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Soccer prepares for Big East Tournament
For the second time in three years, Georgetown men’s soccer (15-2-1, 6-2 Big East) has claimed the Big East Blue Division Championship title. Despite playing one of their best seasons on record, the Hoyas share this league title with the University of Connecticut (14-2-1, 6-2 Big East), earning the second seed out of the Blue Division going into the tournament.
The team clinched with its win in the last game of the regular season against Seton Hall (6-11-0, 2-6 Big East) last Saturday, Oct. 27. In addition to its second win over the Pirates (a team the Hoyas faced before on Oct. 24), the squad was also celebrating Senior Day, the last home game of the year for a group of seniors who have played major roles in finishing the season on top of the division twice during their time as Hoyas.
Although the seniors were the ones being recognized at the game, it was sophomore goalkeeper Tomas Gomez and freshman forward Brandon Allen who were recognized this weekend as Big East Conference Players of the Week, for their performances in both games against Seton Hall. Gomez kept the club in the two games last week, making a total of eight saves and putting up two shutout performances.
His impressive showing was most noteworthy in the second bout with Seton Hall, during which the score remained 0-0 until the 86th minute. He held tough in the goal during the second half when Seton Hall picked up its offensive pressure, preventing them from finding the net. Allen also showed well against Seton Hall with a goal in each game, the Saturday goal being both the game-winner and the only score of the contest.
The Hoyas will receive a bye in the first round of the Big East Tournament, and will play the three-seeded (Red Division) St. John’s this Saturday at home. A win here would put Georgetown in the semifinals next week, but with an overall record of 10-3-4 and a divisional record of 4-3-1, the Red Storm will be no pushover on the Hoyas’ road to a title.
A notable challenge for the Blue and Gray will be getting the ball past St. John’s keeper, Rafael Diaz, who recorded his career-high eighth shutout of the season in the team’s Oct. 26 playoff-clinching 1-0 win over Syracuse. The St. John’s defense has also proven tough this year, as the team has only twice allowed two goals in a single game, and has lost by more than one goal only once, to UConn.
One of the keys for Georgetown in this first tournament match is to keep up the pace and fight off fatigue as much as possible in the second half. Although almost 70 percent of its goals have come after the first 45, the team has also let up about 65 percent of their opponents’ shots after the first half. Maintaining high offensive pressure throughout the game will be vital against a St. John’s team which is having a strong defensive year.
Allen, junior Steve Neumann, and senior Andy Reimer will also need to continue their leading roles on offense in order to advance the team to the next round of play. These three players have 22 of the teams 27 goals on the season, as well as half of the assists.
The tension on North Kehoe this Saturday will be high due to the bitter season-ending loss Georgetown suffered to St. Johns in the first round last year. The Hoyas fell 2-1 to St. Johns in their 2011 matchup, but with arguably Georgetown’s best squad in recent memory, the tides may be in Georgetown’s favor this time around.