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Georgetown goalie Anderson Moore readies for a shot.

'It Was a Matter of Time': Moore, Georgetown Rally Against Penn State

May 12, 2024
Patrick Stevens
Georgetown Athletics

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It took a while for Anderson Moore to settle in for his first NCAA tournament game Sunday afternoon.

The same can be said for his Georgetown teammates as well.

Moore didn’t make a save until the second quarter but stopped 10 of the last 14 shots on goal he saw, and the eighth-seeded Hoyas rallied from a five-goal deficit to dispatch Penn State 12-9 before 2,532 at Cooper Field.

“At some point, you just have to make one, and it’s going to happen,” Moore said. “From there, you just keep stacking. It was a matter of time, basically. Just stick to what I do and eventually I’ll make a save because I’ve done it all season.”

Jordan Wray scored four goals for Georgetown (13-3), which will face top-seeded Notre Dame in Saturday’s quarterfinals in Hempstead, N.Y. The Hoyas have won 13 of 14, including dealing Notre Dame its only loss of the season on Feb. 25.

Matt Traynor had three goals and TJ Malone added two goals and two assists for the Nittany Lions (11-5), who were shut out over the final 18:40 and limited to two scores in the last 36:58.

“Offensively, we thought we got off to a really good start because we were sharing the ball and moving off the ball,” Penn State coach Jeff Tambroni said. “I thought we slowed significantly in the offense in terms of our ability to share the ball and share dodging opportunities. We tended to look to TJ probably a little bit too much. He was doing a good job early. If we had just shared the possessions, shared our dodges, I think we would have had a little bit more success.”

Tambroni was quick to credit Moore and the rest of the Georgetown defense for playing a part in the Nittany Lions’ struggles. But it was also clear Penn State — with a roster filled with players who own Memorial Day Weekend experience from a year ago — applied more pressure in the early stages.

Traynor had his hat trick in a little less than 22 minutes, and Malone collected his fourth point on an assist to Luke Walstrum when the Nittany Lions went up 7-2. While Georgetown was competitive on faceoffs, it was challenged on defense and struggled to generate early looks on Penn State goalie Jack Fracyon (13 saves).

Something flipped during the TV timeout that followed Walstrum’s goal. Georgetown coach Kevin Warne couldn’t pin it on much beyond the Hoyas’ resilience, which was on prominent display a week earlier when they rallied for overtime defeats of Providence and Villanova in the Big East tournament.

Tambroni saw it as a string of Georgetown faceoff victories, coupled with some undisciplined play by his own team. By the time Graham Bundy Jr. zipped in a goal with 9.7 seconds before the break, the Hoyas were within 7-6.

“Even though we were up 7-2, I thought we could have easily stretched that to 8- or 9-2,” Tambroni said. “[We had] some unforced errors, and that put us in position to go into halftime maybe not feeling as good as we should have with a lead. You tell us we’re going into halftime 7-6, OK, it’s two evenly matched teams. The way it was, it probably felt worse because of the way we were playing in that second quarter.”

By then, Moore had started to settle in. After allowing the first five shots on goal to get through, the freshman made two stops in the second quarter, then four more in the third and another four in the final period.

The last goal he yielded came when he made a save and had to move away from the goalmouth to collect the rebound. Instead, Sean Donnelly snagged the carom and tossed it in to make it 9-7.

“I thought he handled himself very well,” Warne said of the Big East’s freshman of the year. “He could have gone either way after those first couple ones, and you could tell [from] his body language that he felt like he should have had those. You just stick with a kid who is uber-uber-talented.”

Eventually, Georgetown’s offense came around, too. Freshman defenseman Ty Banks scored in transition in the first minute of the fourth quarter, and Wray knotted it on a rebound with 11:54 left. Patrick Crogan gave the Hoyas their first lead with a backhanded shot almost exactly as the shot clock expired with 8:31 left, a call that stood after Tambroni used his first challenge of the season and burned a timeout in the process.

This surge came without faceoff man James Ball, who experienced cramping and was helped off in the third quarter. Matthew Riley, who had attempted just eight faceoffs in seven games since March 30, stepped in to go 3-for-7.

“I think this team runs really deep, from top to bottom,” Crogan said.

Another Crogan goal with 7:10 left and freshman Jack Schubert’s empty netter in the final minute provided a cushion for Georgetown, who pinged the post five times over the course of the afternoon. On another day that might have been a great what-if had the Hoyas’ season come to an end.

Instead, they’re off to the quarterfinals for the third time in four years.

“Aim small, miss small, right?” Warne said. “There are times where you hit the pipe a lot and it’s a built-in excuse. And I think our guys just kept after it. [Fracyon] is a tremendous goalie, and he is awesome. You have to shoot really smart on him. We were picking good spots, but we decided to hit the pipe, not inside. But we knew, ‘Just stay with it,’ and they were going to drop.”