Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas NCAA Hopes Dwindling

Saturday’s neutral-site contest against then-No. 16 UMass was billed as an opportunity for then-No. 13 Georgetown to bolster its tournament résumé, which lacked a victory over a top-20 team. A three-goal UMass run in the game’s final five minutes gave the Minutemen (8-4) a narrow 13-12 victory and significantly weakened the Hoyas’ (7-5) tournament hopes.

“We had our chances,” Georgetown Head Coach Dave Urick said. “We had plenty of opportunities, and we just didn’t get the final nail in the coffin.”

Senior midfielder Andrew Brancaccio recorded a career-high five goals for the Hoyas, giving him a team-best 22 for the year. Brancaccio’s first goal of the game sparked a four-goal run late in the first quarter and extending into the second that gave Georgetown a 5-2 advantage.

Yet as seemed to be the case all game, UMass had an answer.

After Brancaccio’s second goal with 11:26 remaining in the second quarter, UMass scored two goals in the next 21 seconds and then another pair in the next five minutes to regain the lead, 6-5. Senior attack Craig Dowd – who finished the game with four assists – fed Brancaccio for the hat-trick late in the quarter, but UMass scored a minute later to retake the advantage going into halftime.

Shortly after the break, junior midfielder Max Seligmann scored the only goal of the third quarter, and his second of the contest, to level the score at 7-7 and set up a frenetic fourth quarter that included 11 goals and four lead changes.

Brancaccio gave the Hoyas their first lead of the half 49 seconds into the fourth, but UMass responded almost immediately with a pair of goals to go ahead 9-8. Senior midfielder Scott Kocis and senior attack Rickey Mirabito – both of whom notched two goals on the day – then swung the momentum back in Georgetown’s favor before Brancaccio’s fifth goal of the game extended the lead to two with 9:12 remaining.

The Minutemen narrowed the deficit to one, but freshman attack Travis Comeau restored the two-goal advantage with 6:18 to go. Sophomore defender Dan Hostetler picked up a ground ball and pushed it ahead for a fast break to senior defender Chris Nixon, who found Comeau all alone in front of the cage.

But then, in a game full of runs, UMass made one final, decisive push. The Minutemen’s leading scorer, Will Manny, picked up his hat trick with 4:48 left. A Georgetown turnover led to the tying goal with 1:28 remaining, and after winning the ensuing faceoff, UMass took the lead with 33 seconds to go on Christian Hain’s ninth goal of the season. The Hoyas had a chance to tie but turned the ball over – their seventh turnover of the quarter – with 20 seconds left and were unable to regain possession.

The Hoyas have displayed a propensity to surrender untimely goals late in games all season, and once again they were unable to secure a victory despite a strong offensive performance. Saturday was the Hoyas’ fourth loss of the year in which they scored more than 10 goals.

“We’ve put ourselves in the situation where, more often than not, we have to outscore the other team,” Urick said. “From a coaching standpoint, you’d much rather be able to play better defense and not have to put that kind of pressure on your offense.”

The defeat was Georgetown’s closest loss of the season, and Urick expressed a feeling that it was a game the Hoyas’ should have been able to pull out.

“We had our chances,” he said. “We can’t point the finger at anybody else but ourselves. We had plenty of opportunities; we just let them off the hook. It’s one of those you look back at it and say `You know, we really should have won this game.'”

UMass moved up to No. 10 in this week’s pool following the victory, while Georgetown slid to No. 15. Despite the Hoyas’ stumbles throughout their last two games, losses from other teams looking to secure the final at-large spots have left the door potentially open for Georgetown.

The Hoyas have two more chances to impress the selection committee, beginning with Saturday night’s home finale against Rutgers. Victories over Rutgers and Villanova could be enough to get Georgetown into the tournament. A loss on Saturday, however, would be the final nail in the Hoyas’ coffin.

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