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

GU Weathers Navy Storm, Advances

Big defensive plays, balanced scoring, role players making key plays at the right moments and perhaps above all else, persistence. Last Saturday against unseeded Navy in the first round of the postseason, Georgetown relied on all of the calling cards of its 2006 season and came away with a 9-7 come-from-behind victory. With the win the Hoyas, making their 10th straight postseason appearance, improve to 12-2 (6-1 ECAC) on the year.The Midshipmen, who had won the Patriot League championship over Army two weeks prior, finish the season 11-4. “It was a very hard-fought game. Obviously, very disappointing for us to lose but I thought we played hard and accounted well for ourselves,” Navy Head Coach Richie Meade said. Midshipmen senior attacker and co-captain Jon Birsner opened the scoring just over a minute into the game, then fed junior attack Ian Dingman at the 9:35 mark to give the academy a two-goal lead. Just 13 seconds later, Birsner, the Patriot League offensive player of the year, scored his 18th goal to run the score to 3-0. Helping Navy to the early lead was a strong showing at the faceoff `X’ from junior midfielder William Wallace, who won all four decisions in the first quarter. After falling behind early, though, the Hoyas responded quickly in the second stanza. “Composure [was the key]. It’s a long game. There’s a lot of time left,” sophomore goaltender Miles Kass said. Junior midfielder Christiaan Trunz took three-of-four faceoffs in the second quarter, which helped the Hoyas to a stronger showing on the offensive end. Georgetown responded with two goals from their own attack, supplied by senior Sean Denihan and freshman Jake Samperton, to cut the lead to 4-2. “I had to change up my clamp to get him out of being so comfortable,” Trunz said of his adjustments on the draw. “Once he started changing up what he did, then I was able to go back to my clamp and [beat him].” Meade was pleased with his team’s faceoff performance, though he added, “They might have played a little niftier than we did. It wasn’t a surprise. You’ve got to go out and play.” Georgetown’s apparent first-half resurgence was cut short when inclement weather stopped play just after the five-minute mark. A pouring rain had drenched the players and fans for most of the quarter, but it was the threat of thunder and lightening that finally forced officials to blow the whistle and clear the benches and bleachers for 30 minutes. “We kind of expected [the weather],” Georgetown’s senior defender and co-captain Reyn Garnett said. “The weather has been bad every single time we’ve played Navy for the last few years.” Once play resumed, the Midshipmen resumed their bombardment of Kass and the Hoya defense. Dingman scored his second of three on an assist from senior midfielder Steve Looney, who played despite a broken clavicle. “We wanted to make sure we came out ready to go and strong. Unfortunately, they got a goal right away, but it didn’t set us back at all,” Garnett said. When the teams emerged from the halftime intermission, the tenor of the game was different from that of the first half. Georgetown outscored the Naval Academy 4-2 in the third period, including an unassisted goal from sophomore attacker Brendan Cannon that finally tied the game at four goals apiece midway through the quarter. The Midshmipmen countered just five seconds later though, when Wallace scooped up a ground ball on the faceoff and fed Dingman for his third goal to restore Navy’s one-goal lead. “Not only does he present a challenge facing off, but he can generate fast breaks,” Urick said of Wallace. Nonetheless, the Hoyas’ decision to use two long poles on the faceoff wings would prove crucial to help shut down Navy’s transition game for the remainder of the afternoon. On the day, the Hoyas won 11-of-20 faceoffs to establish an important edge in possessions, which in turn helped to generate a significant 40-28 advantage on shots. Georgetown sophomore attacker Andy Baird had one of the most important of those shots. With just 2:30 left in the fourth quarter and the Hoyas facing a shorthanded situation, a fast break ended up on Baird’s stick and he capitalized, putting the ball past senior goaltender Matt Russell to tie the game at five. “We got some big plays from some guys that stepped up for us,” Urick said. Meanwhile, eade focused on his team’s defensive lapses. “I thought we gave them too many chances. Every time we got the lead we couldn’t extend [it],” he said. “It wasn’t anything that was a surprise to us. It was just that we didn’t execute throwing and catching.” The teams traded goals before the end of the quarter and once again to open the fourth, as Georgetown fifth-year midfielder Dave Paolisso netted his team-leading 19th and 20th goals of the year – helping to make up for what had been a quiet first-half. Finally, with just 6:25 remaining in the game, it was Baird’s turn to give the Hoyas the lead for good. After taking a pass on the left side of the goal, he beat the defender with a split dodge and put the ball in the back of the net, making the score 8-7. “It all happened so quickly that I just looked up and it was in,” Baird said. Sophomore midfielder Matt McBride added an insurance goal for the Georgetown nearly two minutes later, punching the Hoyas’ ticket to the second round of the tournament and a date with undefeated No. 1 Virginia (14-0, 2-0 ACC) next week. Urick found that his team’s win on Saturday was primarily the product of its toughness. “I thought that this game would be pretty much what you saw. I thought Navy was extremely well-prepared,” Urick said. “We weren’t playing great lacrosse today, we just played very hard. .We tried to emphasize to our guys that they certainly don’t have a monopoly on that style of play.” To defeat the Cavaliers, Urick and the Hoyas will need to play just as tough and continue to rely on their prototypical defense and balanced scoring. Though they did not meet this season, the teams last faced one another in the 2003 NCAA quarterfinals. Virginia ended Georgetown’s season with a 12-7 win at Towson University – the exact location of this weekend’s matchup. Game time next week is set for 3 p.m., following the matchup between No. 2-seed Maryland and No. 7-seed Princeton.

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