Coming off two disappointing 1-0 losses this weekend in the Akron Classic in Ohio, the No. 24 Georgetown men’s soccer team (0-2-0) will travel to College Park, Md., on Friday night to face the No. 7 Maryland (1-0-1), a national championship contender.
The Hoyas are looking for their first win of the season, dropping games to the No. 1 Akron Zips (2-0-0) last Friday, and then to the West Virginia Mountaineers (1-1-0) two days later. While the Blue and Gray did not perform particularly well, they were also the victims of bad luck and fatigue. The goal conceded in the first match came in the final seconds, ruining any chance for the Hoyas to force overtime.
“For all the good stuff that both teams were doing to create that goal, of course, that’s how you’re going to lose the game with thirty seconds to go. So it wasn’t an issue of fatigue — it was just one of those things that just happened. It was a moment in the game, which is really unfortunate, because the guys played hard, I thought. They were focused, and they gave a great effort,” Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese said.
Georgetown faced West Virginia 36 hours later. The Hoyas’ legs could not sustain enough energy to put together a solid performance, as Wiese attributed the loss to fatigue. “That was a game where I think we just got tired. It didn’t matter who we put on; the legs just weren’t there,” Wiese said.
Nevertheless, sophomore goalkeeper and co-captain J.T. Marcinkowski performed well, saving 14 shots total in both games. Marcinkowski was named to the Akron Classic All-Tournament Team.
“I think the level of confidence is just really high,” Marcinkowski said. “I trust the guys in front of me, and I’m coming off a pretty good summer training with a couple different teams, with the Earthquakes pro team. I feel really confident.”
The sophomore goalkeeper has performed exceptionally despite an entirely new defensive line after all four of last year’s starters entered Major League Soccer.
The opposite end of the field has been a different story: The offense has failed to score a goal this season.
“I think the bigger issue is that we weren’t shooting enough,” Wiese said. “I thi nk the number of chances that we created over those first few games we would’ve liked to have been more.” The team only shot six times against the Zips and thrice against the Mountaineers.
In order to compete with the high-scoring Maryland team, the Georgetown offense must find a way to break the scoring slump and generate more shots. It faces a fantastic Maryland team in front of what is expected to be a large home crowd.
“I think this is the best team they’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Coach Wiese. “They’ve got a lot of players that go on that keep the level high, that play with the stereotypical Maryland fervor, high energy and just quality.”
Maryland is a team with experience and a dangerous offense. Its head coach, Sasho Cirovski, is in his 24th season with the team. The Terps have won four straight league championships; however, Georgetown has defeated Maryland in each of the last two seasons.
Although the task will be difficult, Coach Wiese believes that it is matchups such as this that will prepare his players for big games.
“The season will hit its stride. And I think the difference is that this group has a few more new guys who have to believe in that a little bit. They haven’t been through those battles just yet,” said Coach Wiese. “These are the things that they’ll be able to draw on hopefully at the end of this season that you’ll be able to say, ‘remember that’s how we’re going to have to apply ourselves.’ So these games are really important.”
A win against a top ten team like Maryland would be a step in the right direction for Georgetown and give the Hoyas the confidence needed to succeed this season.
Kick off time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Ludwig Field in College Park, Md.