One flight up, in Brian Wiese’s office overlooking the tennis courts, two league prizes stand on the floor, awaiting a permanent home. And after this weekend’s College Cup, Wiese might have additional hardware to decorate the hallowed lobby shelves.
The Georgetown men’s soccer team has reached the national semifinals, two steps further than it has ever gone before, and will play Maryland, a national titan for 15 years, at 5 p.m. Friday at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala.
“This group never talked about the final four — I don’t even know they were aware it was in Alabama,” said Wiese, in his seventh season. “They broke [the season] into manageable pieces. It was all very sensible.”
Along the way, the Hoyas (19-3-2) earned the highest ranking in program history (No. 3). They claimed a share of the Big East’s Blue Division regular season title and advanced to the league tournament’s championship game.
A 3-1 result against San Diego last weekend — played in front of a home crowd so large that fans watched from behind fences after seating capacity was reached — set the program record for victories.
“We knew from preseason we could do something special,” senior midfielder Ian Christianson said. “I don’t know if we thought about being in the final four. We just saw each game, each challenge, and kept it going.”
Despite the absence of honors, Georgetown soccer dates to 1952. Although the program lacked the scholarship resources endowed to its Big East rivals, the Hoyas did manage to hold its own in the conference and twice qualify for the NCAA tournament. Keith Tabatznik, Wiese’s predecessor who coached for 22 seasons, had one full scholarship to offer in 1994, when Georgetown made its NCAA tournament debut, and two when the team returned three years later.
It wasn’t until about 2005, when the Big East mandated fully funded soccer teams, that Georgetown turned the corner. It now offers maximum soccer scholarships (9.9).
With scholarships came a higher caliber of recruits. The senior class is led by Christianson, an Iowa native who drew national interest. “A program-changer,” Wiese said.
Sophomore goalkeeper Tomas Gomez is in the U.S. under-20 national team’s player pool. Brandon Allen’s 15 goals are the most in the country by a freshman.
Wiese has also continued mining for overlooked prospects. Forward Steve Neumann (28 goals, 28 assists in three years) might have ended up at the lower Division I level had Georgetown not taken a chance on him. Wiese had pegged senior Andy Riemer, a three-year starter, to play in Division III before the midfielder blossomed in his last year at Georgetown Prep.