- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The only Division I men’s lacrosse programs inside the Beltway will meet for the 10th straight season Friday — and perhaps for the last time in a long while.

The Maryland-Georgetown lacrosse series could prove to be the most high-profile collateral damage in the latest spat between the two schools, which went public in a report in The Washington Post.

A Maryland spokesman acknowledged his school would honor all existing contracts but would not agree to further matchups in any sport until a series in men’s basketball was arranged.

“Maybe they can just talk and resolve it,” Maryland lacrosse coach John Tillman said. “I’m not part of those discussions. I hope something gets worked out for all the sports and for both schools and it’s done in a way where everyone is happy.”

The decision to begin a steady Maryland-Georgetown series was a significant step in 2003, when the teams first met in the regular season. The Hoyas emerged as a consistent NCAA tournament team in the late 1990s, though their only game against Maryland before 2003 was a 1997 NCAA tournament loss in College Park.

Maryland is 9-2 all-time against the Hoyas, including 7-2 in regular-season meetings. The No. 7 Terrapins (1-0) are unbeaten in four games at Georgetown, which will play host to Maryland in its season opener Friday.

Georgetown coach Dave Urick declined to comment extensively on the state — or, more accurately, the fate — of the series.

“That’s something where we’ve been asked to just direct inquiries to other people on campus,” Urick said. “I obviously would love to keep playing them.”

On the surface, it would seem the Hoyas’ schedule has taken a hit from a local perspective. The addition of Big East games in April forced Georgetown to shift its annual date with Loyola to a midweek slot in March. Navy moved its Patriot League game with Lehigh to the weekend slot previously occupied by the Hoyas.

This is the first season since 1990 that Georgetown and Navy will not play, though the hiatus might only last one year.

“The Navy thing is going to come back relatively soon,” said Urick, whose team’s last six games with the Midshipmen have been decided by two goals or less. “I think we’re going to be able to get them on the schedule as early as next year. It’s tentative, but it’s fairly close to being reality.”

Through a team spokesperson, Navy coach Rick Sowell said the Mids and Georgetown plan to face each other again.

Whether Maryland quickly can return to the Hoyas’ schedule appears far less certain.

“Maryland-Georgetown, it’s got all the makings of a classic rivalry,” Tillman said. “One’s a big school, one’s smaller. One’s a little more rural, one’s in the city. I would love to see that continue. From my talks [with Urick], I think he would, too. I hope something gets resolved because I think it’s good for both programs.”

Notes: Injured Georgetown defenseman Chris Nourse could play Friday, a potentially unexpected boost for the Hoyas.

Nourse led the Hoyas with 35 caused turnovers last season.

“We didn’t think we’d have him and it’s still to be determined, but he’s gotten back a lot faster [than anticipated],” Urick said. “He’s a key guy at that end. You want to make sure you do what’s prudent.”

Tillman indicated attackman Owen Blye (19 goals, 14 assists in 2011), who was used sparingly in the second half of the Terps’ opening win against Hartford, will play Friday. It is uncertain if Blye’s undisclosed injury will limit him again.

“I would say if he played last week, he’ll probably play this week,” Tillman said. “How much? I don’t think he got any worse on Saturday.”

• Patrick Stevens can be reached at pstevens@washingtontimes.com.

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