MEN'S SOCCER | Georgetown Ready for Tourney Play
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 23:11
The No. 4 Georgetown men’s soccer team (17-3-1, 6-2-0 Big East), it was announced on Monday, received the third overall seed in the NCAA tournament, as well as the first-round bye that went along with it.
Their ensuing matchup, however, is no reward.
In a rematch of last year’s second round, No. 23 Charlotte (15-3-3, 7-1-1 Atlantic 10) — who made a miracle run to that tournament’s finals before losing to top-seeded North Carolina — defeated Alabama-Birmingham at home last night, 3-2, to advance to take on the Blue and Gray in the Round of 32.
Speaking on Thursday evening prior to that first-round game, Head Coach Brian Wiese noted that his players and staff were not focusing on one of the two teams before the the outcome was decided. Still, Wiese made clear that they were well aware of what the 49ers would be capable of.
“It would be a team that’d be arguably the hardest matchup for any of the seeded teams to deal with,” Wiese said, “but that’s also the nature of the second round of the tournament. There are no easy teams.”
A large part of what will make Charlotte a tough contest this weekend is its experience during the 2011 tourney. Eight of the squad’s 27 players are freshmen who weren’t around for that, though, and youth becomes a running theme when one takes into account the fact that the roster boasts only five seniors.
One of those veterans, though, is forward Jennings Rex, who scored in each of the first two rounds last year and finished the conference season seventh in the A10 in goals. Sophomore forward Giuseppe Gentile, meanwhile, certainly plays enough like an upperclassman to compensate, ranking ninth in the Atlantic 10 in points, 10th in goals and fifth in shots.
Gentile’s three goals during last year’s NCAAs — which tied him with the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Darren Mattocks for second in the field — suggest that he’ll be one of many battle-hardened threats in the 49ers’ arsenal this time around, too.
“This is a team that is coming off of the national championship final a year ago and were arguably the better team in that final,” Wiese said. “And they didn’t win four games to get there — they won five, so they went deep in the tournament. They went through on penalties, [so] they went through a hard road last year, too.”
Georgetown has been well tested itself this year, making it all the way to the Big East tournament final last Sunday in Chester, Pa., before falling to Notre Dame, 3-2, in double overtime.
Wiese, explaining that his players are “fine” and have moved on from that devastating loss, said that grinding out a win against Charlotte will come down to the Hoyas doing what they do best.
“It’s going to be about trying to play a Georgetown-style soccer game as best … we can and take advantage of playing at home. We worked hard to get that seed, and the spoils of being a top-four seed are that you get to play at home until the College Cup if you can keep winning,” he said. “So that’s something that we’re hoping to take advantage of, and we’re really hoping for a good student turnout to help push us on to the next round.”
All is on the line, then, for the Blue and Gray on Sunday at North Kehoe Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.