The Hoya Men’s soccer team travels to Cary, NC for the “College Cup” (Final Four) this weekend. A meeting with University of Washington looms on Friday night at 8:30 PM EST- with the winner facing the all-ACC Clemson-Notre Dame victor at 2 PM Sunday.
Hoya broadcasters Dan Helfrich and Tom Greaser will not be on the call as ESPNU takes over national coverage. But Dan and Tom share their casual preview here anyway!
First, let’s look at your predictions from Thanksgiving week and recap how the Hoyas got here. Looks like both of you correctly identified 2 of the 4 Final Four teams (decent)…but your predictions of heroic roles for substitutes Marlon Tabora (Tom) and Joe Buck (Dan) were Nostradamus-esque.
TG: Yeah, the team predictions were in line with my winning percentage at a sports book. But the prediction and performance of Tabora in the sweet 16 was epic. A hat trick in an NCAA tournament game. And those 3 goals were scored in a span of 11 minures. Truly remarkable! Marlon actually scored more goals in 11 minutes than my broadcast partner did in his career! The only better individual performance in the NCAA tournament in the history of the program was Steve Neumann’s hat trick against Maryland. That was the first ever appearance for Georgetown in the College Cup and it was a performance for the ages.
DH: Lots of “ice in veins” celebrations throughout sports these days. And we can give all 4 Hoya shooters in the Elite 8 shootout win over West Virginia huge credit for their truly perfect penalties (Stoyanovich, Riviere, Rocha, Buck) as well as GK Giannis Nikopolidis for 3 brilliant saves. But the “Ice in Veins” Hoya of the moment has to go to Buck. Freshman steps up with the match on the line and calmly finishes and sends thousands (ok, maybe hundreds) of students onto the field. Speaking of, I tried to get the “other Joe Buck” interested in sharing the moment on an NFL broadcast but was unsuccessful. Oh well, maybe this weekend.
How do the Hoyas stack up against a Washington team that earned the #2 overall seed in the tourney?
TG: For my money, these are the two best teams in the country. Washington is a talented, dynamic team that is exceptionally well coached. But, for anyone who has listened to us this year it is the same thing we have said about the Hoyas and Coach Wiese. And for as good as Tabora’s hat trick was, Washington has a player (Dylan Teves) who scored a hat trick in consecutive tournament games. This will be a must see college soccer game.
DH: Washington also has a really dangerous defender, Ryan Sailor, who is their target on corners/set pieces. If the Hoyas can deny him, they neutralize a big part of the Husky attack. Meanwhile, Washington will have to make some tactical adjustments to deal with Gtown left wingback Will Sands- who was the Player of the Match against WVU. The battle of coaches is a battle of really close friends who were mentored by the same man, Jamie’s father and soccer legend Bobby Clark. No secrets or surprises…but a ton of mutual respect.
Pretty cool moment this week when Dante Polvara and Sean Zawadzki were both named among 15 semifinalists for the Hermann (soccer’s Heismann) Trophy. Chances the first ever Hoya lifts that individual honor?
TG: Look, the Hermann Trophy is supposed to be awarded to the “top” college soccer player. If that is the only criteria used then both players are deserving. Unfortunately, on many occasions the award ends up going to a player with gaudier statistics.
DH: Chances are at least 50 percent. The respect for both (and the program they come from) is universal.
Let’s close with some predictions for Friday and the weekend.
Most enthusiastic Hoya soccer alum in stands?
DH: 1998’s Gregory C. Dillard. Typically, the fourth official has to absorb a lot of that “enthusiasm” in the form of incessant shouting/criticism/profanity. Love it.
TG: Dillard will receive a lot of votes, but I will go with our former assistant Coach and the college roommate of freshman Ronan Dillow’s father. The one and only Brian “Rudy” Fuller will be in great form.
On field X-factor?
DH: Chris Hegardt snakebitten no longer. Georgetown’s sophomore has looked more and more dangerous as the tournament has worn on. His time to find the back of the net will arrive in Cary.
TG: I love that prediction. Hegardt is getting himself into great spots and has been a bit unlucky with his finishing. Not to mention he got absolutely killed in the box with a minute to go in overtime against West Virginia but the ref swallowed his whistle. He grew up in the Seattle Sounders Academy so will have some extra motivation playing against Washington. But, for my X-factor I am going to go with corner kicks. Georgetown typically earns about 6 corners a game and it would not surprise me if they score on a corner this weekend.
Final score Friday?
DH: 2-2 headed to overtime. Hoyas prevail in dramatic fashion…
TG: I agree that it will be dramatic, but I see the game ending with the same scoreline, 2-1, from our last matchup with Washington in the 2019 elite eight.
National Champ Game?
DH: Hoyas defeat ND 2-0.
TG: I don’t care who the opponent is, Georgetown will earn their 2nd star and as Mr. Chovtkin would say, Hoyas win! Hoyas win! Hoyas win!
DH: A Natty deserves more than 50 consecutive “Hoyas wins”…I will happily shout that from the stands.