WASHINGTON, D.C. – The FGCU men’s soccer team will continue its two-game season-opening road trip on Monday afternoon when it takes on its second straight ranked opponent in No. 16 Georgetown at 1 p.m. at North Kehoe Field.
Now standing 3-5 all-time against ranked teams, the Eagles fell at No. 2 Akron, 4-0, on Friday night in front of a crowd of 4,440 fans. On the flipside, the Hoyas came away with a dramatic 2-1 overtime win in the 96th minute against No. 23 Virginia on the same night.
Both FGCU and Georgetown found their way onto TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Preseason Tournament 48 rankings with the Eagles earning a No. 42 ranking, while the Hoyas came in at No. 16. TopDrawerSoccer.com’s rankings are a running attempt to project the postseason college soccer tournament qualifiers, including every automatic conference berth.
Monday’s meeting is the first between the two teams and FGCU’s sixth against a member of the BIG EAST. The Eagles are 1-4 all-time against BIG EAST foes with its lone win coming at USF to start the 2010 season. The win snapped the Bulls’ 30-game home unbeaten streak.
FGCU’s loss at Akron moved it to 3-3 in season openers, including 1-2 against ranked programs, as it rolled out a starting lineup that featured five members of its talented 12-member freshmen class and three sophomores. The Eagles graduated nine players from last year’s club that finished with a 12-6-2 overall record, claimed its second straight Atlantic Sun regular season title and made the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance as a result of winning the league’s postseason tournament.
With three first-place votes, the Green and Blue were predicted to finish second in the standings by the league head coaches behind 2011 A-Sun Tournament runner-up ETSU, which received the remaining six votes.
Georgetown was predicted to finish third in the BIG EAST Conference Blue Division by the league head coaches after going 10-5-4 in 2011. Led by senior Ian Christianson and junior Steve Neumann, the Hoyas return 19 letterwinners, highlighted by nine starters, from last year’s club and were lauded by TopDrawerSoccer.com not only with a No. 16 ranking, but as one of 10 national title contenders for 2012. Neumann - a MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List member - tallied 29 points as a sophomore and was listed at No. 9 on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Top 100 Upperclassmen list, while Christianson was ranked No. 31. Both were named to the BIG EAST Preseason All-Conference team.
The Hoyas scored just 22 seconds into their season opener against Virginia on a goal by Neumann and ended the game with a golden goal at the 95:29 mark.
Monday’s game will feature a pair of up-and-coming sophomore keepers for both clubs. FGCU’s Nathan Ingham (Ontario, Canada/Keswick HS), who was the A-Sun Tournament MVP in 2011 and trained with Canada’s U-20 National team in the offseason, made five saves in Friday night’s game at Akron. Tomas Gomez figures to be in goal for the Hoyas on Monday after making three saves in Friday’s win. Gomez was a BIG EAST All-Rookie team choice last year and trained with the U.S. U-20 National team.
Twitter updates (@FGCUMensSoccer), live stats and results will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.