On Tuesday, the Georgetown Hoyas men’s soccer team (3-2-1, 0-1-0 Big East) looks to rebound on the road at No. 10 Duke (4-1-2, 0-1-0 ACC). The Hoyas dropped their Big East opener in a 3-2 heartbreaker on Saturday to the Xavier Musketeers (3-0-3, 1-0-0 Big East).
The game against Xavier was back and forth all 90 minutes. Senior midfielder Kyle Zajec converted a penalty in the 44th minute to send the Hoyas into halftime up 1-0. But the Musketeers came roaring back in the second half, cementing a 2-1 lead after goals from redshirt freshman midfielder Cameron Belle and redshirt junior defender Jacob Goodall. The goals came in the 65th and 78th minutes, respectively. The Hoyas seemed to have salvaged a point when sophomore defender Rio Hope-Grande scored on a Zajec corner in the 85th minute. Unfortunately, the Musketeers answered just 52 seconds later when graduate student midfielder Tomek Pauer slotted home the decisive goal.
Despite outshooting the Musketeers 9-6 in the second half, Georgetown was unable to come away with any points. Head Coach Brian Wiese felt that the Hoyas fell complacent after the first goal.
“We became very complacent in how we approached a 1-0 lead,” said Wiese. “It almost felt like we were trying to end 1-0 instead of getting a second goal.” It will certainly be a key point for Georgetown to keep the pressure on if they are able to get the first score against Duke.
The Blue Devils are also looking to bounce back from a tough loss. On Sunday, they dropped their ACC opener 3-0 at No. 3 Louisville. Though the game was scoreless entering the second half, Duke conceded three goals in a matter of 30 minutes to the Cardinals. The Duke offense, which has scored at least three goals in every other game, was thwarted by the Louisville back line. Duke Junior midfielder Daniele Proch has been on fire this season, scoring five goals thus far. However, no other Blue Devil has more than two goals, so if Georgetown can reduce Proch’s chances, they may very well keep Duke scoreless.
One thing to look for on Tuesday is Georgetown’s starting goalkeeper. Freshman Giannis Nikopolidis has started five games and senior Maurice Coyle one, while sophomore Ethan Koehler has yet to see game time.
“We have a really good pool of goalkeepers,” said Wiese. “It’s a week to week thing for us, but they’re all doing really well. We have total confidence in all three of them.”
The game against Xavier marked the start of a grueling stretch of five games in two weeks. Following Duke, the Hoyas will take on DePaul (4-3, 1-0 Big East) on Friday, and Louisville next Tuesday, both at home.
“We have to be mentally tougher going forward,” Wiese said of this difficult stretch.