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

For Hoyas, Offense Scores Points, Defense Secures Victory

For Hoyas, Offense Scores Points, Defense Secures Victory

On Defensive Side of Ball, Hole, Bell, Papa Key GU Success

By Karen Travers Hoya Staff Writer

Toward the end of the Georgetown men’s lacrosse 1998 season, the defensive unit became just as critical to the Hoyas’ success as their explosive attack. Opponents knew that Georgetown could score. The question became, could the defense hold their opponents from scoring?

Three defensive players were key to Georgetown’s late season success, including a five-game winning streak April. Senior goalie Brian Hole, senior defenseman Andy Bell and junior defenseman Greg Papa make up the core of the Hoyas’ defense that was able to keep Georgetown alive in tight games as well as bring it back from huge deficits.

Last season, Georgetown qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in its history. In a game that basically would be won by who scored last, the Hoyas pulled out a squeaker against aryland-Baltimore County by shutting down the Terriers attack in the final minutes of the contest.

In the quarterfinals, Georgetown fell behind early to Loyola (Md.), trailing 9-2 at halftime. But the Hoyas came out of the locker room strong, scoring five goals in the third period – and held the top-seeded Greyhounds scoreless over the same period. The Hoyas hung on but not enough to overcome the tournament favorite, falling 12-11.

Throughout the season, Hole, Bell and Papa had played large roles for the Hoyas on defense, their size and athletic ability giving them an edge over smaller teams.

Hole, at 6-2, 205 lbs., is an athletic and commanding presence in the cage and a vocal leader for the defensive squad. The senior captain is coming off a season in which he posted 9.49 goals-against-average and recorded 191 saves. Hole plays the goal closely but has the confidence to leave the cage and jump into the mess that sometimes erupts 10 yards out. Head coach Dave Urick considers him one of the best goalies in the nation and Face-Off magazine agrees, naming Hole as a third-team pre-season All-American for the 1999 season.

Bell and Papa return in front of the goal as the most experienced defensemen for the Hoyas. The two played the same positions last season and their experience will be a critical carry over for the Hoyas this season. Bell finished last season with 47 groundballs and Papa scooped up 26 groundballs. Both play a physical game and are aggressive in front of the goal.

“We have more experience playing together and it will really help a lot [this season],” Bell said. “We got better each game last year.”

Bell was named to Face-Off Magazine’s pre-season honorable mention squad for this season.

This season, Georgetown’s defense unit is looking to be more physical than last year, to force opponents to make more mistakes on offense and to “turn up the intensity,” according to Bell.

“We’re going to be more on the attack,” Bell said. “Not just [sitting] back.”

Georgetown has a big hole to fill in the face-off circle, with the graduation of midfielders Matt Pappas and Steve Iorio. The Hoyas are inexperienced in the circle and as a result, the defense saw the ball down its end of the field more in the preseason scrimmages than they had last season.

“This gives us more opportunity to receive the ball a lot more,” Hole said. “We’re under the gun a lot more and we need to be able to step it up.”

Though Georgetown pulled out some wins because of a strong defensive effort, the Hoyas lost three games by one goal, to then-No. 18 Penn State, then-No. 5 Duke and unranked aryland-Baltimore County. Will there be any need for revenge this season when Georgetown faces off against these squads?

“We’ve played well in some games and had some letdowns, games we should have won,” Hole said. “That will be another goal – those are teams we should beat.”

“Those are teams we have to beat,” Bell said.

 

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