The Georgetown men’s soccer team has kept their run for a championship alive as they defeated the University of Maryland tonight in a penalty kick shootout. The Hoyas slotted four penalty shots past the Maryland keeper opposed to only three by the Terps, pushing them through to the program’s first College Cup championship game. They will play Indiana University this Sunday, December 9 at 2:00 p.m.
It was Maryland who struck first with a goal in the 22nd minute though off a flick into the box that was then headed past sophomore goalkeeper Tomas Gomez, putting the burden on Georgetown to respond. Upon further review the goal’s integrity was put into question because a Maryland forward was clearly offside when Schillo Tshuma scored. Junior forward Steve Neumann did not let the Terps settle into a rhythm, though, when just over ten minutes later he fired a shot left of the Maryland keeper for the equalizer. The ball originated on the outside left and was crossed inside the 18’ where sophomore midfielder Tyler Rudy headed it back to Neumann who put it in the back of the net.
Neumann was back at it only two minutes later when he received the ball just outside the 18’ and sent it off the left post, bouncing into the goal for his and Georgetown’s second. After falling behind, Maryland began to step up their offensive pressure with several opportunities on the Hoyas’ defensive half. Gomez and the defenders kept the Terps from scoring though as the minutes ran down and the half ended with a 2-1 Georgetown lead.
Three minutes into the start of the second half, the Hoyas put another goal on the board when Maryland keeper Keith Cardona attempted to clear a ball out of the box but was met by freshman forward Brandon Allen, who knocked his kick right past him and in to make the score 3-1. From this point on the Terps began to infiltrate Georgetown’s defensive half more effectively with wide sweeps down the lines and through balls into the box. In the 59th minute, Maryland began their comeback when they were able to drive the ball inside the 18’ and chip it to Tshuma in the middle, who volleyed it past Gomez.
Two minutes after play resumed, Neumann upgraded his performance from great to sensational when he secured his hat trick. Senior forward Andy Reimer received the ball as he ran down the left side of the field and crossed a bullet inside the 6’, where the sliding Neumann tapped it in to put the Hoyas up by two goals for the second time in the game. The Terps were not about to give the game away, though, as they responded with frequent attacks on the Hoya goal. Thirteen minutes passed before they were able to get the ball past Gomez again, but within a three minute period both Patrick Mullins and Christiano Francois were able to score for Maryland, tying the score at four goals apiece. Gomez continued to make save after save for the remaining minutes of regulation, but without a goal from either team the game was sent into overtime.
The first overtime was ten minutes of back and forth fighting for offensive opportunities by each team. With close to three minutes left though the Hoyas received a corner kick which Neumann sent straight into the box. The ball was sent over the crossbar with a strong header though and the score remained tied. Seconds before the first overtime ended, Maryland was able to blast a shot to the upper right corner but Gomez elevated himself to block the shot out of bounds, preventing the Maryland victory.
Neumann received Georgetown’s best chance to score in the second overtime when he battled through two defenders and took an open left-footed shot, but the ball sailed wide left. The clock continued to run as the game got closer and closer to penalty kicks. The Hoya defense dealt with a close call just outside the 6’ when a clearing attempt ricocheted off a fellow defender’s head and back into the box. Mullins attempted to slot the ball left passed Gomez but a firm shoulder caused his shot to fly wide. With the pressure of golden goal double overtime over, both teams mentally prepared for a final penalty kick shootout.
Georgetown started off the penalty kicks by sending Neumann up for the first shot. He calmly slotted the ball down and right seemingly without much difficulty, giving the Hoyas their first of five possible. Maryland followed suit as they also shot the ball into the bottom, right corner past Gomez. The second shot was taken by Senior Tommy Muller, who attempted to go left but was denied by Cardona. Maryland made their second penalty kick to put them ahead two shots to one. Senior midfielder Ian Christianson then fired his shot straight down the middle for the Hoyas’ second as Cardona dove left. After Maryland added its third successful kick, Reimer fooled the keeper by opening his hips right but pushing the ball left to put both teams at three. Gomez then came up with a huge block on the left side of the goal to keep the teams even. Finally for the Hoyas, senior defender Jimmy Nealis shot the ball right past Cardona for Georgetown’s fourth. The game would come down to Maryland’s final attempt, but Gomez would again stretch out and block the Terps’ last shot.
“I think it’s our resiliency, I mean we were up 4-2 and gave up two goals, but we still had the fight to come back and not lose it in overtime and get the win in PKs,” Neumann said to a reporter.
“It’s tough to beat us,” he later added. No kidding.
Photo: Miles Gavin Meng
Taken at game against San Diego earlier last Saturday.