- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 21, 2009

The NCAA tournament selection announcement came and went a season ago, and something was different with Georgetown’s lacrosse team.

The Hoyas turned in their equipment after the first weekend of May. There were no more practices, no more games. No 12th consecutive postseason berth.

Instead, the talented Hoyas remained at home, a couple of ill-timed losses and a weak league conspiring to snap the sport’s second-longest NCAA streak. Until Saturday, anyway.

The No. 8 Hoyas open the season at No. 3 Maryland (2-0) in a game that serves as Georgetown’s first step toward regaining what it lost with last year’s postseason snub.

“You get used to being in that thing and taking it too much for granted, maybe,” coach Dave Urick said. “I think there’s certainly — I don’t know if urgency is the right word, but there’s a sense of a work ethic and commitment to doing what we need to do both on and off the field to get back to where we feel we deserve to be.”

Based on talent alone, the Hoyas could be a factor again as early as this year. Andrew Brancaccio leads a deep and talented midfield, and junior Barney Ehrmann is the latest athletic pole to play for the program.

Then there’s the void created last season. Georgetown had lost in the NCAA quarterfinals for a record six straight seasons, but a missed postseason altogether could help the program in the long term if the effort remains the same.

“That’s a good thing, and it comes from them,” Urick said. “It comes from the coaches to an extent, but it’s much more meaningful when it comes from players. They’re working as hard as any team we’ve had here. We as coaches can’t complain about how hard they’re working and their focus and all that. Hopefully that will translate.”

Groot breaks out

Maryland’s first weekend featured a pair of routs, solid goalie and faceoff play and attackman Will Yeatman’s debut.

It was also an ideal start for senior Dan Groot, who had two goals and three assists and also played sound defense. A year ago, the midfielder’s goals total dipped from 21 to 12.

“He was up-and-down scoring, but he wasn’t up-and-down playing,” coach Dave Cottle said. “He’s invested an awful lot into this season. I’m glad to see him be rewarded.”

Groot could become one of the biggest beneficiaries of Yeatman’s addition, but his greatest jump could arrive because of improved shooting. He shot 20.7 percent last season, a figure Cottle believes will improve this spring.

Ghitelman’s strong start

Adam Ghitelman began last season as Virginia’s goalie, absorbed a humbling loss at Maryland and wasn’t heard from the rest of the season.

He won’t remain quiet this year.

The sophomore made 12 saves in Monday’s 10-4 defeat of Bryant, signaling he could build off his all-world turn at the under-19 championships last summer. The No. 1 Cavaliers visit Stony Brook on Saturday.

“What you need from your goalie at the highest level sometimes is for the goalie to kind of get the fat out of the fire,” coach Dom Starsia said. “I thought Adam did that. It isn’t a question of holding down the fort. It’s actually helping your team win. That was Adam’s first time for that. You can say it’s Bryant and, ‘Well, it’s not that big of a deal.’ But it was important.

“That game could have been much more of a dogfight if he didn’t play as well as he did.”

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