BIG EAST Men's Soccer

BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship Semis: Creighton, Georgetown Advance

BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship Semis: Creighton, Georgetown Advance

The BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship's top seed and final qualifier will play for the right to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Nov 12, 2022 by Briar Napier
BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship Semis: Creighton, Georgetown Advance

In the hectic BIG EAST men's soccer world, it's truly always anyone's game.

And with the BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship's top seed and final qualifier playing for the right to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, could there be a better example of that?

Sure enough, it's the tournament favorite and the dangerous Cinderella squad duking it out for a trip to the national postseason, after each of those teams took care of business in their semifinal matchups Thursday, setting the stage for what should be an epic clash for glory in suburban Washington D.C.

Here's a look at the BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship semifinal matches that took place Thursday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland.

All tournament games are being broadcast live on FloFC.

Creighton Hits Seton Hall For Six

It already was well known coming into the BIG EAST Championship semifinals that Creighton had a fun, lethal attack that could put away goals in a hurry. Still, could anyone have expected the absolute decimation the Bluejays put on Seton Hall on Thursday night? 

In one of the most shocking results in recent BIG EAST Championship history, sixth-seeded Creighton blasted past the No. 2-seeded Pirates, 6-0, to get to the weekend's final in an incredible display of offensive firepower. 

It wasn't as shocking in the sense that Creighton didn't have the horses to pull off what it did, since the Bluejays have scored at least three goals in a match eight times this season, after all. 

It was more about the team they played against and the stage upon which they did it - and against one of the league's best goalkeepers in the Pirates' Hannes Ronnholmen. That is what was so stunning to watch. 

Recently crowned BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year Duncan McGuire started the scoring with a late first-half penalty, but after halftime is when the hometown kid from Omaha proved exactly why he was given that distinction. 

The junior forward tore apart Seton Hall's defense in the second half, scoring three goals in 13 minutes. He finished with a four-goal haul and the second hat-trick of his season. 

Jackson Castro and Mark O'Neill added goals before the final whistle (because, why not?), giving the Bluejays the new national lead in goals scored on the year with 50. McGuire claimed the top spot among individual scorers in America with a phenomenal 18 goals this season. 

How's that for a response following the run-of-the-mill 1-1 draw the two teams played to during their regular-season clash in mid-October?

Georgetown Escapes Butler In OT

Georgetown surely knows by now that its program is at a level that makes every team in the BIG EAST want to give the Hoyas their best shot. 

With that being said, GU definitely got Butler's best shot Thursday night. 

Still, with the way coach Brian Wiese's squad is playing, the attempts at upending the Hoyas are going to have to be even better heading deeper and deeper into the postseason. 

Late-blooming freshman Jack Panayotou was the hero for Georgetown as it advanced to the BIG EAST Championship title game, edging the Bulldogs in extra time, 2-1. The 5-foot-8 Massachusetts native has netted four goals in as many games for the Hoyas. 

Panayotou got his first goal in the 22nd minute, turning in a fantastic strike from the top of the 18-yard box - served with an assist by classmate Jacob Murrell - to get GU up early.

After a long lead, Butler finally broke through by leveling the score at 1-1 through DJ Hooks in the 77th minute. 

Panayotou came up clutch for the Hoyas early in extra time, picking up the brace when Georgetown needed it most, just five minutes into the additional frame. 

The Hoyas then held on for the rest of the way, sending them through and granting them the opportunity to play for their fifth BIG EAST Championship crown in six seasons. 

Georgetown is approaching two months without a loss. Its last defeat came at the hands of James Madison on Sept. 20.

The Hoyas' current form looks more like the Hoyas teams of recent years that largely ripped through the BIG EAST and made noise on the national stage. More of that could be coming, if GU keeps up its current level of quality.

Bluejays Look For Revenge On Biggest Stage

Since Georgetown shockingly lost to St. John's to open up its BIG EAST season way back in mid-September, it's almost as if the Hoyas forgot how to lose against league opposition.

Without looking it up, can you guess which team GU beat to kickstart its now 10-match unbeaten run against conference foes? 

That would be when it beat Creighton on Sept. 24, with the host Hoyas getting goals from Murrell and Daniel Wu to push past the Bluejays in a 2-1 triumph. 

But, much like Georgetown is a different side than it was in September, Creighton is a very, very different squad than perhaps the Hoyas last remember. 

The main difference is McGuire. Since being held without a goal against Georgetown that night, he's only failed to score in one other match since - a run of form that has included goals in 9-of-10 games and an incredible 13 goals in total, rocketing him up to the lead (and as a serious candidate to win) in the national Golden Boot race. 

If that in itself doesn't get the Hoyas' attention, the four-goal game in Creighton's semifinal win over Seton Hall should. It was an output that proved McGuire to be perhaps America's most dangerous striker at the moment. 

Nonetheless, if there's a defense in the BIG EAST that specializes in neutralizing scoring threats, it's Georgetown's. 

On top of being one of the few teams in the league to essentially shut down McGuire, the back line is playing at an elite level as of late, allowing just one goal over the past five matches, combined with five clean sheets since a win against Providence on Oct. 12.

Plus, as an NCAA Tournament College Cup qualifier in two of its past three tries, Georgetown has seen (and knows how to deal with) the elite of the elite offensive producers in the country. 

Get ready to see two talented programs bring out the best their separate styles have to offer this weekend.