- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 8, 2003

It took only one game for Georgetown to prove it could be one of the nation's top defensive teams.
The sixth-ranked Hoyas (1-0), who returned nearly all of the midfield and defense from a team that reached the NCAA quarterfinals a year ago, kept last Saturday's opener against Cornell tight despite a mere two goals in the first half. After the break, Georgetown unleashed an 11-goal barrage to win 13-6.
The defense was a known commodity entering the season, but sophomore goalie Rich D'Andrea wasn't. Although he faced only 14 shots on goal, D'Andrea's debut was impressive.
"Rich did well. He made good decisions," coach Dave Urick said. "He did not make a lot of saves, but he made some big saves. Some were absolutely point blank."
D'Andrea will need to continue that as Georgetown begins ECAC play today against Penn State. Only two teams from the league reached the tournament last season, but now five are in the top 15.
Rutgers has vaulted into the rankings with a 4-0 start, including an opening win at Towson. Penn State, which went 8-5 a year ago with a youthful team, is 1-1 and could contend for its first NCAA tournament berth.
"They're just a very athletic group of lacrosse players," Urick said of the Nittany Lions. "They don't do anything fancy or complicated. They just play hard and play an aggressive style of defense."
Then there's Navy, which visits defending league champ Massachusetts today. The Midshipmen (3-0), who are coming off a quadruple-overtime defeat of North Carolina, also have relied successfully on an untested goalie, sophomore Seth DiNola.
DiNola has allowed 19 goals in three games as the Mids surged to No.9 in this week's rankings. DiNola, who made 12 saves against North Carolina, was the ECAC's defensive player of the week.
McCormick shines
Maryland goalie Danny McCormick had perhaps the best game of his career Sunday against Duke. After giving up three quick goals to the Blue Devils, McCormick saved 16 of the next 17 shots on goal as the Terps cruised to a 13-7 win.
The presence of Michael Howley, Chris Passavia and Lee Zink arguably the best close defense in the nation certainly helps McCormick, but the redshirt senior has saved more than 62 percent of the shots he's faced in his career. With many of last year's elite goalies gone to graduation, the second-year starter is one of the early All-American favorites.
Groundballs
Georgetown's Kyle Sweeney, Maryland's Michael Howley and Mike Mollot and Virginia's John Christmas, Tillman Johnson and Chris Rotelli are among 16 players named as candidates for the Tewaaraton Trophy, college lacrosse's equivalent of the Heisman. Maryland's Brian Hunt and Virginia's Brett Hughes and A.J. Shannon are on the award's watch list. …
Virginia's game against No.11 Notre Dame on Tuesday has been moved from Alexandria's Episcopal High School to Charlottesville. … Johns Hopkins, which shares the No.1 spot with Virginia in this week's rankings, has been the top team for five weeks since the beginning of last season after spending one week there from 1996 to 2001. … The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's nine teams are a combined 1-21 entering the weekend, with Manhattan picking up the lone win against Air Force.

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