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

Hoyas Follow Seasoned Vets in ’10

It’s been just under 10 months since then-freshman midfielder Ian Christianson’s penalty kick sailed over the crossbar at North Kehoe Field to end the 2009 Georgetown men’s soccer season.

But that Big East tournament shootout loss to the DePaul Blue Demons is now part of the past.

“We haven’t harped on it a lot,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “But we will bring up lessons from last year as appropriate.”

The 2010 Georgetown squad will look to improve on last year’s disappointing finish with the support of an 11-man senior foundation. This year’s graduating class is headlined by team captains Matthew Brutto (goalkeeper), Jose Colchao (forward) and Alex Verdi (defender), and represents Wiese’s first full recruiting class since he took over the program in March 2006.

“We have a strong group of seniors, and experience and leadership will be strengths of ours this year. . We also have a core of sophomores that are are as seasoned and professional as they come,” Wiese said. “I’m hoping that kind of mix is going to work well.”

The Hoyas return eight of their 11 starters from last season and each of their top-four point scorers. Colchao led the group with 13 points on four goals and five assists a year ago while leading the team with three game-winning goals. The Blue and Gray will be without three staples of the 2009 team, however, after losing midfielder Scott Larrabee and defenders Len Coleman and Mark Zeman to graduation.

The 2009 team finished 9-8-2 and ranked fourth in the Blue Division and seventh overall out of 16 teams in the Big East with a 6-5-0 conference record. This season Georgetown was pegged in the Big East Preseason Coaches Poll to finish fourth in the Blue Division and sixth overall in the conference behind divisional favorites Connecticut and St. John’s.

“I don’t really put a lot of stock into [preseason rankings]. [They’re] more or less how you wrap up the year before,” Wiese said. “The reality is that the correlation between what people are talking about before the first game and what’s actually happened [by the end of the season] is usually pretty low.”

The Hoyas will play nine of their 17 regular season matches at home this season, including a 7 p.m. kickoff against Adelphi on Sept. 29 under the lights at MultiSport Facility. The team will wrap up its preseason schedule – which included away tilts at George Mason and D.C. United – with a game tomorrow night against the Maryland Terrapins in College Park, Md. The regular season begins next weekend with a pair of nonconference home games at North Kehoe Field against Northeastern and Michigan State.

“The out-of-conference slate is designed as we think it should be,” Wiese said. “We should be in a good position to get ourselves into the NCAA tournament. You have to maintain a high level throughout two months. . All of those games will help us from an NCAA resumé point of view and will help prepare us for the league.”

After their opening homestand, the Hoyas will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., for the Lobo Invite and compete against New Mexico and Denver. Contests back on the east coast with Ivy League opponents Princeton and Penn will follow, and the conference schedule begins at Cincinnati on Saturday, Sept. 25.

Last year’s big-name opponents like UCLA, California and Maryland may not be on this season’s nonconference slate, but Georgetown expects their 2010 September to be just as challenging as the 2009 version.

“That [Michigan State] game is every bit a UCLA, a Cal, a Maryland game. I don’t know if people realize that,” Wiese said. “The New Mexico trip is no bed of roses either.”

The 2009 Hoyas were generally a low-scoring, defensive-minded team. In an 18-game season, Georgetown shutout its opponent or was shutout on 12 occasions and played in 11 games that were decided by one goal or ended in a draw. Only once did the Blue and Gray score more than two times in a match.

“I’d love to be able to get a 4-0 win and not have gray hair at the end of a game, but it’s just the nature of men’s college soccer. It’s just not possible to run over a team these days,” Wiese said. “I expect the games to be tight, but I expect us to be able to handle that and to win those games.”

No Hoya scored more than four times last year, and the team has yet to find a consistently productive goal-scorer to complement its lockdown back line. But Wiese can live with a scorer-by-committee mentality and feels that there is potential for a member of this year’s roster to step up into a more prominent offensive role.

“If we get a 10-goal scorer this year, that’d be great,” Wiese said. “But if we can get a few guys to score five goals, that’d [make] a big difference, too.”

Among the new additions to this season’s group are seven freshmen and one transfer. Freshman goalkeeper Keon Parsa headlines Georgetown’s recruits as the No. 57 overall player and No. 6 netminder in his class according to The West Hills, Calif., native was an NCSAA All-American in 2009 and leaves his soccer-rich home state to join a deep goalkeeping corps on the Hilltop. Six other freshmen will contribute as field players, and former University of Virginia midfielder Henry Tembon will play out his final year of NCAA eligibility as a senior for Georgetown this fall.

“[The freshmen] have assimilated into the team as well as any group that we’ve had,” Wiese said. “The challenge for them is that they’re coming into a pretty veteran team, a seasoned team of returning players, so they may need to be a little more patient to get on the field. But we have some guys who are pushing to do that. There are some good kids in [that class] who are smart soccer players and who are going to help us this year.”

As for Tembon, his veteran status translates into a no-nonsense approach on the field.

“He’s very serious about doing well and says all the right things. He’s a hardworking kid, loves his soccer and is really happy to be here,” Wiese said. “We’re excited about him. He’s a good athlete and a very strong player.”

Despite the loss of a graduating class and an influx of new players, one thing that hasn’t changed since last November is the presence of a goalkeeping controversy. Brutto and senior keeper Mark Wilber each played over 800 minutes between the pipes for the Hoyas last season, and junior Erik Garciamendez gained experience in crucial overtime minutes against Notre Dame in the fall. While Parsa is not expected to see playing time immediately, his talent only compounds the cognitive dissonance that Wiese – a former collegiate keeper himself at Dartmouth – experiences when choosing a starter before each match.

“Well, you can only put one on the field at a time,” Wiese said of the goalkeeping situation. “It’s going to be very competitive.”

Regardless of which player serves as the last line of defense for Georgetown in a given match, Wiese and his team know that they have the ability to beat each team on their 2010 schedule.

“I’m very optimistic about this group,” he said. “The boys have a good chemistry and a good way of playing. They understand our strengths and weaknesses and now it’s just a matter of executing.”

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