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

Blue and Gray Brace For Orange and Red

The first stage of the 2000 season is in the books, and the Georgetown men’s soccer team has emerged from it nearly unscathed. With two early-season tournaments as well as their Big East opener behind them, the Hoyas have amassed a 4-1 record and established themselves as one of the premier teams in the region, if not the nation.

What has proven to be the Hoyas’ most important early season victory was their 2-1 come-from-behind win over Rutgers in the Big East opener for both teams. With only 11 conference games scheduled for each Big East team, the importance of these games intensified.

Head Coach Keith Tabatznik stressed the significance of the win over the Scarlet Knights.

“If anyone asked if we’d be happy with a 4-1 record after five games, we would have all said `yes’ as long as the loss wasn’t to Rutgers,” he said.

Beginning at 3:30 today, as Georgetown embarks on the next stage of their season, playing host to Syracuse in what will be the first of six consecutive Big East conference games. In addition to the game’s importance as a conference matchup, it carries extra significance, as this is alumni weekend for Georgetown men’s soccer as well as Homecoming weekend for the university.

Additionally, last season’s 2-0 road loss to the Orangemen in the Hoyas’ Big East opener still looms over them and will provide the Blue and Gray with a little extra incentive if they didn’t have enough already.

Tabatznik hopes these incentives will motivate his squad to improve their conference record to 2-0.

“Hopefully, we can step onto our home field and put on another good performance,” Tabatznik said, adding, “especially considering it’s Homecoming and alumni weekend for soccer as well.”

In order to secure their second conference win to start the season, the Hoyas will need to get the ball past Syracuse’s Kevin Bacher, the Big East’s preseason Goalkeeper of the Year. Bacher was twice named Big East Goalkeeper of the Week last season and has nine and a half career shutouts, his most recent coming earlier this season against Villanova.

Other than at the goalkeeper position, the Orangemen look to be a much weaker team than they were last season. The Orangemen finished sixth in the Big East last season after their most successful season in years. However, the Orangemen lost their best two players in Gabriel Gervais and Patrice Bernier, who combined for more than half of the Orangemen’s scoring last season. Not surprisingly, scoring has been a problem for the Orangemen as they have been shut out in each of their last two games, both against conference opponents. The Orangemen currently stand at 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the Big East.

Still, Tabatznik takes nothing for granted in the Big East and treats Syracuse as he would any conference opponent, devoting all of the team’s focus in practice this week to the upcoming match against Syracuse.

“Every conference game is a very difficult game,” he said. “Certainly every Big East team has the ability to beat every other [Big East] team.”

Should the Hoyas emerge victorious this afternoon, a far greater challenge awaits them this Sunday, when they square off against the nation’s fifth-ranked team, St. John’s. The Red Storm have started off the season 5-1 (3-1 in the Big East) and, with the possible exception of No. 4-ranked Connecticut, will be the toughest opponent Georgetown faces during the regular season.

For the Hoyas to compete with the Red Storm, they will need to contain midfielder Jeff Matteo, a preseason All-Big East Team selection. Matteo is coming off a two-goal performance over Villanova and was recently named the Big East’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week.

Last season, the Hoyas faced St. John’s twice, tying the Red Storm, 1-1, during the regular season and upsetting them in the first round of the Big East conference tournament, 1-0, en route to their second consecutive championship appearance.

Related Links

 Men’s Soccer Schedule

 Men’s Soccer Roster

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