No. 3 Georgetown eliminates No. 11 West Virginia from NCAA Tournament after penalties

Gold and Blue Nation

WVU brought the physicality -- but it all came down to the spectacular play of the Hoyas' goalkeeper

11-seed West Virginia men’s soccer was sent home from the NCAA Tournament on Saturday as No. 3 Georgetown survived and advanced in a penalty shootout at the Hoyas’ Shaw Field.

WVU played a physical match with Georgetown, and it paid off early as the Mountaineers took an early advantage. The physicality also proved to be their downfall as the Hoyas equalized with a second half penalty kick — foreshadowing for WVU’s eventual elimination.

WVU striker Yoran Popovic scored the first goal of the contest 16 minutes in, finishing off some crisp passing from Luke McCormick and Ike Swiger, who each got assists. That was the payoff of some high press by the Mountaineers, and in fact, Frederik Jorgensen was right next to Popovic readay to finish in case the striker couldn’t.

That early concession wasn’t indicative of the performance by Georgetown goalie Giannis Nikopolidis, however. Prior to that goal, he had already made one save before WVU would test him for another four shots on net in regulation.

The Hoyas knotted it up in the 67th minute as Aaron Denk Gracia was called for a foul in the box, allowing Dante Polvara to score a penalty kick and eventually send the match to overtime.

A scoreless two overtime periods led to WVU’s second penalty shootout of the NCAA Tournament. Once again, the final decision came down to goalkeeper heroics, but unfortunately for WVU, it was Nikopolidis’s three saves in the shootout that made the difference.

Nikopolidis’s great game was mirrored by that of WVU’s Steven Tekesky, who logged three saves in the game, including a point-blank stop to save the contest in the 97th minute of play. Tekesky started all 21 matches for WVU this season putting his career appearance total up to 82 — the highest-ever tally for a WVU goalkeeper, and tied for the fifth-most ever in program history with former defender Reed Cooper.

As a team, West Virginia was called for 18 fouls in the contest. To demonstrate the Mountaineers’ physicality, Georgetown received just five whistles by contrast.

The Hoyas advance to the Final Four in Cary, North Carolina, and await the winner of No. 10 Saint Louis and No. 2 Washington to know their opponent.

West Virginia’s historic run in the NCAA Tournament comes to an end in the Elite Eight. The Mountaineers finish the campaign with a 12-3-6 overall record, the team’s best mark since 2017.

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