The Washington Times - February 23, 2009, 10:03AM

Meant to get to this yesterday, but hopefully you checked Stephen Whyno’s dead-tree edition story on the Georgetown-Maryland lacrosse game on Saturday.

One of the more intriguing developments of the preseason was seeing how down a lot of folks were on Georgetown, which last year missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996.

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The funny thing is, the Hoyas aren’t any more or less talented than they were in recent seasons, when they received plenty of preseason hype before sputtering in the quarterfinals. They were lacrosse’s answer to Old Faithful, and after a while it just seemed smart to slot them into the fifth or sixth slot and just go from there. That’s what I did this spring, too.

I only caught the first half of Saturday’s 13-10 defeat of Maryland (there was some basketball game across campus I had to get to), but it was a more purposeful Hoyas team on display even then. They weren’t as reckless, weren’t as predictable. Yet they still have some players – a lot of them actually – and that’s a potent combination.

Georgetown wasn’t terrible last year; it beat Duke, which no one else managed to do in the regular season. It just lost at an inopportune moment (the last weekend of the season against Penn State) and that was that.

So to say the Hoyas are back is a little misleading. They never really went away. But it’s a decidedly ticked-off crew now, and that might have been the element missing all along.

I moved Georgetown to No. 3 on my Inside Lacrosse ballot; the poll released this morning leaves the Hoyas at No. 5. Either way, Dave Urick’s team figures to be a factor this season, and it might have last spring’s bitterness to thank as what turned them into a better team.

Patrick Stevens