The announcer at North Kehoe Field tried to keep the boisterous sellout crowd under control. Twice he warned the student section that was stacked multiple rows deep that "fans are not permitted on the field after the game."
But his efforts were futile. Confetti flew through the air, and the sellout crowd stormed the field to celebrate Georgetown's 3-1 victory over San Diego in the Elite Eight. The Hoyas will advance to the Final Four in Hoover, Ala., to play Maryland (who won the semifinal against Louisville).
Freshman Melvin Snoh netted the game-winner on his first career goal in the 72nd minute.
"A team is about guys stepping up and making plays. Sometimes, it's the guys who have been doing it for you all year," Georgetown coach Brian Wiese said. "That's the fun thing on a run like this. Different guys step up and make plays."
Playing its first quarterfinal since 1992, USD was the surprise of the NCAA tournament after fighting back from 1-nil deficits against three ranked opponents — No. 25 Cal State Northridge, No. 4 UCLA and No. 20 Tulsa. But the Cinderella story came to a sudden end on Saturday.
Blake Milton gave USD its first 1-0 lead of the tournament in the 49th minute when he headed Dan Delgado's corner kick into the net.
Just a minute later, Georgetown midfielder Steve Neumann served a free kick into the box and USD headed the ball into its own net for the equalizer.
"I think if we would have kept it 1-0 for a little bit longer, I think we would have managed the game," Milton said. "But then they scored a minute later, and I think that broke our neck."
Wiese echoed Milton's sentiment.
"San Diego is the epitome of resiliency. They've been down 1-nothing, on the road in all three games they've played coming into here," he said. "The fact that we got a goal back so fast was really important. It didn't turn into a game where they were suddenly going to sit in and try to keep a 1-nothing lead."
Georgetown recorded the game-winner on another set piece from Neumann in the 72nd minute. He angled a free kick toward the far post and freshman forward Snoh slid in to tap the ball home for his first career goal.
"It was nice to get my first goal in this atmosphere," Snoh said. "I just beat my guy to the spot, and [Neumann] put the ball in the right place, and I was there."
The never-say-die Tereros fought to get back in the match and had several good opportunities. But as USD pushed all of its defenders up to put pressure on Georgetown, Andy Reimer broke into the open field and followed his shot off the post for the game clincher in the 87th minute.
"How we responded after going down a goal is what these guys have been doing all year," Wiese said. "To do it in this setting, in the Elite Eight game is just a tribute to the leaders that we have on the field."