The first goal of the season is always tough for a team to give up. But it’s especially tough when a team manages to log nine hours of play and five games before it comes. Such was the case for the Georgetown men’s soccer team, which surrendered its first goal of the year and suffered its first defeat of the season at Providence last Saturday.
“It’s always painful,” head coach Brian Wiese said of the loss. “It’s a Big East game. There’s not one single Big East game, certainly on the road, where you’ll be able to say we’re going to be able to walk in here and get an easy win.”
The Hoyas (5-1-0, 0-1-0 Big East) slipped to 22nd in the nation in the NSCAA/Adidas poll following the loss, down from 20th last week. The team doesn’t have time to dwell on the loss, however, as it faces two more Big East opponents this weekend, with #21 South Florida and DePaul coming to Georgetown on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
“At some point you have to prepare to give up that first goal, prepare for the first loss,” senior co-captain Sean Bellomy said. “It’s better to respond positively and rebound from it than if you make it a letdown.”
USF (2-1-1) was the preseason favorite to win the Big East’s Red Division, and comes to the Hilltop after a 2-1 win over Florida International. The Bulls feature an experienced roster and some of the fastest, most athletic players in the country. Their offensive centerpiece, senior Jordan Seabrook, is also an accomplished track athlete. Seabrook, along with seniors Kevon Neaves and preseason Defensive Player of the Year Yohance Marshall, was named to the preseason All-Conference Team.
“We have to not be afraid,” junior defender and co-captain Mark Zeman said. “We just need to impose our style of play, not let them dictate the game.”
Georgetown may also have a little extra motivation against the Bulls. It was USF that ended the Hoyas season last year with a 4-0 drubbing in the first round of the Big East Tournament. With both teams returning most of their players, Friday’s game will be a compelling rematch.
“It’ll be a good test to see how we’ve grown over the last year,” Weiss said.
The team will rely heavily on a partisan home field crowd to reverse last year’s result and, as Weise put it, “help [the team] find a way to win.”
“When [South Florida] are in a rhythm, they’re as good as anybody,” Weiss said. “But if we’re playing well on a given day, I don’t fear anybody in the country—South Florida included.”
Kick-off against South Florida is set for 3:00 pm on Friday at North Kehoe Field, and the defending Red Division Champions DePaul will follow at noon on Sunday.