The Georgetown men’s soccer team returned to the field midway through August to take on Old Dominion University and Villanova University in two preseason exhibition games. Each match yielded victories for the Hoyas, in which the team scored three goals per game. Old Dominion only managed to score once on the Georgetown defense, while three different members of the offense sent shots past the keeper. The team then shut out Villanova, with two goals scored by two different Hoya players and the third put in by Villanova’s own defense.
The strong five-goal offensive performance is a promising sign going into the start of the season today against the University of Virginia. Although these games were only exhibition matches, the goal-scoring potential shown by the forwards points to a more successful start than last year in terms of offense. During the 2011 season, the Hoyas were held to two goals or fewer in their first six games, with wins in only three. Keeping up their current pace would mean a much stronger start to the season.
The defensive half made quite a showing, only allowing a single goal in the two matches. Leading the Georgetown defense is senior Jimmy Nealis, who was not only named to the All Big East preseason team, but was honored as the Preseason Co-Defender of the Year. Nealis has been starting on the squad’s defensive back for three years now and was a major asset in last year’s seven shutouts.
Also receiving preseason honors were junior forward Steve Neumann and senior midfielder Ian Christianson. Both were named to the All Big East preseason team, and not for the first time; Neumann has been named to the team once before and Christianson twice before. These two players were Georgetown’s top scorers last season, with Neumann holding 11 goals and Christianson with six. Each of them will also be captains of this year’s team. In addition to these accomplishments, Neumann was selected as part of the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List.
The men’s team will be returning numerous key players from the 2011 season, including nine starters, one of whom is sophomore goalkeeper Tomas Gomez. Gomez put on a solid season last year as a freshman, and with a spring and summer of training under his belt should be dependable once again for the Hoyas. Although the schedule includes many talented opponents, the team’s prior experience will allow them to fight for a chance at a Big East title.
In the preseason rankings poll, Georgetown is projected to finish third in the Blue Division. This is an improvement upon last year’s projection, in which the team was expected to finish fourth. As of now, the team has been focusing on their forthcoming match against the University of Virginia on Friday evening. UVA received votes in the NCAA preseason ranking while Georgetown did not, meaning it is not a team that should be taken lightly. With a recruiting class that is said to rival past years in skill and ability, the returners will have a competitive group to work with and improve alongside. All top five scorers from last year are back for this 2012 season, improving the Hoyas’ chances for a Big East title this year. The out-of-conference play will also contribute to the team’s building and development throughout the season, and give it an opportunity to better compete within the Big East.