Published: Friday, August 30, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013 11:08
With preseason complete and the season underway, both the Georgetown men’s and women’s soccer teams are gearing up for two matches this weekend.
The last time the Georgetown men’s soccer team took the pitch in a non-exhibition game, it was to face Indiana in the national championship last December. The Hoyas lost that game 1-0, a disappointing end to the most successful season in the program’s history.
On Friday afternoon, No. 3 Georgetown will kick off their 2013 campaign in Berkeley, Calif., against the Cal Golden Bears. It will be the first game of the year for both squads, but Head Coach Brian Wiese knows that his team can’t afford to show any rust.
“Hopefully we’ll hit the ground running,” Wiese said. “We need to get everyone on the same page, have the new guys assimilate and understand the expectations and the older players establish leadership roles.”
The Hoyas will play their second match of the weekend on Sunday against No. 20 Stanford. Despite failing to qualify for last year’s NCAA tournament and losing their top goal scorer, the Cardinals return this year with a national ranking and a projected third-place finish in the Pac 12 in the preseason coaches’ poll.
Wiese knows that Georgetown’s lofty preseason ranking guarantees his team nothing.
“We’re playing two teams this weekend that, in my mind, will be in the NCAA tournament on their home fields,” Wiese said. “We’re not going to sneak up on any teams this year: We’ll be tested right off the bat.”
While the men’s team treks across the country, the women’s squad remains a little closer to home this weekend. The No. 20 Hoyas (2-0, 0-0 Big East) will journey up M Street to George Washington (1-0, 0-0 Atlantic 10) on Friday before returning to Shaw Field on Sunday to host Virginia Commonwealth (0-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10).
The women’s season may be only two games old, but the Hoyas are already dealing with a rash of injuries that has plagued multiple starters, including graduate student forward Kaitlin Bast, senior defender Kailey Blain, junior midfielder Daphne Corboz and sophomore midfielder Marina Paul.
“We’re not a complete piece right now,” Head Coach Dave Nolan said. “We’re kind of juggling, so I’ve been pleased we’ve managed to win the first two games.”
It will be the fifth straight season that Georgetown and George Washington have met. The Hoyas have beaten their crosstown rival in those four previous matches, most recently tallying a 2-0 shutout in last year’s season opener. Despite the recent success, Nolan insists that the team has no illusions when it comes to dealing with the Colonials.
“We’re invariably always a big game on their schedule,” Nolan said. “[George Washington Head Coach Sarah Barnes] is a tremendous coach, and she’s getting what she wants from the kids. It’s going to be a very challenging game.”
When VCU travels to Georgetown Sunday, it will mark the Rams’ third game of the young season against a ranked team, that has already lost to No. 5 Virginia and No. 1 North Carolina. VCU is undoubtedly looking to prove their mettle against Georgetown but face a difficult task: getting past the Hoyas’ defense on Shaw Field.
William & Mary’s lone goal scored against Georgetown during the season opener was the first goal conceded by the Hoyas at home since Sept. 1, 2012. The Blue and Gray’s back four consists of senior defender Mary Kroening, senior defender Emily Menges, junior midfielder Alexa St. Martin and senior Colleen Dinn — who is listed as a forward but has played a big role in the backfield. They have played in a combined 260 games and started nearly 200. That experience, partnered with the skill of 2013 Big East Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year Emma Newins, will make scoring goals a daunting proposition for the Rams this Sunday.