While some programs begin their season by taking on a weak opponent to build confidence, the GU men's soccer team takes a much different approach. After taking on and defeating top ranked UCSB in their second game last season, the Zags will be traveling to Omaha, Nebraska, where they will take on the Creighton Blue Jays. The Blue Jays come into the season ranked in the top 10 in the four major soccer polls, including 6th in the NSCAA/adidas coaches poll.
After a terrific season, that saw the Zags make the NCAA tournament, this season may be considered a rebuilding year. The Zags lost 10 seniors from last years team, and will be looking for many of the younger players to step up and contribute. The Zags should be led by a stingy defense that includes Nick Barclay and Tim Maravez, who both started all 20 games last year. Offensively, the Zags will be led by Tye Perdido, who was an All-WCC honorable mention selection this past season.
Despite having only 3 seniors, the Blue Jays have high expectations for their young team this season. The Blue Jays will be led offensively by Andrei Gotsmanov, who led the Blue Jays in points last season. Gotsmanov is coming off a season in which he was an All-Conference and All-Region selection. The Blue Jays are also led by two preseason All-American selections. Junior forward Byron Dacy has been a preseason National Player of the Year candidate in each of the past two seasons. However, Dacy is coming off a season in which he appeared in only 2 games because of a torn ACL. Anchoring the defense will be Chris Schuler, who has started in 39 of the 40 games that he has been on campus for. The Blue Jays have appeared in the last 16 NCAA tournaments, and there is no reason to think that the trend want continue.
While this will certainly be a difficult start to the season, one should not count out the Zags. Despite breaking in a lot of inexperienced players, the Zags have last season to build momentum off of. Good luck to the Zags as they began what should be another successful season.