Georgetown holds off St. John's (N.Y.) to earn spot in Big East semifinals
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Georgetown (16-2-1) made history on Saturday defeating St. John's (N.Y.) (10-4-4) 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at North Kehoe Field. The second-seeded Hoyas, bolstered by goals from their top two scorers, advanced to the tournament semifinals for the first time since it moved to Red Bull Arena.
"I'm really, really happy for the team," Georgetown head coach Brian Wiese said. "If you look at the quarterfinal field for this league, all eight teams are NCAA Tournament teams so it's great preparation for postseason. If you can win this league, you can win the whole thing. So if we had been in a different situation [Saturday] and lost, there's no shame in it, but it would have been heartbreaking for the boys because getting to Red Bull is what they've been talking about all year."
The win against the third-seeded Red Storm was especially meaningful since St. John's eliminated Georgetown in the quarterfinals of last year's conference tournament. The Red Storm went on to win the championship.
This will be Georgetown's first semifinal appearance since the 2004 season.
St. John's looked strong at the top of the box early in the game, but it was the Hoyas that came up with the first opportunity.
In the 13th minute, sophomore midfielder Tom Skelly cut through the defense and fired to the crossbar. The rebound went to junior forward Steve Neumann, who shot high from just four yards out.
The Hoyas continued to pressure and in the 25th minute, Neumann took a free kick from five yards outside the left corner of the box and bent the ball past the Red Storm goal line for a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
The lead didn't last long in the second half as a hard challenge from Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Gomez was whistled for a penalty kick in the 47th minute. Red Storm sophomore defender Tim Parker scored the equalizer for his first goal of the 2012 campaign.
Senior midfielder Ian Christianson shot a free kick in the 66th minute that was saved by St. John's keeper Rafael Diaz. The rebound was controlled by senior defender Jimmy Nealis and eventually scored by freshman Brandon Allen from two yards out to give Georgetown the go-ahead goal.
St. John's had a final chance in the last few minutes when Sean Sepe shot from point-blank range. The shot was saved and the rebound was cleared by the Hoya defense to hold on for the 2-1 final score.
"I've been saying it all year, it's our seniors that have been finding ways to win," Wiese said. "The play that made our second goal was [from] Jimmy Nealis -- instead of panicking he put a smart ball back into the mix. The guys are stepping up and making the plays we need them to make."
Georgetown outshot St. John's 14-9 and took five corner kicks to the Red Storm's one. Gomez was awarded the win in the net with three saves on the afternoon and Diaz took the loss with two stops to his credit.
The Hoyas move on to the semifinals on Friday at Red Bull Arena.