FILE PHOTO: NAAZ MODAN/THE HOYA Junior defender Joshua Yaro was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Georgetown was eliminated from the NCAA tournament Sunday by Boston College.
Junior defender Joshua Yaro was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Georgetown was eliminated from the NCAA tournament Sunday by Boston College.

Entering the 2015 season, the Georgetown men’s soccer team (16-2-3, 9-0-0 Big East) faced high expectations. The team was ranked No. 3 in the country and featured the Big East Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in senior forward Brandon Allen and junior defender Joshua Yaro, respectively.

But when the team took the field in late August, it failed to meet those expectations, tying Florida Gulf Coast (7-4-3, 4-0-1 Atlantic Sun) before losing to South Florida (11-6-3, 5-1-2 American Athletic Conference) and Akron (17-3-2, 4-0-1 Mid-American Conference). It was a unexpected beginning for a talented team, but the Hoyas did not lose focus.

“They were able to rebound from what could have been a disastrous opening weekend mentally, like we could have been .500 this season if we didn’t handle that right. With the schedule we had and even with the talent we had, that happens sometimes,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.

On Sept. 7, then-No. 1 UCLA (11-9-1, 5-4-1 Pac 12) visited Shaw Field to face Georgetown, and the Hoyas earned a 3-1 upset victory over the Bruins. Although Georgetown fell in penalty kicks in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament to Boston College (11-7-2, 4-4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) Sunday afternoon, the Hoyas are still riding a school-record unbeaten streak of 18 games, as games decided by penalty kicks are technically recorded as ties on teams’ records. Still, Wiese and his team were frustrated after being eliminated.

“Right now you’re sitting here saying, ‘Damn it.’ We lost in the Sweet 16, we should be in the Elite 8, we should be going on,” Wiese said.

Despite the disappointment, Georgetown had a record-setting season in many ways. From Sept. 26 to Oct. 24, the Hoyas recorded a program-record six consecutive shutout victories, all over Big East opponents. The shutout streak was part of a 566-minute run of play without allowing a goal, also a program record.

“The sting of how we lost on Sunday will stick around for a while, but when we start to reflect on how the year went overall, I mean, we made history in a number of ways, and it’s certainly something to be proud of for not only the seniors but just all the guys in general,” senior defender Josh Turnley said.

Georgetown also became the first team in school history to win the Big East regular season title with an undefeated record, going 9-0-0 against conference rivals. Georgetown followed that with their first-ever Big East tournament championship, beating Creighton in double-overtime on a goal from junior forward Alex Muyl.

“Certainly winning the first Big East tournament for the program was amazing, and you could just tell how much it meant to all of us and to the coaches to finally break through and win. That was something I’ll never forget,” Turnley said.

Yaro, who unanimously earned the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award for the second consecutive year, lived up to his preseason billing by leading Georgetown’s stout defense throughout the season. Freshman goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski started all 21 games for the Hoyas, making 63 saves and recording nine shutouts. Marcinkowski was named the Big East Freshman of the Year.

Senior forward Brandon Allen led Georgetown with 12 goals this season, earning the Big East Offensive Player of the Year award. With a penalty kick in Georgetown’s second-round win in the NCAA tournament, Allen became the Hoyas’ all-time leading scorer with 50 goals in his career.

Now, Wiese and his staff will have to quickly rebuild the team for the 2016 season. The team will lose six players, not including transfers or early entrances into professional soccer.

“It’ll be fun to see who emerges, but we have pieces that we think will,” Wiese said. “So, the jury is out, they’re going to be good. That’s why we recruit, we have to recruit players.”

Wiese is particularly excited about Georgetown’s freshman class.

“We have an amazing freshman class actually, that hasn’t played much,” Wiese said. “J.T. is the only one that really played a lot. And the other six boys in that class are all really good players. So we’ll see how really good they are next year; the opportunities will start coming for them. So, that will be fun to see, actually. I’m looking forward to it.”

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