Weir Faces Older Brother in BIG EAST Playoffs
Nov. 2, 2011
CHICAGO - Right after DePaul's BIG EAST Championship playoff opener against Connecticut was confirmed, Curtis Weir sent a text to a Huskie soccer player named Sean Weir.
"Coming 2 UConn---let's go, brother"
It will be quite a reunion for Curtis and Sean Weir when the Blue Demons confront No. 7/4 Connecticut (14-2-2) at 5 p.m. Thursday at Morrone Stadium.
"You know how some brothers are always bickering and fighting," said Curtis, who is from New Milford, Conn. "We've always been best friends who like to hang out together.
"We've played soccer together a lot and like to listen to the same type of music. We'd go hiking during the fall and in the winter we'd head up to the mountains in Vermont where he would snowboard and I would ski.
"We're going to four concerts over Christmas break."
That comes after the Weir brothers face off on the pitch for the first time in their careers.
Both are passing- specialist midfielders with the freshman Curtis in the starting lineup and his older brother a junior reserve who has played in 15 of UConn's 18 matches.
"Our parents (Andrew and Brenda Weir) are really excited about the game," Curtis said. "I don't think they care who wins---they're just glad to see me play back home.
"Actually, I think my dad will be cheering for DePaul because he always goes for the underdog."
DePaul (6-10-2) encounters a Connecticut powerhouse that won its first 11 games and was ranked No. 1 in the nation for much of the season.
The Huskies have outscored teams 26-6, and goalkeeper Andre Blake has recorded 12 shutouts. They have outshot opponents 277-187 and hold a 100-75 advantage in shots on goal.
The top offensive threat is Mamadou Diouf who is third in the BIG EAST with 10 goals. Alando Matheson has four goals while Tony Cascio and Stephane Diop each have six assists.
"UConn is extremely athletic and dynamic," said DePaul coach Craig Blazer. "It's a group of high-quality soccer players excelling at a program with a tremendous tradition.
"Connecticut is having an outstanding year, and Storrs is a very difficult place to play."
Curtis Weir is all too familiar with the Huskie home-field environment.
"It seems like the whole state turns out for home games," Weir said. "I've been at UConn a lot, and every time I go to a game, I recognize about one-third of the crowd.
"I'll see a lot of my friends on Thursday and all the ODP (Olympic Development Program) players I grew up with. My coaches from South Kent will be there."
Weir and Blue Demon teammate Anthony Hunter led South Kent to New England Prep School Championships in 2009 and 2010.
Connecticut men's soccer is a pretty good draw with the Huskies attracting a crowd of 5,100 to matches this season against St. John's and Georgetown.
"Curtis is one of the best passers on the team," Blazer said. "His growth and improvement from someone who didn't make the travel squad earlier in the season to starting in 11 games mirrors the evolution of this team.
"We have a group of good, young players who needed experience to feel more comfortable in the college game. It took time for them to learn their roles---not just the freshmen, but all the guys.
"And now, having played quality, ranked opponents all season like Creighton, USF, St. John's, Georgetown and Louisville, we're ready for the challenge that Connecticut presents."
Curtis Weir remembers the early struggles adjusting to Division I soccer.
"Sean has always looked out for me, and he was the one building up my confidence as a freshman," Curtis said. "He really helped me with the transition from high school to college.
"It took me a while to get used to the college game. In the beginning, I had to think about where to go. Now, I'm not thinking so much and just going on instinct.
"Lately, it seems like I have all the confidence in the world."
Weir and his teammates will be up against a confident and talented Connecticut team.
"It's going to be a very exciting match in a great soccer environment," Blazer said. "This is yet another reason why our recruiting classes have developed so quickly.
"We're attracting the type of student-athlete---like Curtis Weir---who wants to compete at the highest level."