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

USF Rematch Holds NCAA Implications

Image Contributor
Sophomore midfielder Seth C’deBaca

It was a year ago today that Georgetown’s 2007 season ended in South Florida.The fourth-seeded Bulls outplayed the fifth-seeded Hoyas in the opening round of the Big East tournament, rolling to a 4-0 win.

This Sunday, the Hoyas will be back in Tampa with a chance for revenge. The third-seeded Georgetown has a quarterfinal matchup with the second-seeded USF.

“It’s payback,” senior forward Peter Grasso said. “We’re excited to go down there.”

While the match will be played on the same field the two met on nearly a year ago to the day, the opposing sides are much different squads.

Last year, the Hoyas had a stingy defense but struggled to score, netting just 0.72 goals per game for the season. This year’s version has a stellar defense that has allowed just 14 goals through 18 games, as well as a consistent offense. Grasso, who played in only seven games last year, has become the team’s go-to scorer with seven goals. Midfielders Scott Larrabee, a junior, and Seth C’deBaca, a sophomore, have combined for seven goals and six assists from the wings. Georgetown’s offense is hotter than it has been in the past two years, scoring seven goals in the past two games against Marquette and Cincinnati.

The Bulls, a solid team in the Big East last year, have turned into a national power. Ranked 16th in the country, they boast the best goals-against average in the conference (0.35). USF allowed a meager four goals in 11 league games.

In September of this year, the Bulls dealt the Hoyas a 2-1 loss on North Kehoe Field. Georgetown struck first when Grasso connected on an 18-yard shot, but South Florida scored two unanswered goals. The two teams were much more evenly matched this year – the contest between the Hoyas and the Bulls in September was much more back-and-forth as compared to last year when South Florida controlled the possession.

The Hoyas left the field two months ago feeling as if they should have won, and that will give them confidence going into Sunday’s quarterfinal matchup.

“We felt comfortable against them earlier in the year, like we could have beaten them,” Larrabee said. “We’re going to go in there confident and try to get a win.”

Senior midfielder Corey Zeller added, “It’s hard to beat a good team twice.”

Should the Hoyas lose on Sunday, it may not be the end of their season. At 11-4-3 overall and 5-3-3 in the strong Big East, Georgetown has a chance to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Hoyas’ win yesterday over Cincinnati put the team more at ease about their odds of getting in.

“[Yesterday’s win was] not something that’s going to cement your spot in, but it’s certainly going to help. From a resume-building perspective, it’s a good thing,” Head Coach Brian Wiese said.

With a win against a ranked opponent like South Florida and a trip to the Big East semifinals, Georgetown could rest easy on selection day (Nov. 17).

“Coach thinks it’s a pretty good chance to get in right now,” Grasso said, “but we still want to go down and win and make it a sure thing.”

The soccer tournament is different than popular college basketball version. It is a 48-team event, with 22 automatic bids going to conference winners. The last time the Hoyas made the NCAA tournament was 10 years ago.

“Going down to South Florida and getting a win will get us to a spot where we feel comfortable,” Wiese said.

The coach also offered a simple solution to the NCAA guessing game: “The easiest thing to do is win the Big East tournament, and then you don’t have to worry about it.”

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

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