MEN'S SOCCER | GU Preps For Home Openers
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2013 02:09
The No. 11 Georgetown men’s soccer team (1-1, 0-0 Big East) will take to Shaw field on Friday at 4 p.m. in its first official home game since the thrilling Elite Eight victory over San Diego last fall in the NCAA tournament. Facing off against a young but athletic West Virginia team (2-0-2, 0-0 Mid American Conference), Georgetown will need to play its best brand of soccer to come away with the win.
“If we make mistakes, they’re going to punish us,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “That’s the difference in games like this.”
WVU recorded a 9-6-2 overall record last year, but with only two seniors on the roster and a mere five returning starters from last year’s team, they lack the game experience of the more cohesive Hoya squad. Wiese, however, is focused on the Mountaineers’ talent, not their age.
“[WVU Head Coach] Marlon LeBlanc is tactically very, very good, and he’s going to have a plan for and have his guys prepared,” Wiese said. “Whether they’re young or old is irrelevant with this team. They’ve got some really dangerous players and they’re going to be hungry and aggressive.”
There is one Mountaineer, especially, that is on Wiese’s radar: junior forward and 2011 Big East Rookie of the Year Andy Bevin. The New Zealand native was named to the all-MAC Second Team last year and according to Wiese, promises to be “a real handful.”
On Sunday, the Hoyas take on explosive No. 9 New Mexico (1-0, 0-0 Conference USA) at noon on Shaw Field. The Lobos proved their offensive chops in their season opener against Villanova, routing the Wildcats 7-2. Senior midfielder Michael Calderon, junior forward James Rogers and freshman forward Niko Hansen each scored a pair of goals in the decisive victory.
“They’re a very athletic team and they attack quickly, so again, it’s just one of those games where we have to be good,” Wiese said. “Their ranking is absolutely right because they’re a top-10 team no question.”
The Blue and Gray’s defense must hold up under pressure to secure the win. Because it’s the second game of the weekend, the Hoyas’ depth will be an advantage.
The even bigger edge for the Hoyas, however, will be the home field.
“My favorite opposing coach quote was the San Diego coach last year who blamed our students for the first goal [in the Elite Eight game]. He said, ‘The students were close and they were yelling and our goalie couldn’t hear and this and that.’ It was great; that’s what playing on the road is about, and I hope the students appreciate their value,” Wiese said.
To kick off the opening slate of home games and encourage the same level of student support as last season, the sports marketing and promotions department hung Georgetown soccer scarves all over campus Thursday night for students to pick up and bring to games.