WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University men’s soccer team lost a heartbreaker to the Southern Methodist University Mustangs, 2-1, in double overtime in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament on a windy day at Shaw Field on Sunday. The Hoyas knocked in an own goal with 14 ticks remaining before heading to penalty kicks. Georgetown finishes the season with a mark of 14-4-2.
The deciding goal came after a hard-fought battle from both sides. With under a minute to go in the game, the Mustangs were sending balls in across the face of the goal. A miscommunication on the Hoya defense resulted in the ball being knocked into the net and sending the Mustangs into the third round.
“I thought our guys were managing the game well and it was a pretty comfortable 1-0 lead at that time, but in the NCAA Tournament we’ve had some pretty crushing moments here where you’re at a one-goal lead and suddenly something happens and you always know that’s in the cards,” said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese. “I’m really proud of this team. They’ve been fantastic all year and what really hurts is that I think this team thought they could make the College Cup, and they’ll have to use this for real motivation in the offseason which starts tomorrow.”
The first chance of the game was a dangerous Mustang header from close range. Junior goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski (Alamo, Calif./De La Salle) was perfectly positioned and made the stop, controlling it to avoid the rebound. The Hoyas answered back with two solid possessions as GU looked good in the box but only got one shot on target.
Georgetown got on the board first as a run on the left side freed senior Declan McCabe (Weston, Mass./The Rivers School) and he hit it to freshman Jacob Montes (Lake Worth, Fla./Beaverton [Ore.]) who split a pair of defenders and slid in the goal at the far post to make it 1-0 in the 18th minute.
The Hoya defense then buckled down hoping to hold the shutout for the remainder of the contest. The teams went into the break with Georgetown leading, 1-0.
With the wind at their back, the Hoyas came out searching for an insurance goal in the second half. Senior captain Christopher Lema (Ridgefield, N.J./Ridgefield Memorial) had a golden opportunity in the 60th minute with a free kick just outside the box. His strike clanged off of the crossbar, just inches from changing the game.
In the end, however, it was SMU that changed the game as the Mustangs found the back of the net in the 82nd minute. Off of the broken free kick, the ball went to the top left corner of the box. Nicky Hernandez looped in a high ball into the wind to the far post and Marcinkowski lost his footing as Jordan Cano was able to get a head on it and send it in to tie the game at one.
The pace of the game picked up as both teams searched for the game winner in the waning minutes. Georgetown had chances, but it was SMU that had the best look as a counter resulted in a 1v1 between a Mustang and Marcinkowski. The junior keeper made a diving save to his left to keep the game tied.
In the final two minutes, it looked as though GU would come away with it when a shot from freshman Derek Dodson (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) hit the post, and the rebound was send in by McCabe with the keeper out of position. His shot was stopped by the Mustang defense forcing the extra minutes.
The Hoyas were the attacking team in the first overtime as SMU keeper Michael Nelson was forced to come up with some big stops. On a counter after a beautiful look from Montes, Marcinkowski was tasked with another save as the action was end to end.
In the second overtime, SMU was the more dangerous team as the squad was whipping balls across the face. Marcinkowski once again came up with a world-class save to keep is tied. Unfortunately, in the final seconds, the own goal was scored before the teams could decide it in penalty kicks.
The Hoyas outshot the Mustangs, 18-17, and both teams attempted six corner kicks in the even match. Marcinkowski managed seven stops in the net, while Nelson had six stops and his teammates were credited with a team save.
The Hoyas finish the season with a mark of 14-4-2. Georgetown claimed the 2017 BIG EAST Championship and earned an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. It marked the second championship in three years for the Blue & Gray as well as the second tournament championship in program history.