Men’s Soccer Falls to Georgetown, 3-2


Olivia Pasquale/Villanovan Photography

Balthi Saunders (above) and Branden Johns each scored in Villanova’s loss to Georgetown.

Owen Hewitt, Staff Writer

Villanova men’s soccer lost 3-2 to the Georgetown Hoyas at Higgins Soccer Complex on Saturday afternoon. The loss drops the Wildcats to 5-6-2 overall and 2-4-1 in the Big East. Villanova’s goals came from sophomore forward Balthi Saunders in the 70th minute and junior midfielder Branden Johns in the 89th. The loss is Villanova’s 15th consecutive to Georgetown. The last time the ‘Cats scraped a point against the Hoyas was in 2008, and the last victory against the Hoyas came in 2007.

Georgetown got out on the front foot Saturday afternoon, scoring three first half goals. The first came from freshman forward Jacob Murell in the 15th minute when a cross came into the danger area and Murrell was able to redirect the ball past graduate keeper Kent Dickey. 

Things calmed down after the initial goal until around the 38th, when a nifty piece of passing set up junior forward Marlon Tabora. Tabora converted into the bottom left corner to make the score 2-0. 

The Hoyas didn’t have to wait long for a third goal, with freshman midfielder Max Viera finding the back of the net in the 40th, putting the game seemingly out of reach within the first half. 

At the half, both teams were even in shots with five, but Georgetown had converted three of their shots into goals. The Wildcats didn’t go down without a fight, as they were able to pull two goals back in the second half. 

The Wildcats next match comes against UConn at home on Wednesday. UConn currently sits with five points in the conference standings, with the team’s lone conference win coming against Providence. Two of the ‘Cats final three games come against teams with one or fewer conference wins, as the DePaul Blue Demons, who the ‘Cats face to close the season on Nov. 2, currently have four points, all from draws. 

The ‘Cats currently stand at seventh in the conference with seven points. Villanova has three Big East matches remaining to reach a spot in the conference tournament, with the top six in the conference qualifying for the tournament. Villanova currently is on the outside looking in, with sixth-place St. John’s holding the final spot with just eight points on one fewer match played.

The ‘Cats only have one game remaining against a team in the conferences’ top six teams, a fixture at Seton Hall on Saturday. The match against the Pirates will be a crucial point in Villanova’s journey toward both the Big East Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.

In such a tight conference race, the ‘Cats are still in the picture for a home semi-final game. The ‘Cats would need significant help, but if they can win two of their last three games while Seton Hall loses all three of its remaining conference matches, Villanova could end up tied with the Pirates in the standings. Home field advantage or not, what’s crucial for the ‘Cats is their match at Seton Hall, as it provides the last opportunity for the team to steal points from a tournament team.

At this moment, the Wildcats do not control their own destiny when it comes to securing a spot in the Big East tournament. They will need some help from a team in the tournament dropping at least one game over the next three matchdays. The team to keep an eye on as a potential team to drop out is Providence. Providence, like Villanova, has played seven games and holds just a two point lead on the ‘Cats. The Friars have two top six teams left on their schedule, as they host St. John’s and travel to Xavier. But regardless of what’s going on around them, if the ‘Cats want a chance to break into the Big East tournament, they’ll need to do their part first and win matches.