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

First-Quarter Burst Keys Hoya Win

For the first time in recent memory, all of Georgetown’s woes were left behind, as the Hoyas recorded a much needed victory to revive their slim tournament hopes. Junior midfielder Scott Kocis and senior attack Jake Samperton had three goals each, as the Hoyas jumped to a quick first-quarter lead and held off a furious comeback by No. 15 University of Massachusetts, Amherst (7-4, 4-1 ECAC) for a 10-7 win. The win propelled Georgetown (6-6, 2-3) back into the Nike/Inside Lacrosse top 20, while UMass saw its first loss in conference play.

“It was huge for us,” Head Coach Dave Urick said. “And we did it on the road in a very hostile environment. Our guys had a determined mindset.”

The Hoyas have struggled immensely this year in the first quarter – they had scored only two first-quarter goals in the four ECAC games leading up to Saturday – but a combination of ball control and groundball pickups got the Blue and Gray off to a fast start. After both teams traded goals to start the game, Samperton and Kocis exploded for two goals apiece in a 4-0 run. Samperton kicked off the run with seven minutes to go in the first, scoring unassisted after a groundball pickup and clear by senior midfielder Ben Hostetler.

After Georgetown lost the ensuing faceoff – its third loss in a row – Urick put in senior Michael Shotwell. Shotwell didn’t let him down, winning 12 of the next 16 faceoffs before adding a goal – the first of his career – in the final seconds of the game.

“Shotwell came up big for us,” Urick said. “He doesn’t always win [faceoffs] cleanly, but he scraps and hustles for them. He’s got great upper-body strength, and he’s not the most the most aesthetically pleasing out there [at the faceoff X], but he won some for us.”

A few minutes later, Kocis got in on the action, scoring his 14th and 15th goals of the season in a span of 35 seconds. The first, with 3:17 left in the quarter came after a groundball by junior defense Barney Ehrmann, who had four on the day. Ehrmann, who normally plays defensive midfield, was forced to play close defense in the contest after junior Chris Nixon fell to an injury. It was not the first time he had played close defense, having stayed close in the Hoyas’ 13-10 win over then-No.10 Maryland in February. Urick was pleased with how he responded to the switch.

“Sometimes we take Barney for granted with the way he picks up groundballs,” he said. “[Assistant Coach] Matt [Rienzo] put him at close D, and it was a good matchup for us. UMass has a pretty good attack, and I think we did a pretty good job on them.”

The Hoyas would build a 6-2 lead late in the first half after Samperton’s third goal of the game.

“Jack played hard for us, and I think [the way he played] was really the way the entire team played in the game,” Urick said of his senior co-captain.

The Minutemen, hoping to clinch the ECAC championship, refused to let the Hoyas run away with the win. Starting with under a minute to play in the first half, the hosts ripped off a 4-0 run over the next 17:50, headlined by senior attack Jim Connolly, who scored his 27th and 28th goals of the season. Six Georgetown turnovers in the third quarter only aided the Massachusetts attack.

With the Minutemen steadily gaining momentum, Kocis put an end to the run with a man-up goal with 7:51 to go in the game to give the Hoyas the lead at 7-6. Three more Hoya goals and strong play in the cage by redshirt sophomore Jack Davis, who had 14 saves on the day and three in the period, kept the Minutemen at arm’s length the rest of the way.

“It was good to get a cushion there at the end of the game because they’re the type of team that can score fast,” Urick said. “I think it’s safe to say that Jack had probably his best day of the season. From beginning to end he cleared the ball well and he made a bunch of huge saves.”

Davis’ efforts earned him ECAC Defensive Player of the Week, while Kocis garnered Offensive Player of the Week for his three-goal performance.

With two games remaining in the ECAC, Urick insists that the Hoyas, who sit at No. 18 in the rankings, are not out of the postseason discussion just yet.

“Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know,” he said. “We just have to win, and if we do that who knows. I do know that there are a lot of people who say that if we win out then we’re definitely in the discussion. We just have to win, though, and see what happens.”

The Hoyas will have a chance to improve their resume on Saturday against Rutgers, which also sits at 2-3 in conference play. Game time is set for 11 a.m. at the MultiSport Facility.

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