Over the past decade, Georgetown has emerged as a perennial power in college lacrosse, and last season proved a fitting illustration of their dominance – that is, until the NCAA quarterfinals.

The Hoyas began the 2005-06 campaign sluggishly with a 10-4 defeat at home against rival Maryland. Though the Terrapins were ranked third in the nation at the time, the loss gave the Hoyas a much-needed wake-up call, and showed the need for improvement on both sides of the ball.

After the loss, Georgetown went on an eight-game winning streak that included wins against four ranked opponents. The Hoyas dispatched No. 7 Syracuse, No. 9 Delaware, No. 17 Hobart and No. 8 Navy in the streak, climbing as high as second in the nation, the highest ranking they would achieve all season.

Beating Syracuse on the road was a particularly cathartic – and dramatic – ECAC victory for the Hoyas, who had never before won in the Carrier Dome. Fifth-year midfielder Dave Paolisso (MSB ’05) led the way for Georgetown with three goals, while sophomore attacker Brendan Cannon added a pair of his own. The Hoyas’ second straight win over the Orange was just another sign that Georgetown has risen to challenge Syracuse’s dominant position in the ECAC.

The Hoyas’ winning streak crumbled in a road loss to No. 20 Loyola, but the squad quickly recovered with a victory on the Hilltop over No. 8 and eventual national runner-up Massachusetts on Senior Day. Seven different Hoyas scored goals in the 8-7 victory, a statistic symbolic of the depth of the Georgetown team.

The seniors proved their worth as contributors for the Hoyas that day. Midfielder Pete Cannon (COL ’06) led the offense with a pair of goals and Paolisso scored a key goal. Fifth-year goalie Rich D’Andrea (COL ’06) made an eye-popping 15 saves and all-American defender Reyn Garnett (COL ’06) played airtight defense to shut down UMass attacker Jack Morrison.

“We really had to come in here, play hard, try and get after a win,” Garnett said after the game. “If we lose this game, who knows about the postseason? There’s the ECAC title, which we want to win every year. This was a big win for us.”

Georgetown finished off the regular season with one-goal wins over Rutgers and Penn State to take the ECAC title for the second time in three years. The Hoyas then entered the NCAA tournament for a first-round game against No. 9 Navy amid a swirl of controversy: Despite its No. 5 national ranking, Georgetown was seeded eighth for the playoffs.

“We kind of question it a bit. [We think] maybe we deserve a different spot,” Head Coach Dave Urick said at the time. “But you don’t want to question it too much . We just have to go out and take care of business.”

Georgetown had toppled the Midshipmen 9-5 earlier in the season, but the tournament game proved a tougher matchup for the Hoyas. It took three fourth-quarter goals for Georgetown to overcome a two-goal halftime deficit – and a lengthy delay caused by lightning – to advance to the quarterfinal game against top-ranked Virginia.

“I thought that this game would be pretty much what you saw. I thought Navy was extremely well-prepared,” Urick said. “We weren’t playing great lacrosse today – we just played very hard. We tried to emphasize to our guys that they certainly don’t have a monopoly on that style of play.”

The Cavaliers, proved too tough for the Hoyas – and everyone else. Georgetown fell 20-8 to the eventual national champions, surrendering nine third-quarter goals in the loss.

With the conclusion of their season, the Hoyas bid farewell to Garnett, Cannon and Paolisso, all three of whom were all-Americans.

Even with the talented trio gone, last year’s underclass leaders can be expected to contribute this season. The Hoyas boast two returning all-Americans in Brendan Cannon and senior defender Jerry Lambe.

Brendan Cannon led the Hoyas in scoring last year with 46 points and was among the nation’s leaders in assists, with 32. Lambe had 25 ground balls and contributed to the Georgetown defense’s 12th national rank in scoring defense, yielding only 8.43 goals per game. Face-Off Yearbook tabbed Cannon and Lambe as preseason second team all-American selections.

If the Hoyas hope to improve on last season’s 12-3 record, a season that saw Georgetown advance to the NCAA quarterfinals for the fifth straight year and the eighth time in the last nine years, a lot will be riding on Cannon’s and Lambe’s shoulders.

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