The last sequence did not transpire as suddenly as the others. Instead, it was a steady and gratifying countdown culminating in all the Hoyas spilling onto the weathered, green-and-yellow pitch to celebrate their first trip in seven years to the College Cup, soccer’s version of the Final Four.
Third-seeded Georgetown (18-1-3) will head to Cary, N.C., and face No. 7 Stanford (14-2-5) on Friday.
Unbeaten in 15 straight matches, the Big East champions will join top-seeded Virginia, which advanced Friday by defeating SMU in extra time to earn a date with No. 4 Wake Forest, which beat UC Santa Barbara, 1-0, Saturday.
The last time Georgetown reached the College Cup was 2012, when it edged Maryland in the semifinals before losing to Indiana in the final.
“This was our goal from the beginning, to get to the College Cup for an opportunity to win the whole thing,” said Dodson, who shattered the deadlock in the 76th minute. “We just keep checking boxes, so hopefully we can check another one on Friday."
After plowing through their first two tournament matches with 10 goals, the Hoyas faced adversity for much of the afternoon. Jaret Townsend scored for the No. 6 Huskies (17-4-0) in the fourth minute, and the Hoyas labored to solve the visitors’ puzzle.
The Hoyas had scored in the first five minutes of their previous two matches.
“We told the guys you have to win the first 10 minutes,” Hoyas Coach Brian Wiese said, “and we lost the first 10 minutes badly. Score line aside, they were doing what they wanted to do. This was really good for us. This game really put us out of our comfort zone, and they still found a way to get through it. ”
Montes, the ringleader last weekend against Louisville with two goals and two assists, provided the long-awaited breakthrough on a sensational free kick in the 72nd minute.
“We were really comfortable until that goal,” Washington Coach Jamie Clark said. “It took a special play. ”
Montes had drawn the foul about 25 yards from the target.
“When I went down for the foul, I basically took the ball and was going to take control,” he said. “I just had to put it on target. Right when I hit it, I knew it was going in.”
Montes lifted the ball over the wall and out of goalkeeper Sam Fowler’s reach, placing it into the right side for his team-best 11th goal.
“We came out after that just rolling,” Montes said.
Four minutes later, center back Rio Hope-Gund played a low pass through midfield to Dodson, who took the initiative and veered to his right before striking a low shot from 20 yards that touched off Fowler’s right hand and rolled into the left side for his 10th goal.
Bruised by Washington’s early goal — just the 11th they’ve conceded this year — the Hoyas did not budge after they had seized the lead.
“Definitely hectic,” right back Dylan Nealis said of the last 15 minutes, “but I knew we weren’t going to give up anything once we scored that goal. ”
When the final seconds melted away, the Hoyas celebrated among themselves, then dashed to the far sideline and formed a line to slap hands with students lining the field. In 14 home appearances, the only blemishes were a pair of draws against conference opponents.
This victory also ended years of postseason disappointment. Since the 2012 College Cup berth, the Hoyas had lost in the round of 16 three times, the quarterfinals once and the round of 32 once — all at Shaw Field.
“You get a great crowd; the students are popping,” Wiese said. “This is a special game to play, but it’s an even more special game to win because of what it means."
And with the victory, the Hoyas will continue a quest that narrowly eluded them in 2012 outside Birmingham, Ala., and did not materialize in subsequent autumns.
“It’s a lot of validation for how hard they work,” said Wiese, in his 14th season. “I do think we started off preseason with a group that believed they were deep, believed they were good, and then the season proves it out. ”
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