A year after losing 16 seniors to graduation, the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team returns to action Saturday against Lafayette with a new look and a new coach.
Following the July decision of Dave Urick — the longtime face of the program and head coach of 23 years — to step down, the Hoyas will be led out onto MultiSport Facility tomorrow afternoon by debuting Head Coach Kevin Warne. A new addition to the Blue and Gray community, Warnepreviously served as an assistant coach for two years at local rival Maryland, where he further developed his upstanding reputation as a top defensive strategist. After helping the Terrapins on their way to the NCAA championship game in each of his two seasons in College Park, Warne can only hope that his postseason charm can follow him down to the district come May.
But the postseason currently stands oh-so-far away for a Georgetown unit that saw its season of middling success come to a close with the sounding of the buzzer at its regular season finale last April. The Hoyas finished a disappointing 7-6 overall with a 3-3 record in Big East competition despite prevailing in their final two games of the season.
A mere 48 hours after Valentine’s Day, this weekend’s date with Lafayette of the Patriot League could be just what the Blue and Gray need to start the 2013 campaign off in style. The Leopards were an underwhelming 3-10 overall in 2012, with a dismal 1-6 record outside of Easton, Pa.
Neither head coach was present for last season’s meeting between the two programs, when the Hoyas declawed the Leopards for an 8-5 road victory. Along with Warne’s debut, Saturday will mark the first appearance for Jim Rogalski on the sidelines for the Maroon and White. Lafayette does return an experienced roster, however, with eight starters and 25 letter-winners returning to this year’s squad.
“We’re very experienced on the defensive side of the ball,” Rogalski said in a release from the Lafayette Athletic Department. “As the guys play together and begin to gel, I think we could have a pretty solid unit.”
Conversely, Georgetown takes the field with a relatively youthful look, having lost 16 seniors over the offseason. But that’s not to say that the Hoyas’ returning corps is without talent; three members of the Blue and Gray senior class were named to the all-Big East Preseason Team, including attackman Brian Casey, midfielder Dan McKinney and defender Chris Nourse.
“I’m glad to see three of our hardest-working guys earn the preseason acknowledgement,” Warne told guhoyas.com. “Brian, Dan and Chris have worked very hard and have shown good leadership and are deserving of the recognition.”
Casey, who switched mid-season from midfield to attack in 2012, led the Hoyas last year with 35 points on 20 goals and 15 assists. Casey will compete on the Hilltop this spring before trying his luck in the pros with Major League Lacrosse’s Charlotte Hounds.
“Being selected in the Major League Lacrosse draft is an honor, and I could not be more excited for the opportunity in the future,” Casey told guhoyas.com. “There is still a lot of lacrosse to be played at Georgetown this spring.”
McKinney finished with 13 goals and six assists in 2012, while Nourse was third in the Big East last season with 1.62 turnovers forced per game. Returning senior Zac Guy will also be a threat on the Hoyas attack, having recorded 29 points last year, a tally that includes two goals against Lafayette.
The Hoyas begin the season with the NCAA’s No. 23 RPI and unranked in both the USILA and Inside Lacrosse polls.
Face-off against the Leopards is set for noon tomorrow on MultiSport Facility.