Sports

Mountaineer net-minder offers stiff challenge

October 23, 2008


With just four games remaining in the regular season, the Georgetown men’s soccer team (8-3-3, 3-2-3 BE) is looking toward the playoffs. The Hoyas, currently third in the Big East’s Blue division, are in prime position to move up to the top two and earn an important first-round bye in the conference tournament.

“I think [finishing in the top two] is very attainable,” head coach Brian Wiese said. “But we’ve got three very hard league games. We’ve got to line them up and take them one at a time.”

The first of those Big East opponents is West Virginia (4-6-5, 2-2-4 BE), who comes to North Kehoe Field this Saturday at noon. Despite their mediocre record, the Mountaineers will be anything but an easy victory for the Hoyas. The West Virginia defense, anchored by redshirt sophomore Zach Johnson, has allowed only nine goals all season.

“They have one of the top goalkeepers in the league, if not the country,” Wiese said.

Johnson is the Big East leader in saves and one of the main reasons why the young West Virginia squad managed to pull off upsets against ranked opponents like UConn and Ohio State.

For that reason, the burden will be on the Georgetown offense to produce this Saturday, but it should not be too difficult for a Hoya attack that has been formidable all season.

“The key this year has been that everyone’s been producing offensively,” senior forward Peter Grasso said. “It’s been the whole team. Everyone has a lot of assists, everyone’s really contributing.”

Grasso, the team’s leading scorer with five, leads the attack with sophomore forward Chandler Diggs. The team has employed a tandem system of forwards, with Grasso and Diggs starting most games before being relieved by freshman Uche Onyeador and sophomore Jose Colchao. The tactic has allowed both groups to develop greater chemistry.

“The forwards are looking more and more comfortable with each other and not necessarily thinking so much about who’s supposed to go where,” Wiese said. “That always leads to better performance.”

Credit for Georgetown’s offensive success extends beyond the frontline, though. Outside midfielders sophomore Seth C’deBaca and junior Scott Larrabee have facilitated the attack with a number of assists, as well as a few goals of their own.

“Our outside mids have been huge this year,” Grasso said. “They play almost 90 minutes a game, which is extremely tough to do, especially at the outside.”

The Hoyas will need all of these offensive weapons working if they hope to score against Johnson and the Mountaineers.

“West Virginia and Georgetown soccer games the last couple years have been very physical and hard-fought,” Wiese said. “We don’t expect Saturday to be any different.”



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