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

Despite Shorthanded Attack, GU Plays Well on the Road

Another busy weekend away for Georgetown resulted in a split doubleheader – the Hoyas fell 2-0 against a superior St. John’s team, but picked themselves back up and managed to overpower Syracuse 2-0.

The Red Storm (2-1-3, 1-0-1 Big East), one of the highest-ranked teams the Hoyas (3-2-1, 1-1-0) will play all season, were expected to be a mighty challenge for the Blue and Gray, and the visitors locked horns with them.

The Hoyas kicked off in some of the toughest playing conditions possible – 2,518 fans behind the Red Storm, a field resembling turf more than real grass, and a few starters coming down with the flu (junior midfielder Ibu Otegbeye did not even travel with the team). But Georgetown gave St. John’s a run for their money Friday night, despite finishing on the wrong side of a 2-0 result.

The majority of the game was a defensive battle, with both teams’ backlines almost impenetrable. Both teams were limited to four shots each in the first half, and both sides’ defenders and goalkeepers ferociously kept any shots from going into the net.

“I thought the first 60-65 minutes we played were as good as any team I’ve had,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said. “To be honest, at the end of the day, I thought the boys executed what we were asking them to execute, but then we ran out of gas.”

With bench options cut short – three midfielders and two defenders had struggled with the flu all week – Wiese used a lot of freshmen against the Red Storm. Particularly, midfielders Ian Christianson and Andy Riemer, and defender Jimmy Nealis got significant minutes on the board.

But despite a solid start, the Blue and Gray succumbed to the circumstances and allowed St. John’s to get past them.

“We just seemed to hit a wall all at the same time, right in the middle of the second half,” Wiese said. “We seemed to have run out of legs. . And [St. John’s] caught up with us.”

With just 10 minutes left in the contest, the Red Storm managed to create an opening. Sophomore forward Walter Hines played redshirt junior midfielder Adam Himeno through the defense, and Himeno ran past the keeper to boot the ball in the back of an open net.

Wiese pushed his men up in the dying minutes of the game to try and claw back an equalizer, but in the last seconds of the game, St. John’s doubled their tally with a 12-yard strike to seal the win.

With just a day’s turnover, the Hoyas faced off against Syracuse. The game ended up being the Hoyas’ “silver lining,” according to Wiese, after a worrisome weekend.

The Orange (1-6-0, 0-2-0) seemed to have luck on their side as the Hoyas were forced to play with an inexperienced back-four – Otegbeye was replaced by Nealis yet again, and less than halfway through the first period, senior defender and captain Mark Zeman had to leave the field with a bloody nose, replaced by freshman defender Tommy Muller.

The fresh legs, however, seemed to click in place with the veteran defensive pair of senior Len Coleman and junior Alex Verdi. Together, the back four helped maintain a clean sheet for the duration of the game – the Hoyas’ fifth of the season.

The Blue and Gray, after experiencing a slew of problems against St. John’s, seemed unfazed by any surprises on Sunday. After a long defensive stalemate, the Hoya offense broke through in the 33rd minute of play and put the visitors up on the scoreboard. Nealis delivered into the box, and sophomore forward Uche Onyeador nudged it in the right direction to put the Blue and Gray up 1-0.

Onyeador, fired up, had three more attempts on goal until the halftime whistle. Upon resuming play, Syracuse returned the favor with three quick attempts of its own in the first four minutes.

The action moved to the midfield where both teams battled for the ball but could not make substantive advances toward the goal. The next breakthrough for the Hoyas came with 12 minutes left on the clock.

Riemer, who had forced the Orange keeper into a save just minutes ago, slide-tackled a defender for the ball and finished the ball past the keeper for Georgetown’s second of the game and his first of the season. The goal sealed the win for the Blue and Gray, their first tally in the Big East.

“The freshman group was absolutely terrific on Sunday,” Wiese said, praising the efforts of the last-minute starters and substitutes who played with poise. “The good news is, these guys have got . some experience and some minutes, and they’ll be able to come in the next time we need them quite comfortably.”

After two long weekends on the road, the Blue and Gray return to North Kehoe Field for a doubleheader against Villanova and Rutgers. Wiese, happy to have the support of the home crowd behind the Hoyas again, stressed the importance of all players being on the ball against their upcoming rivals.

“Villanova’s a rival for us, Rutgers is a rival for us,” Wiese said. “They are talented opponents and we know each other very well. . If everybody comes in and does their job . we’ll be fine, we know that. We don’t need any one person to be special; everyone just needs to do their job.

“One of the strengths we have is that we don’t have a special player that if the other team takes out of the game, we struggle,” Wiese continued. “I think it’s hard to match up with that . because our production is all over the field.”

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