Men's Soccer Advances to National Championship Game on Penalty Kicks
Dec. 8, 2012
HOOVER, Ala. - The Georgetown University men's soccer team found a way to keep the season alive and make history on Friday evening as the Hoyas tied the University of Maryland, 4-4, in the College Cup semifinal at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. The Hoyas tied the Terps but advanced on penalty kicks, 4-3, to play for the national championship.
"That was a pretty exciting game, I think ESPN is pretty happy nobody decided to play defense today," said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese. "It's a great result for us. People who haven't been following this team might be surprised by some things, but this is a group of guys who have been doing all this all season."
This will be the first trip to the national championship game for the Hoyas and just the fifth appearance for a Georgetown team in the department's long history.
The first opportunity of the game from sophomore midfielder Tyler Rudy (Olney, Md./Sherwood) who fired over the goal in the eighth minute.
Maryland answered gaining possession with a pair of corner kicks resulting in one shot that went high.
The game changed in the 22nd minute when a serve from John Stertzer into the box was flicked on by Patrick Mullins. The ball found the head of Schillo Tshuma who headed into the high right corner of the net to make it 1-0.
Georgetown gained possession and began to methodically work through the defense resulting in a pair of corners on the other end.
Despite two corners, it wasn't a set piece resulting in the first Hoya goal of the game. In the 33rd minute, senior defender Jimmy Nealis (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) served it across the box to the far post. Rudy headed it over to junior forward Steve Neumann (New Hope, Pa./Council Rock North) who fired low to the left corner for the equalizer from a few yards out.
The Blue & Gray didn't wait long to attack again as freshman defender Keegan Rosenberry (Ronks, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) came down the right side and found Neumann almost 30 yards from goal on the right wing. Neumann fired a long shot which hit the far post and ricocheted back into the net, barely crossing the line to give Georgetown the 2-1 lead.
With five minutes left, Maryland had two more good looks, but both were stopped as sophomore goalkeeper Tomas Gomez (Webster Groves, Mo./Webster Groves) made some big plays to help the Blue & Gray go into the break leading, 2-1.
The stats were incredibly even at the half with both teams managing six shots and two corners.
Freshman forward Brandon Allen (Old Bridge, N.J./St. Joseph's) added his 16th goal of the season in the 48th minute in an unlikely circumstance. Allen moved forward pressuring Maryland keeper Keith Cardona on a clear and managed to block it back into the net making the score, 3-1.
Maryland wasn't going to sit back, however, as Mullins crossed the ball from the left and Tshuma headed it right back in to pull within one in the 59th minute.
Neumann continued his assault on the Terp defense just two minutes later when senior midfielder Andy Riemer (McLean, Va./Georgetown Prep) fired a low ball across the face from the right side. Neumann came sliding in to push the ball in for the hat trick, the first of his career.
A shot from Mikey Ambrose hit the crossbar in the 74th minute as Maryland continued to pressure to come back. The rebound went right to the head of Mullins who directed it in to once again pull the Terps within one, 4-3.
Just two minutes later, Maryland found the equalizer on a goal from Christiano Francois who weaved through the defense and shot from 15 yards out into the right corner of the net.
Maryland possessed off of the kickoff and Francois had another look at the net which went high as the minutes ticked away. With five minutes to go, Gomez came up with a huge save on a breakaway from Tshuma and another shot went just over the crossbar as the Terps continued to hold the ball late.
Two UMD corners in the final two minutes were once again close, but the Georgetown defense stood strong. In the final seconds, Allen had a last chance to get the win, but Cardona saved it to force overtime tied at four.
Maryland possessed for much of the first overtime with the only good Georgetown look coming on a Riemer header. In the final minute, Gomez came up with a huge save at the near post to keep even.
Neumann took the lone shot of the second overtime period as the exhausted squads couldn't find the equalizer. The Hoya defense stopped the high-pressure Maryland offense and with time winding down it was clear the game would result in a tie and go to penalty kicks.
The situation was no different than two weeks prior when the Blue & Gray advanced on PK's against Syracuse.
Neumann shot first and converted as the Terp player did as well. Georgetown's second shot was saved putting the Hoyas at a disadvantage. Senior Ian Christianson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Christian Life) and Riemer both connected and with the score 3-3, Gomez came up with a huge save to even it out.
Nealis took the final penalty kick for Georgetown and confidently found the back of the net leaving it all up to Gomez. The sophomore didn't disappoint anticipating the direction and making a solid save as the team went wild.
Georgetown was outshot, 18-12, and took three corner kicks to Maryland's nine. Gomez posted two saves, while Cardone had three to his credit.
Neumann's hat trick was the first of his college career and the first in the College Cup since 1993.
"Stevie is able to do this stuff, he can create goals out of nothing," said Wiese.
The eight goals tied for the second-most in College Cup history. It also marked the first time a team has scored four goals in a semifinal game since 2006.
The Hoyas have still never beaten Maryland, but now move to 0-28-1 in the overall record.
Georgetown will play for the national championship on Sunday against the Indiana University Hoosiers at 2 p.m. ET. The contest can be watched live on ESPNU or WatchESPN.com with Glenn Davis and Taylor Twellman on the call. Fans can listen to Dan Helfrich and Tom Greaser as well as follow the live stats through GUHoyas.com.