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

Seniors Savor Lacrosse Friendships Despite Disappointing Finish

Senior goalkeeper Miles Kass knew it as soon as the Penn State players started celebrating their improbable overtime victory in the final game of the regular season.

Some of the other Hoyas had a bad feeling but held out hope. Senior defender Jerry Lambe knew early during ESPN’s selection show.

“In the first five minutes, they put up that graphic that said consecutive tournament appearances, and we would have been second on the list, but weren’t on there,” he said. “That’s when I knew for sure.”

Just like that, for the first time since 1996, Georgetown was not in the NCAA tournament. After a roller coaster season that included such highs as wins over Navy and top-ranked Duke, and lows like ECAC losses to Loyola and Penn State, the Hoyas were left on the outside looking in, a bitter pill to swallow for a program of Georgetown’s caliber.

There were plenty of factors that led to the omission of Georgetown on selection day. There was the selection process, criticized by many lacrosse pundits as flawed, which primarily uses computer numbers to pick the field of 16.

“What’s the point of a [selection] committee if they are only going to go by the numbers?” Lambe said. “Just tell everyone what the formula is and keep the anticipation out of the whole thing.”

There was also the ECAC’s low RPI, which made it likely that the conference would only get one team in the tournament.

“A lot of teams who are usually good, like UMass, had bad years this year, and it just killed our conference’s RPI,” senior attacker Andrew Baird said.

In the end, however, the Hoyas said the burden fell on them, as they were merely 50 seconds away from being in the tournament. The Hoyas held a two-goal advantage over Penn State with less than a minute to go in the game.

“We had the opportunity,” Kass said. “It’s not that we did all in our power and got screwed. The onus is on us to win that last game [at Penn State] and we didn’t get it done.”

While the sting of that Penn State loss and the tournament omission remains, the Georgetown seniors can reflect on four years that were some of the finest the Hilltop has ever seen. The memories range from being the first Georgetown team ranked No. 1 in program history – as they were last year – to being the first team to beat a top-ranked opponent – as they did this year against Duke.

“This senior class has helped to build what over time has become a very strong lacrosse tradition at Georgetown,” Head Coach Dave Urick said. “If you look at that Duke win this year, two guys who were key to that game were seniors Jerry Lambe and Mile Kass, and the rest of [the seniors] have been great, too, over the past four years.”

The memories will be there for the seniors, too. Memories like senior attacker Brendan Cannon’s overtime game-winner to beat Princeton in the first round of the 2007 NCAA tournament or their first-round victory over Navy in 2006 in the pouring rain.

“There are so many memories. The trip to California to play Syracuse as freshman was unbelievable, and the Duke win this year was big,” Baird said. “There’s a lot of memories that aren’t necessarily game-related, too, that we’ll remember.”

Urick saw how close this senior class was and thinks that they have made lifelong friends.

“They may not realize it now, but the friends they make while playing here will last a lifetime,” he said. “They’ll be each other’s best men and the godfathers to each other’s kids. I always tell them that playing here for four years is a special time, and it goes by fast.”

Kass also has recognized what a special bond this group has and feels it is not something that is common for every lacrosse program in the country.

“My brother has come down a lot of weekends, and he played in college, too, and he has really been in awe of how close our class is,” Kass said. “I don’t think it’s that common place for other teams either. It’s really been a privilege to play with this group of guys.”

For now, the seniors look toward the future. They will have to begin looking for jobs, but most say they would like to stay involved in lacrosse. For some, like Lambe, that may mean professional lacrosse; for others, it may mean playing in a casual summer league. Kass even hopes to trade his spot in the crease for a different role on the field.

“I couldn’t play goalie in a summer league,” he said. “It’s brutal being a goalie because they don’t protect you that well in those leagues. I’d definitely try and play another position.”

The wound from the season’s end may still be open, but the Hoyas know that there is more to their lacrosse careers than just one game or one season. They say the disappointment will soon fade, and they will look back on the good times they had and the good friendships they made. The memories will last longer than just one game or one tournament appearance.

“Five years down the line, our topic of conversation won’t be about games or the Penn State game,” Baird said. “It’s going to be more so about the friendships. We made some great friends over the past four years. We’re all definitely going to keep in touch with each other.”

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