Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Looks to Advance Past Providence

On Saturday, the Hoyas will finally have a chance to get back on the field and erase the memories of last weekend’s 3-0 loss on the road against Notre Dame, which snapped a nine-game winning streak that had propelled the team to the program’s first Big East title since 1994.

The Blue Division title gave No. 25 Georgetown (11-5-1, 7-2 Big East) the top seed in the Big East tournament, which in turn gave the Blue and Gray home field advantage in the quarterfinals. They will face a Providence team (10-5-2, 4-4-1 Big East) that is riding a six-game undefeated streak and is fresh off a 3-0 rout of Villanova in the first round of the conference tournament.

Although the Hoyas’ previous meeting with the Friars this year saw them come away with a 1-0 win in Rhode Island, the team is taking nothing for granted.

“We’re expecting a game that’s going to be hard,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “We’ll get a better Providence team than when we played them early in the season.”

Despite his high opinion of the Friars, Wiese is glad to be playing them instead of the Villanova Wildcats, who finished the season 8-8-3.

“I was rooting for Providence pretty heavily [Wednesday] because I didn’t want to play Villanova here twice,” Wiese said. “Whenever you get a good venue, with the same situation [and] everything twice, it’s not easy to repeat what you’ve done.”

The first order of business for Wiese this week, though, has been making sure that his team forgets its uncharacteristically poor performance in South Bend that saw the Blue and Gray concede as many second-half goals as they had in their previous six games.

“We sucked the whole game,” Wiese said of his team’s most recent performance. “I think there’s always a worry that there will be some residue from that, but we’ve been working hard all this week to re-focus the guys and get their edge back. We just weren’t doing the little things right. We stopped taking care of the details, and we paid for it against a good team.”

While the week off and the first-round bye have given Wiese and the rest of the coaching staff time to help the players return to their pre-Notre Dame form, the coach is still wary of the rust that may have accumulated for a team used to playing two games a week and the Friars’ evident comfort with the pressure of the conference tournament.

“[Providence] will have the advantage of having played a Big East tournament game and having that tournament-feel and pressure,” Wiese said. “Our guys are now doing that for the first time. … They’re like a broken-in shoe to the tournament, and we’ve got these dress shoes that might give us a blister or two.”

With the Hoyas out to prove that the loss to the Fighting Irish was an aberration rather than a sign of things to come or a return to their early-season struggles, Wiese hopes that returning to North Kehoe Field will be exactly the impetus that the team needs.

“It’ll feel like a different game from the first time [in Providence] just because we’re not on their field,” he said. “I think it gives us a little bit more of an opportunity to play our game and do things how we like to have [them] done. We’re going to try to impose our style on the game and see if we can actually do that over 90 minutes and play it like the home game that it is.”

For all their attacking intentions, Wiese knows that it will not be easy to break down a team whose defense the Blue and Gray were only able to beat once in 90 minutes of play during their clash in early October.

“They’re really organized. They’re hard to break down,” Wiese said of the Friars. “Defensively, they’re really well put-together, so they don’t give up a lot. They’ve got two very good centerbacks [who] can both play with the ball and are tough defensively.”

If the Hoyas do get back on track, they are likely to face either Connecticut or Cincinnati in the semifinals, but Wiese has been around long enough to know better than to look past any Big East team.

“Most of the teams we play are [tough],” Wiese said. “It’s not like our league is shabby and doesn’t prepare you well for these types of games. We’re a team that can be very good, [but] if we don’t do things right we can certainly fall to Providence.”

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at North Kehoe Field.”

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