After an anticlimactic weekend where the Hoyas’ much-anticipated matchup against No. 3 Notre Dame was postponed, the team’s feet will be itching to get back on the field.

Luckily, the men will lace up their cleats tomorrow afternoon to take on Seton Hall at their home pitch of North Kehoe Field, well rested after a break of 10 days.

The Pirates should be nervous driving over to Georgetown, and not just because of the threat of the norovirus – the Hoyas have had the best start to the season since 1998, and they are on a roll that will prove hard to halt for the Pirates. At the midway point of the season, the Hoyas are at 7-2-1, a victory more and three losses less than Seton Hall’s 6-5-0 record. The Hoyas have a defensive advantage over the Pirates, allowing just four goals in 10 games while the team from New Jersey has conceded 15.

The Pirates are, nonetheless, a force to be reckoned with. The home team will be wary of Seton Hall’s offense, which has scored 19 goals in the season so far, two more than the Hoyas’ season total.

Nine of the Pirates’ goals have come off the boots of sophomore forward Samuel Petrone, who was in the Sept. 29 issue of Sports Illustrated as a “Face in the Crowd” for his pillaging of Virginia Commonwealth and St. Peter’s. Petrone scored a hat trick within 12 minutes against the Rams, and netted four against the Peacocks. The 5-foot-9 sophomore was also named National Soccer Coaches Association of America player of the week this season and is one goal shy of being lead scorer in Division 1.

“Petrone is a very talented player,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “He’s got a very good nose for the goal and he’s someone we have to be aware of. [The Pirates] also have a couple of very, very good midfielders. . There are some very creative midfielders that can give the ball in dangerous spots. So we have to win the battle in the midfield.”

The Hoya midfield, held steady by the likes of sophomore Rob Burnett and senior captain Sean Bellomy, will have to maintain possession of the ball and hold the ship steady in front of the defense, so as not to be plundered by the Pirate offense.

But if the ball does venture behind the midfield, Petrone and his men will have to reckon with arguably the best defensive lineup that Georgetown has produced in the program’s history. Sophomores Alex Verdi and Mostafa Ebrahimnejad alongside juniors Len Coleman and co-captain Mark Zeman have helped maintain the Blue and Gray’s stellar statistics in front of goal. The Hoyas’ seven shutouts in 10 games yield a shutout percentage of 0.70, fourth highest in the nation, while their goals-against average of just 0.40 is ranked sixth in the nation.

Freshman redshirt goalkeeper Mark Wilber is currently ranked 27th in the nation with a save percentage of 0.846. If sophomore Matt Brutto had played more than 50 percent of the team’s minutes in goal – he is just 3:18 behind Wilber – he would be ranked first in the nation for his perfect saves percentage. Brutto has not allowed a goal in his five games this year.

“Matty [Brutto] hasn’t been scored on and Wilber is doing a terrific job as well,” Wiese said. “I think both goalies are playing really well. You can’t have a successful season without good goalkeeping, and for the first half of the season we’ve had some excellent goalkeeping which has been a big part of our success.

“We defend as a team and we attack as a team,” Wiese added, explaining how, under his system, the defenders have to push up and help out with the attack, while the midfielders and forwards have to track back to fulfill defensive responsibilities.

But since Petrone and his men have not had to face a defense of the Hoyas’ caliber, the Blue and Gray forwards may have their defensive duties lightened a little, and therefore have the opportunity to push forth towards the Pirates’ goal. Hoya top-scorer, senior forward Peter Grasso, will be looking to add on to his four goals, while sophomore forward Chandler Diggs and sophomore midfielder Seth C’deBaca – with two goals each to their names – will be striving to catch up to Grasso.

Seton Hall’s last encounter with the Hoyas resulted in a 2-1 home defeat for the Pirates. The Pirates managed to pressure the Hoyas early in the contest and score in the 19th minute. Just seven minutes later, however, then-freshman Verdi volleyed in a free kick for the equalizer. Then-junior midfielder Conor Neusel scored the game-winner in the 60th minute of the contest to give the Hoyas the victory.

Tomorrow’s game, however, will be played on the Hoyas’ home turf, where the team has a 4-1 record, and the home team will be looking to build off of the crowd’s support.

“We have a terrific support group,” Wiese said. “It’s a huge game for us; we’re nationally ranked and we want to climb that ranking ladder, and put ourselves in the situation where we can get into the NCAA tournament. And we owe our fans some postseason games at home.

“I’d like to think that North Kehoe is one of the hardest places in the league to come in and get a result, and we have a lot of pride in that.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. tomorrow.

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