Washington, D.C. – The Navy men’s soccer team had several chances to pull off the upset on Thursday afternoon At Shaw Field, but Georgetown’s Jacob Murrell scored a brace in the second half to secure the Hoyas a 2-0 win against the Midshipmen in the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
The Mids end the campaign at 7-5-9, putting together the program’s fourth-straight winning season and having earned Navy’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in nine years. Moving to 12-5-3 overall and drawing a Sunday trip to No. 15 seed Tulsa, Georgetown will make its sixth-straight appearance in the second round of the national tournament.
An early chance from Navy saw freshman forward A.J. Schuetz nearly connect on a cross from junior winger Jason Aoyama in the opening minutes, but Ryan Schewe beat Schuetz to the loose ball. Sophomore goalkeeper Pierce Holbrook had to make two stops at the other end, stopping Daniel Wu in the third minute before catching a knuckler of the shot from Diego Letayf at 10′.
A Navy corner kick at 15′ eventually led to a wide kick from senior midfielder Sam Kriel, while a Jack Panayotou shot from 16 yards out hit off the crossbar in the 30th minute on the other side of the field and a Kieran Sargeant shot off a scramble in the box sailed high at 41′ before Trevor Burns sent another shot over Holbrook and the net the following minute. Schuetz tested Schewe again at 43′ from 30 yards out, as Schewe had to jump to tip the Midshipman’s shot over the cross bar.
The Mids came out aggressive in the second half, as sophomore midfielder Wasswa Robbins found Schuetz in front two minutes in after beating two Hoya defenders, but the Georgetown side blocked Schuetz’ kick. After a Navy foul allowed a Georgetown restart near the Mids’ net, the crossing pass into the box found Kenny Nielson for a shot that was blocked, but Jacob Murell put home the rebound at 57′.
The Hoyas kept up the pressure as Holbrook continued to turn away shots and crosses, but Murell got the brace in the 70th minute when he caught a Zach Zengue pass at the 18-yard line, launching a shot into the top-left corner past Holbrook.
Going against the wind in the final 20 minutes, Navy nearly got a goal when a Robbins cross went off Schewe to junior forward Baba Kallie, but the Hoyas’ defense prevented Kallie from getting off a clean shot. While the Mids continued to press, the Hoyas were able to keep the sheet clean as time expired, setting up Georgetown for a meeting with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
“While I’m disappointed by today’s result, I’m proud of the way our team handled themselves,” said head coach Tim O’Donohue. “They continued to play through the final whistle, and the outcome today doesn’t take away from how hard they’ve battled all season and the run we went on the past few weeks to get here. This was a program-building moment for us, and we’re looking forward to what is ahead for this team next year. I also have to thank our six seniors for their leadership and commitment to Navy Soccer the past four seasons, and wish them luck as they now move on to join the fleet.”
Holbrook finished the afternoon with six saves, his eighth game this season with five-or-more saves, while Schewe made a pair of saves for the shutout.
The all-time series between the Mids and Hoyas now moves to 8-5-0 in favor of Navy.
For Navy, the four-straight winning seasons is the first time the program has accomplished that since 1973-80.