WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pitt men’s soccer (10-8-2 overall, 5-3-1 ACC) found itself frozen in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday, falling in a lopsided 5-0 match to the No. 3 seeded Georgetown Hoyas (16-1-3 overall, 7-0-2 Big East) at Shaw Field in Northwest Washington.
After disposing of the Patriot League Champion Lehigh Mountain Hawks 2-0 at home in the program’s first tournament game since 1965, the Panthers couldn’t muster any opposition to the onslaught put up by the Big East Champion Hoyas on a frigid afternoon, getting outshot in the contest 20-4.
Offensive keystone Edward Kizza was frustrated all afternoon, as the stout Georgetown defense managed to hold the native Ugandan without a single shot. His last appearance without an attempt on net came in the Panthers’ 2-0 win at Boston College on September 20. Pitt’s leading scorer this season with 12 goals, Kizza averaged 3.16 shots per game and 1.6 on goal.
After kicking off to start the match, Pitt found itself backed up in its own half with the Hoyas dominating possession throughout the game. Just over four minutes into the match, senior defender Dylan Nealis made the most of Georgetown’s possession, firing a shot past Pitt redshirt junior goalie Arie Ammann off an assist from junior forward Derek Dodson to open the scoring.
Dodson took just eight minutes to add another goal for Georgetown, working across the box with two Panthers draped all over him before turning back onto his right foot and curling a shot into the top right corner of the net to make it 2-0.
A Pitt foul on the left side of the box set up a Hoya free kick crossed in by junior Notre Dame transfer Paul Rothrock in the 20th minute. It deflected off Pitt defender Arturo Ordonez for an own goal and a 3-0 Georgetown lead — the score that would hold through the half-time whistle.
Pitt didn’t even register a shot until junior forward Alexander Dexter’s effort in the 36th minute forced first-year goalkeeper Tomas Romero to easily make his first save of the afternoon.
The Panthers saw one more quality chance before halftime as junior defender Bryce Washington headed a shot just wide right of the net off a corner kick in the 42nd minute.
After recording two shots in the last nine minutes of the first period, the Panthers continued to look livelier on both sides of the ball following the break despite still trailing 3-0. But they still found themselves unable to breakthrough or even challenge Romero in goal at all, until Dexter forced another save by the first-year in the 62nd minute.
Perhaps one of Pitt’s best possessions on the Hoyas’ side of the pitch ended up with junior midfielder Matt Bailey being whistled for offsides in the 65th minute, and Georgetown promptly responded with first-year forward WIll Sands thundering a shot off the left goal post.
The back-to-back Big East Defender of the Year Nealis continued his offensive impact, leaping onto the rebound and knocking it into the net off Ammann’s gloves, making it a four-goal advantage for the Hoyas and erasing any positive momentum built by the Panthers.
Georgetown added one more goal after a poor clearance attempt from Washington. First-year midfielder Aidan Rocha dribbled into Pitt’s box and rocketed a shot that was kicked away by Ammann, but the rebound ended up square in the feet of junior Foster McCune who tapped it into the wide open net for Georgetown’s fifth score.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, Ammann never seemed to lose confidence and did his part to limit the damage as much as possible. After a penalty was given on a foul from behind by substitute defender Alex Peperak, Ammann made a diving save to his right on Dodson, leaping back to his left at full extension to save the rebound effort by Rocha.
The Penn State transfer Ammann found himself busy all afternoon as Pitt’s defense allowed a season-high 20 shots with 12 of them coming on goal. The seven saves from the redshirt junior came second to his season high of nine saves, recorded in Pitt’s 1-1 overtime draw against Syracuse.
With the 5-0 win, the Hoyas advance to face the winner of Louisville and No. 14 seed UC-Davis on Dec. 1 back at Shaw Field. Georgetown’s lone loss of the season came in overtime to the Cardinals back on September 24.