Feb. 25, 2010
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown men's lacrosse team enters the 2010 season with three goals in mind.
The first goal is for the Hoyas to contend for the inaugural BIG EAST Conference championship. The second goal is to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The third, and ultimate goal, is to win a national championship.
In order to reach those first two goals, Georgetown will face significant challenges and a schedule that is one of the toughest in the country.
As the 2010 college lacrosse season dawns, so does the first year of the newly-formed BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Conference. After playing for nine years in the ECAC Lacrosse League, the Hoyas will join the eight-team BIG EAST Conference. While the schedule will not change much - traditional rivals such as Syracuse, Navy, Duke and Maryland dot the slate as do new BIG EAST foes in Notre Dame, Providence and Villanova - the formation of the conference automatically places Georgetown in the toughest grouping of teams in the country.
Georgetown will also be seeking its first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2007 season, when the Hoyas advanced to the Quarterfinals for the sixth-straight year as the program made its 11th-consecutive appearance in the postseason.
While they are lofty goals, the excitement of the BIG EAST Lacrosse Conference combined with the goal of making it back to the NCAA Tournament, has Georgetown working hard and ready to go.
Despite the loss of co-captains Jake Samperton and Chris Taylor to graduation and the loss of an honorable mention All-American defenseman (Stevie Bauer), Head Coach Dave Urick and his staff are confident that with eight starters returning and a strong recruiting class those goals can be reached.
This year's team returns 36 letterwinners, including senior captains Craig Dowd, Barney Ehrmann and Scott Kocis. The Hoyas top four scorers - Dowd, Kocis, redshirt junior Rickey Mirabito and senior Andrew Brancaccio - all return to the lineup, as well as Ehrmann, an All-American defenseman in 2008, and several key players who made significant contributions last year.
The return of senior Craig Dowd on attack provides Georgetown a veteran leader on offense.
Dowd led the team in scoring last year, scoring 10 goals and handing out a team-leading 23 assists, which ranked among the top-20 in the country. A Second Team All-ECAC selection last year, Dowd ranks 11th all-time at Georgetown with 53 career assists.
Joining him up front will be senior Rickey Mirabito, who scored a team-high 23 goals and was tied for second on the team in scoring with 29 points. In his second year as a starter at attack last year, Mirabito had seven multi-point games and six multi-goal games last year.
Junior Ryan Shuler and freshman Travis Comeau will press for time as the third starting attackman this season. Shuler started eight games last year and finished the season with six goals and four assists for 10 points. Comeau is a crafty left-handed attackman who has a nose for the goal. Comeau comes to Georgetown from The Hill Academy, where he was coached by former Hoya All-American Brodie Merrill,
Juniors David Shriver and Brett Weiss will compete for time on the attack as well as on extra-man. Shriver has gained valuable experience in his first two years and appeared in seven games last season, finishing with two goals. Weiss transferred to Georgetown from Maryland last season and appeared in 12 games, finishing the season with two assists.
Kocis earned First-Team All-ECAC honors last year after missing his sophomore year due to injuries. A big, strong player at 6-4, 215 pounds, Kocis finished the season tied for second on the team in scoring with 29 points. He was second on the team with 21 goals and was named the recipient of the Gewirz Award as the team's Outstanding Offensive Player.
Another big, strong midfielder is the 6-5, 210-pound Brancaccio, who possesses one of the hardest shots in college lacrosse. Brancaccio finished the 2009 season second on the team in goals scored with 22 and fourth on the team with 25 points.
Senior Chris Schuville is one of the best defensive midfielders on the team and he will be a big part of the Hoyas transition game in 2010. Schuville appeared in 13 games last year, scoring three goals and four points.
Senior Eric Reinhardt and junior Max Seligmann are both smart and steady players who play well at both ends of the field and will be major contributors this season. Reinhardt appeared in nine games last season and scored three goals, while Seligmann had a strong freshman season with five goals and nine points and appeared in 13 games last season.
Sophomore Zach Angel, meanwhile, emerged late in the season and was the recipient of the team's Outstanding Freshman Award. He started the last four games of the season and scored five goals and had eight points in the final five games.
Junior Stu Shannon and sophomores Francis McDonough, Gerry Reilly and Kurt Watkinson each gained valuable experience in 2009 and will look to build upon that in 2010. Sophomores Neil McGroarty, Henry VanWagenburg and Brian Will add depth to what is a solid midfield unit.
Georgetown lacrosse has consistently had one of the toughest defensive units in the country. That should remain the same in 2010, with senior anchors Eric Bicknese, Barney Ehrmann and Chris Nixon leading the way.
The Hoyas will have to overcome the loss of Stevie Bauer, who earned honorable mention All-America honors last season, but the trio of Bicknese (6-2, 200), Ehrmann (6-6, 220) and Nixon (6-0, 185) are a physical and imposing backline. Junior Dan Hostetler, the younger brother of former Hoya standout Ben Hostetler, had a productive first season as a defenseman in 2009 and will be looked upon to be a major factor in 2010.
Ehrmann, a Second Team All-ECAC selection in 2009, led the team with 62 ground balls last year, ranking among the top-30 nationally in that category. His 62 ground balls were tied for the 16th-best single-season mark in school history and he had at least five seven times last season.
Nixon appeared in 13 games as a junior, finishing fifth on the team with 38 ground balls, contributing two assists along the way.
Bicknese started every game last season and usually marked the opponent's top off-ball player. He finished the season with 18 ground balls.
Junior Bobby Boyle, who was a member of the United States U-19 World Games gold medal team in 2008, will compete for time as a close defenseman or long-stick middie.
The Hoyas will turn to senior Jack Davis in between the pipes for the second-straight year. A very athletic goalie with good ball-stopping ability and quickness, Davis made 123 saves and had an 8.49 goals-against average last year in his first full season as a starter. Behind Davis' play, the Georgetown defense held nine opponents to fewer than 10 goals last season.
Behind Davis, Urick and his staff have reliable players in sophomore C.T. Fisher and junior Matt Winter who will push for minutes in goal.
Georgetown will have a hole to fill at the face-off X with the graduation of Dan Vinson, a former walk-on who left school among the top-10 all-time.
Junior Brian Tabb, who missed all of last season, should anchor the spot. Tabb, an Under Armour All-American as a senior in high school when he led Georgetown Prep to a No. 1 national ranking, saw limited action as a freshman.
Tyler Knarr, a freshman from Eagleville, Pa., will press for time.
Kocis and Murray will also add depth at the position.
Georgetown lacrosse fans not only have the excitement of the team's typically demanding schedule to look forward to, but this year followers will have a chance to see the Hoyas compete in the BIG EAST Conference, as the league begins its first year of play. On top of that, if fans don't have the chance to see the Hoyas in person, 12 of 14 games this season will be televised, including all eight home games.
Nine opponents on the 2010 slate finished last season ranked among the top-25 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association national poll.
The home schedule includes four games against teams that finished in the USILA top-25, starting with Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 27, one of six Georgetown games that will appear on ESPNU. Other home games slated to appear on ESPNU include home dates against Duke (Saturday, March 27) and Notre Dame (Sunday, April 11). The Hoyas will also host UMass on Saturday, April 24, playing in the ESPNU Warrior Lacrosse Classic in Hartford, Conn.
A pair of road games will be shown live on ESPNU, first against Syracuse (Saturday, March 13) and then against Loyola (Saturday, April 17).
Other home games include dates against Harvard (Wednesday, March 3, MASN), Delaware (Wednesday, March 17, MASN), Mount St. Mary's (Wednesday, April 7, FIOS) and Rutgers (Saturday, May 1, FIOS).
Georgetown's other televised contest is a date with long-time rival Navy on Friday, April 2, which will be aired on the CBS College Sports Network.