams were setting the pace for a battle.
The Georgetown offense began to get going late in the half following the TV timeout.
The game changed in the 39th minute when sophomore midfielder Tyler Rudy (Olney, Md./Sherwood) served in the ball from the right side. He found freshman forward Melvin Snoh (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) at the far post who got a foot on it and hit it across in the middle of a UND scramble. The ball came to senior midfielder Andy Riemer (McLean, Va./Georgetown Prep) who tapped it in to give the Hoyas the 1-0 lead as the pro-Georgetown crowd went wild.
Moments later, it looked as though the Blue & Gray would add one more, when a long cross went to Rudy who slid it into the net, but the goal was called off due to a handball.
With time winding down, junior forward Steve Neumann (New Hope, Pa./Council Rock North) fired from 30-yards out and forced keeper Patrick Wall to knock it over the crossbar.
The Blue & Gray went into the half with momentum and a 1-0 lead.
Georgetown looked sharp starting the second half, but in the 51st minute the Irish countered. A give and go allowed junior defender Luke Mishu to get free and he passed to the middle of the box where senior forward Ryan Finley was charging. Finley took one touch and fired for the equalizer.
Following the goal, Notre Dame took some of the momentum with a number of good counters and the Hoya defense was truly tested, while GU keeper Tomas Gomez (Webster Groves, Mo./Webster Groves) was forced to make some stops.
Riemer found a way once again for the Blue & Gray, finding the back of the net in the 82nd minute. Senior defender Jimmy Nealis (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) popped the ball into the box and Riemer shot it into the right corner of the net sending the crowd into a frenzy and giving Georgetown the lead.
UND answered pressuring hard for the final minutes trying to find the equalizer on setpieces. The Fighting Irish found their answer with just 33 seconds left in the game as sophomore midfielder Nick Besler headed in a high cross from senior midfielder Danny O'Leary to tie it at two.
As overtime began, it was Notre Dame that initially looked dangerous with a pair of dangerous crosses into the box. The second save was a tough one for Gomez who was injured on the play forcing, junior goalkeeper Keon Parsa (West Hills, Calif. El Camino Real) to enter the contest.
Gomez reentered the game with three minutes remaining in the first overtime as the Hoya offense couldn't get anything going.
In the second 10-minute stanza, the Blue & Gray looked better on offense but neither squad had a solid chance until 2:36 when a UND foul resulted in a free kick five yards outside the top of the box. The shot went just high and resulted in a breakaway on the other end. Senior defender Tommy Muller (Altamonte Springs, Fla./Trinity Prep) managed a sliding tackle to stop it, but awarded the Fighting Irish a corner. Off of the setpiece, Finley got above everyone and headed it into the right corner in the 109th minute resulting in the sudden death goal and the 2-1 decision.
The Hoyas were outshot, 22-13, and both teams were awarded seven corner kicks. Gomez took the loss in the net with five saves, while Wall took the win posting four.
Neumann, Allen, Nealis and Riemer all earned a spot on the All-Tournament team for the Blue & Gray.
The Hoyas will now wait for the NCAA Tournament field to be announced. The selection show will be shown live on NCAA.com at 5:30 p.m. ET on Monday, November 12.
The committee will select 48 teams and the top 16 teams will be seeded and earn a first-round bye. First round games will be held on November 15 and second round competition is slated for November 18 at 16 campus sites.