- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 15, 2007

Georgetown, never known in recent years for its offensive efficiency, turned to a freshman to snap it out of a shooting slump yesterday against Loyola.

Andrew Brancaccio scored three goals in the second half as the No. 6 Hoyas held off the No. 12 Greyhounds 10-8 at Georgetown’s Multi-Sport Field.

Georgetown (8-2, 4-0 ECAC) shot 6-for-15 in the second half to remain in control of the conference, which regained an automatic NCAA tournament berth for its champion.

“In practice we’re starting to move the ball a lot more, being patient and getting good looks, not just shooting at the goal with no purpose,” Brancaccio said. “We haven’t been shooting that well lately and goalies have been having big games against us, but today we put it in good spots.”

The Greyhounds (5-4, 3-2) lost their second straight game as they squandered an opportunity to take the conference lead. But unlike a week earlier, when it was shredded at Rutgers, Loyola had the better of play for more than a half.

That was before Brancaccio unleashed a barrage to leave the Greyhounds with plenty of work to do in the final three weeks of the season to secure a postseason berth.

“He’s a heck of shooter and he broke our backs today in the second half,” Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. “We probably needed to come earlier to him. I thought we looked tired today. That was the biggest disappointment for me.”

It began to slip away when Georgetown’s Andrew Baird used two Loyola defenders to screen goalie Alex Peaty (nine saves) and tie it at 6-6 in the third quarter. Moments later, Brancaccio confounded Peaty with a sinking shot from 10 yards out to put the Hoyas ahead.

Although the Greyhounds tied it on Jake Willcox’s 12-yard dart, Brancaccio had a few savvy replies. He continued to frustrate Peaty by mixing up the trajectory of his shots and gave the Hoyas the lead for good less than a minute after Willcox’s goal.

The highly regarded freshman’s final goal was especially precise. He caught Peaty as he was dropping his right arm, zipping a 12-yarder over the goalie’s stick for a 9-7 lead with 6:03 left.

“I don’t know if they were used to that, but once we started picking for the ball, they would switch on picks and I would get an open look on that,” Brancaccio said. “If I had a long pole, then I would have a short pole if it was off a decent pick. It was a lot easier to get my hands free.”

The Hoyas’ suddenly hot shooting was capped when Garrett Wilson scored an insurance goal with three minutes left to chase Peaty, and defensemen Jerry Lambe (four caused turnovers) and Barney Ehrmann (three) harassed the Greyhounds into miscues.

Brancaccio, who matched his output from the last four games, provides some hope the Hoyas can improve on their collective 23.1 percent shooting. He also could help Georgetown make a deeper push in next month’s NCAA tournament than the quarterfinal appearances of the last five years.

“He just doesn’t throw it hard at the goal,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. “He puts it in good spots most of the time. He’s not enamored with the top part of the net, which some kids are. The top six inches is all they’ll think about. He puts it where he has to for the most part.”

No. 4 Duke 7, No. 2 Virginia 6 (OT)

DURHAM, N.C. — Brad Ross scored with 2:19 left in overtime and Dan Loftus made 15 saves as the Blue Devils (10-2, 3-0) clinched the regular-season ACC title with a victory over the Cavaliers (10-2, 2-1).

Kip Turner made a career-high 20 saves for Virginia, which had its 10-game winning streak snapped.

No. 8 Navy 12, Army 9

ANNAPOLIS — Ian Dingman scored three goals and Billy Looney added two goals and an assist as the Midshipmen (9-2, 6-0 Patriot) defeated the Black Knights (6-5, 3-3) for the 12th straight time.

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