Sept. 20, 2009
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University men's soccer team ended a grueling weekend on a high note with a 2-0 victory over Syracuse (1-6-0, 0-2-0 BIG EAST) Sunday afternoon in Syracuse, N.Y. The win marked the Hoyas' fifth shutout of the season as the Blue & Gray improved to 4-2-1 overall and 1-1-0 in BIG EAST play. Georgetown showed depth as a number of freshmen stepped into key roles after illness and injury took starters out of the equation.
"The young guys stepped in and did a great job today," said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese. "These Friday, Sunday weekends are brutal and you need depth to get a result, so I was happy to see some of the boys stepping in and making plays"
The Hoyas were down a starter before the opening kickoff as defender Ibu Otegbeye (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) was forced to sit out due to illness. Freshman Jimmy Nealis (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) stepped in for his second start of the season adding youth to the veteran backline. At the 20-minute mark, Georgetown suffered another blow as defender Mark Zeman (Western Springs, Ill/Lyons Township) was hit in the face and forced out of the remainder of the game resulting in rookie Tommy Muller (Altamonte Springs, Fla./Trinity Prep) seeing minutes on defense.
With a new combination on the pitch the Hoyas and Orange went back and forth having a number of solid opportunities. Finally in the 33rd minute, Georgetown broke the stalemate as sophomore reserve Uche Onyeador (Sterling, Va./Potomac Falls) hit his first goal of the season knocking it in off of a shot by Nealis to make it 1-0.
The Hoyas managed to hang on to the lead for the remainder of the half and went into the break out-shooting Syracuse 6-5. GU also took two corners in the opening stanza and keeper Matthew Brutto (Warrington, Pa./Central Bucks South) had a pair of saves.
In the second half, the coaching staff continued to rotate in fresh legs as the Hoyas were forced to defend a dangerous Syracuse offense.
"It was a beautiful day with no wind making it hot which resulted in a slower pace," said Wiese. "Syracuse is a big, physical team that caused us trouble so it was a fairly even game. Realistically, it could have been 4-4 since we both had a lot of good chances. How they didn't score and how we didn't have more than two goals is a mystery."
Georgetown clung to the lead but finally in the 79th minute another freshman stepped up to give the Hoyas some breathing room. Midfielder Andy Riemer (McLean, Va./Georgetown Prep) entered early in the second half and didn't leave the pitch adding renewed energy to the team. In the 79th minute, he stole the ball from an Orange defender off of a slide tackle and managed to recover in time to control the ball, beat the keeper and hit the back of the net making the score 2-0 which would be the final.
"Riemer came in and was a game-changer," said Wiese. "He gave a Herculean effort on his goal sliding through the center back and deflecting the ball to himself."
The Hoyas were out-shot 13-11 and took four corners to Syracuse's one. Brutto finished with six saves after an active day in the net.
"Matty (Brutto) played one of the better games he has ever played in the Georgetown uniform today, without him we wouldn't have won, "said Wiese. "Syracuse is as dangerous as any team in the league and they were unlucky today so we're extremely happy to come away with the win."
The Hoyas will have the week off as they prepare for another Friday/Sunday conference weekend. Georgetown will host Villanova on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., at North Kehoe Field.
"This is the nature of our team, different guys stepping up and giving us important minutes," said Wiese. "The guys who came in today were the ones that won it for us and on these long weekends you need that kind of depth. It's important that we do it again next weekend against two talented and dangerous teams."