Coach Tabatznik said it: “One game at a time”

By the

August 30, 2001

As the Georgetown Men’s soccer team gets ready to start a new season, their plan is simple: Make the NCAA’s.

Men’s soccer has consistently?that is, for the past three years?been one of Georgetown’s most succesful sports teams, racking up 35 wins, playing in three Big East tournaments and making it to two Big East championships. This year, however, they are hoping to make it that one step further and get back into the tournament, from which they have been absent since 1997.

“The overall goal, above anything else, is to get back into the NCAA tournament,” Head Coach Keith Tabatznik said. “But our most immediate goal is to be 1-0 after Friday.”

The Hoyas will open their season Friday against American University in the D.C. College Cup, which features the top teams from the D.C area, including Howard and George Washington. While tougher challenges lie ahead?namely games against defending NCAA champions UConn and other Big East rivals? Coach Tabatinik said he thinks it is important to take each game as they come.

“I think that the approach we take is one of the biggest cliches in sports but it is so true. You have to take one game at a time. There is an 18-game season and then hopefully a number of games after that, and you can’t play them all at once,” Tabatznik said. “I think that our focus really has been on American, which is a very important game that we have been preparing for since it was scheduled last spring.”

Tabatznik?who has been at the helm of the program for 17 years?is eager to begin the new season.

“We are always excited and optimistic at this time, and we hope that we can put that sort of enthusiasm that everybody has into the opening game so we can come out of the blocks really fast and get on the winning track,” Tabatznik said.

The team will face a tough challenge this season, having lost five seniors from last year; they will have to depend on several new faces to help carry them.

First-years Paul Brandley and Ellery Bledsoe are two of the new players that will help energize the Hoyas. Both were outstanding high school players and are expected to make quick progress this season.

Also joing them are newcomers Dan Gargan, Trevor Goodrich, Kaiser Cowdry and Stephen Lambrix, who will give the Hoyas the youth and depth they need to fuel the team this season.

Coach Tabatinik is confident that the new guys are prepared for the challenge.

“I am very impressed with our freshman class; it is an extremely strong class and it would not be suprising to see some of the starting on opening day,” Tabatznik said.

As for the upperclassmen, seniors Micheal Gross and Peter Finn, who started all 18 games for the Hoyas last season will be major contributors to the team this year, as well as senior co-captain Kenny Owens, a second team all Big East selection last year finishing wth 11 goals. Also helping to lead the Hoya squad are Nate Port returning up front, as well as Truls Engebretson and Andy Sole, who will anchor the team at mid-field.

Rounding out the squad are sophomores Joseph Padden, Jeff Steinke and junior Tony Soric, who appeared in seven games last year at the forward position.

In goal this season, sophomore Tim Hogan and junior Brian O’Hagan will compete for starting time. Each player boasted a low goals-against-average last year?Hogan’s was 1.32 while O’Hagan averaged 1.29. They also combined for five shutouts.

The Hoyas finished last season with a 9-8-1 overall record, marking their fourth straight winning season. Coach Tabatznik hopes to build on last year’s success but admits the team is still a work in progress.

“I don’t honestly think we have really found what the layout of the team is yet. We had a number of injuries coming into preseason that are still delaying us from finding the right mix. I think things will sort themselves out over the course of the next several weeks,” he said.

Problems aside, Coach Tabatznik and the Hoyas look to have an impressive season ahead of them.

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