MEN'S SOCCER | Marquette Up Next After Lehigh Romp
Published: Friday, October 12, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 12, 2012 10:10
In-between league matchups against No. 6 UConn, No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 4 Marquette, Tuesday’s date with Lehigh (1-9-0, 0-3-0 Patriot League) could have presented a bit of a trap game for No. 10 Georgetown.
The Hoyas (11-2-1, 2-2-0 Big East) didn’t let any conference concerns seep into their minds against the Mountain Hawks, however, dispatching them 2-0 at North Kehoe Field.
“We have three games that are top-10 games over the run of a week and a half. And then you have Lehigh, and it’s one of those games where if we lose it, from an RPI point of view, it’ll kill you,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “This has been a game that’s always given us some trouble, and I was happy with how we [managed it].”
Unlike the game against the Irish last season — when it found itself in a 1-0 hole just seven minutes in — it was the Blue and Gray who took control early on Tuesday.
In the 12th minute, senior left back Jimmy Nealis pushed up along the flank and sent a cross towards the far post, where junior forward Steve Neumann hammered it home off the volley to get the hosts on the board first.
It was the third goal of the season for the Hermann Trophy Watch List honoree, moving him into second place on the team in points behind prolific freshman forward Brandon Allen.
There would be no more goals in the opening half, although it wouldn’t be for lack of trying on the Hoyas’ part. Georgetown held the ball well again on Tuesday and pressed Lehigh hard without it, registering eight shots to the visitors’ one in the first 45 minutes of play.
The second tally of the day would come just after the break, though, as Allen beat a defender one-on-one before burying the ball into the back of the net in the 48th minute. That score would prove to be the final, as the Blue and Gray snapped its two-game skid in decisive fashion.
And while he may not have had the busiest day back, the return of sophomore goalkeeper Tomas Gomez from a shoulder injury was a welcome sight. With Gomez on the sidelines, Georgetown experienced a tough stretch, going 3-2 after having started the season at a torrid 7-0-1.
“It’s awesome [being back],” Gomez, who had three saves on the day, said afterwards. “It sucked sitting out the last two weeks, but I’ve been doing rehab really well and just [been] trying to get back after it.”
“For him to be available today is exciting for us,” Wiese said of Gomez. “He’s important. He didn’t have a whole lot to do today, but I think he handled all his business pretty comfortably. Having someone like that behind you gives you a lot of confidence, for sure.”
Besides having Gomez back between the pipes, Tuesday’s shutout should provide another confidence boost for the Hoyas, who dominated the center of the field thanks in large part to standout performances from senior midfielder Ian Christianson and junior midfielder Joey Dillon.
Wiese noted that his side’s performance was hardly perfect, but he was nonetheless proud of the strong leadership that upperclassmen like Christianson and Dillon demonstrated in the win.
Gomez was likewise happy with what his team showed in bouncing back against the Mountain Hawks.
“It’s good to have one of these games to get back into it, because we’ve got a top-five opponent on Saturday,” he said.
That top-five opponent, of course, is the Golden Eagles (12-0-0, 3-0-0 Big East), who ended Connecticut’s undefeated season in Milwaukee last Saturday and now sit atop the conference standings.
So, after having lost its only two games against top-10 foes thus far, the Blue and Gray need the third time to be the charm tomorrow afternoon at home. Four games remain on the schedule, and a win in each is more or less essential to secure a berth in the Big East semifinals.
“From a Big East point of view, I think it’s as big as they come, [especially] because we didn’t get any points out of Notre Dame and UConn,” Wiese said. “We have to be really good. This is the fun of the Big East, though. This is why we’re in the league. This is what these boys sign up for when they come here.”
Gomez was equally excited about facing the Golden Eagles.
“I’m ready for it,” Gomez said. “It’s going to be a great game, and hopefully we can get on the other end of the result [this time].”
Kickoff in that all-important contest against Marquette is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at North Kehoe Field. A tailgate is planned before the event.