Following its first back-to-back road games of the season, the No. 16 Georgetown men’s soccer team (4-1-1, Big East) will look to rediscover its winning ways on Wednesday afternoon against Stony Brook (5-1-1, American East). The match will kick-off at 4:00 pm at Shaw Field.
Just 10 days ago, the Blue and Gray were ranked ninth in the country and had shutout opponents in three of four games. A draw on the road to Connecticut (2-2-2, American) on Sept. 9 and a 1-0 overtime defeat at Xavier (5-1-1, Big East) on Saturday, however, have slowed the team’s hot start. But Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese hasn’t lost any confidence in his team.
“I think we’re playing really good soccer right now,” Wiese said. “There’s a lot of guys that played really well. I thought we were tough to play against. We were almost victims of our own success, because we kept (the ball) so well that we compressed them back, which compresses the space we have to play in. We just need to figure out how to solve that more efficiently.”
A bright spot for the Blue and Gray this season has been the team’s defensive effort. Through six games, the defense has allowed just three goals and forced three shutouts. According to junior goalkeeper and team captain JT Marcinkowski, the defensive success is due to the contributions of everyone on the field, not just the back four.
“The guys in front of the defense have been doing really well,” Marcinkowski said. “It’s been the entire team pressing and getting defensive stops… We know each other’s tendencies and so that makes it easy to play to the best of our abilities.
“It’s really a team thing,” Wiese said. “We’ve had the ball a lot. It’s harder to get scored on if you have the ball a lot, and our whole team has really committed to doing the work defensively. I think it’s been a fantastic defensive effort so far.”
The Hoyas were without their leading-scorer, sophomore forward Achara, against Xavier. Achara, who has scored five of the team’s 10 goals on the season, was dealing with an undisclosed injury. The injury is not expected to be a long-term issue.
Stony Brook enters Wednesday’s match on a five-game unbeaten streak. The Hoyas will have to contend with the dynamic international duo of Hungarian-born senior forward Vince Erdei and Norwegian-born graduate student forward Robin Bjornholm-Jatta. Together, the two have combined to score six of the team’s nine goals this season.
“From an RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) point-of-view, this is a very important game. This is a College Cup type of game. They’ve got two really good forwards. They’re well organized and very hard working. We’ve got to be prepared for their set pieces and how they counter attack,” said Wiese.
Wiese also noted that weekday games can sometimes be dangerous, as multiple players will be arriving at the field immediately after class. Nonetheless, the Hoyas are ready for the challenge and hope to get back on track, as their captain highlighted during a training session on Tuesday afternoon.
“They’re very lethal off of set-pieces, long throws, and corners,” Marcinkowski said. “They’re going to be a really compact and disciplined team. They have a lot of seniors and grad students, and we just have to put in a disciplined effort ourselves and play our hardest.”