- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 20, 2006

Georgetown lacrosse coach Dave Urick rattled off thoughts about the Hoyas’ NCAA tournament first round win over Navy on Sunday, then paused after mentioning Brendan Cannon.

The sophomore attackman had just scored a goal and added two assists to help eighth-seeded Georgetown (11-2) secure a quarterfinal date with top-seeded Virginia (14-0). He also committed a slashing penalty to set up a man-up goal and wound up on defense after a particularly aggressive ride, which led to another goal.

“See this gray hair?” Urick joked. “A number of them are directly attributable to Brendan Cannon.”

It might be the price of deploying the feisty dynamo, who has 14 goals and 30 assists entering tomorrow’s quarterfinal held at Towson. Cannon has developed into the Hoyas’ best feeding attackman since All-American Greg McCavera graduated in 1999, providing a much-needed instigator for an offense that has scored more than 11 goals only once this year.

That alone might be reason enough Urick encourages Cannon’s aggressive play.

“He’s the most patient guy in the world,” Cannon said of his coach. “I don’t think if I was on any other team I’d have as much freedom to activate [the offense] and play the way I do.”

Cannon began last season as a midfielder but moved to attack for the final six games. There, he scrambled from behind the cage to score several key goals, becoming the dodging threat who ignited the Hoyas’ offense in a run to the quarterfinals.

Cannon’s role changed again this year as the Hoyas attempted to capitalize on his uncanny vision.

Teammates work hard to get open, knowing Cannon will get them a pass whenever they have a chance to score and sometimes when they do not.

“I don’t think any of us have really seen someone push the envelope as far as his recklessness goes,” junior attackman Trevor Casey said. “He makes up his own moves [through] his own creativity, which is really cool to see.”

That cleverness helped the Hoyas rise to No. 2 in the rankings earlier this season. Cannon still takes it to the cage himself, occasionally allowing his eagerness get the better of him.

“You need to give this kind of player a little bit of latitude and make sure he has the green light,” Urick said. “It’s a fine line. Sometimes when we least want him to take it to the goal or to turn it over, that’s exactly what will happen. It gets a little exasperating, but I’ve been around long enough to know we have to evaluate the bottom line, which for Brendan more often than not is the good far outweighs the not-so-good.”

No one knows that better than Hoyas midfielder Pete Cannon. The senior marvels at his brother’s confidence, ability to see the field and importance to Georgetown’s offense. He also is not shy about quickly correcting Brendan’s mistakes in practice, a tendency that has led to more than a few heated exchanges and some amusement among their teammates.

“I think Brendan is always trying to make big plays with his ability to feed open guys and dodge an opponent and a lot of times he’ll force things while looking for the best opportunity,” Pete Cannon said. “I think I just try to help him understand he has enough talent and ability to create things without trying to do everything on his own.”

The brother act could land in the final four at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field — not far from their hometown of Haverford, Pa. — with an upset tomorrow. The homecoming would cap Pete’s career while giving Brendan an opportunity to continue his breakout season.

It also would alleviate the bitter memories of the program’s four consecutive quarterfinal losses, including three on goals in the final five seconds or in overtime. Georgetown is 0-5 in the quarterfinals since its lone final four appearance in 1999, and returning to the sport’s largest stage is a priority for the Hoyas.

“Memorial Day weekend, other than the Jersey shore, that’s the biggest thing going on in Philadelphia,” Brendan Cannon said. “That would be a lot of fun. Even if the final four was in San Diego or Venezuela, it’d be sweet. It really doesn’t matter where it is. That’s where you want to be.”

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