- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2006

The Georgetown lacrosse team weathered nearly everything in its NCAA tournament first round game yesterday — a three-goal deficit, a half-hour lightning delay and, finally, unseeded Navy.

The eighth-seeded Hoyas rallied for a 9-7 victory at the Multi-Sport Field, earning a berth in the quarterfinals for the fifth straight year behind what was rarely textbook-worthy play but was nevertheless effective.

“We try to emphasize those things more than anything else, playing hard and being persistent,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. “We weren’t playing great lacrosse today, we just played really hard.”

Georgetown (11-2) will face top-seeded Virginia on Sunday at Towson. Ian Dingman scored three goals for the Midshipmen (11-4), who lost to the Hoyas for the second time this season.

“You don’t want it ever to end like this,” senior goalie Matt Russell said. “To Georgetown’s credit today, I think they played a better game than we did. That’s something we have to live with.”

It didn’t look as though it would be that way in the first six minutes, when Navy raced to a 3-0 lead. Yet with rain pouring and the Hoyas applying plenty of pressure, the Mids were a meager 9-for-17 on clears in the first half and failed to put Georgetown away.

The Hoyas pulled within 3-2 before lightning suspended the game for 30 minutes late in the second quarter. Navy still led by a goal late in the third when Hoyas attackman Andrew Baird scored a short-handed goal to stifle an opportunity for the Mids to pull away.

Navy’s biggest problem was earning possession in the final three quarters. Navy’s William Wallace won the first four faceoffs, but Georgetown’s Christiaan Trunz adapted with the help of two poles on the wings to win 11 of his last 15 draws.

“He got in a bit of a rhythm in the first quarter, so I had to kind of change up from the clamp to try to get him out of being so comfortable and using his clamp,” Trunz said. “Once he started thinking a little bit and once he started changing up what he did, I was able to go back to my clamp and really take advantage of it.”

The teams traded goals well into the fourth quarter, and Baird deposited the go-ahead score with 6:25 left. Matt McBride added an insurance goal from 12 yards out less than two minutes later, providing Georgetown with even greater freedom to harass Navy when it had the ball.

The Mids couldn’t close within a goal as the Hoyas moved within a game of their first final four appearance since 1999. They will likely face Virginia without fifth-year senior Mike White, Georgetown’s top defensive midfielder, who suffered a right knee injury in the first quarter.

It was the final game for Navy stars Jon Birsner (two goals) and Russell (10 saves). It was also a farewell for Steve Looney, who returned less than a month after suffering a broken collarbone and played extensively on the first midfield line and on the faceoff wing.

Those three helped Navy reach the national title game in 2004 and win three straight Patriot League titles as the Mids re-emerged as a national power after more than a decade as a plucky team that came close to pulling upsets but rarely did so.

“When they got here in 2003 as plebes, our program wasn’t what it is now,” Navy coach Richie Meade said. “There was a time back in the ‘80s where people kind of feared playing Navy, and I think that kind of respect went away for a couple years. Since these guys got here and through the course of their career, we’ve got that back a little bit. … I think this class should get a lot of credit for that.”

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