MEN’S LAX Duke Rivalry Rekindled Georgetown Goes Down to Durham By Tom Kenny Hoya Staff Writer

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Senior midfielder Phil Vincenti will look to bring the Hoyas a win against the Blue Devils on Sunday.

Over the course of a season, some games just mean a little more. Sunday’s battle between the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team, ranked No. 7 in the nation in the USILA Coaches Poll, and the No. 6 Duke Blue Devils in Durham, N.C. is one of those games. Though it is not a conference game, it is one that both teams will approach with added intensity.

“It’s kind of a natural rivalry. We’re two very similar schools,” Georgetown Head Coach Dave Urick said. “We overlap a lot in recruiting and we have the same caliber student athletes. It is one of those games that has developed into a very intense rivalry.”

It was not always so. The Blue Devils won the first 11 meeting between the two schools, often in lopsided fashion. However, with Urick’s arrival on the Hilltop in 1990, the lacrosse program began to grow into one of the best in the country. Throughout the 1990s, the Hoyas were competitive with Duke, but could never break through for a victory. Four times, the Hoyas lost by just one goal. They lost 8-7 two years in a row in 1997 and 1998.

But when the Hoyas finally did break through for a victory, it was a big one. Their 17-14 victory in the 1999 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals propelled the Hoyas to their first and only Final Four appearance.

Duke won yet another one goal game, 13-12 in 2000 in Durham, but the Hoyas responded last season at home, dominating the Blue Devils for a 14-7 victory. Senior midfielder/attack Steve Dusseau and junior midfielder Trevor Walker each posted a hat trick for Georgetown. Senior goalie Scott Schroeder stopped 17 shots. After the first quarter ended with the score tied at one, Georgetown outscored Duke 5-1 in the second and rolled to the win.

“That game is certainly something we can point to and say it is the type of effort it takes to beat a team like Duke,” Urick said.

Along with the history between the two schools, there is also the history between the two coaches. In addition to competing against each other in each of the last 10 years with their current squads, Urick and Duke Head Coach Mike Pressler were rivals at the Division III level in the 1980s. Urick’s Hobart team met Pressler’s Ohio Wesleyan squad three times in the National Championship game, with Hobart winning all three times.

However, games of past years will have little direct bearing on this year’s contest. The Hoyas enter the game at 4-0 overall. While they have already beaten very good teams in No. 16 Penn State and No. 13 Cornell, they have yet to face a team as strong as Duke.

“This game comes at a time in the season where we’re doing well,” Urick said. “Now we get a chance to measure ourselves against the best.”

Georgetown should benefit Sunday from its depth in the midfield position. The improved play of the gold line, which consists of junior P.J. Paolisso, junior Mike Zuckerman and freshman Dave Paolisso, has given the Hoyas three strong midfield lines. The gold line finished Saturday’s 18-10 win over UMBC plus five in the coaches’ quality points system, which awards points for goals and assists and deducts points for goals allowed. Only the blue line of Dusseau, Walker and senior Phil Vincenti was better Saturday, with a rating a plus 11.

The Blue Devils will go into Sunday’s matchup with a record of 3-2 overall. Among their wins is a 9-8 victory over No. 5 aryland. However, they have lost two of their last three games. They were defeated 11-9 by No. 3 Loyola on March 9 and lost another tough game Wednesday night, 9-7 to archrival No. 9 North Carolina. Duke led the game 4-1 after the first quarter and 6-5 after the third but could not hold the lead. It should be extra hungry to record a quality victory at home Sunday.

Junior midfielder Kevin Cassese leads the Blue Devils. “He is one of the best athletes in lacrosse,” Urick said. “He can control a game with his face-offs.” Cassese was a Preseason First Team All-American this year and is a finalist for the Tewaarton Trophy. He will play with Dusseau this summer for the U.S. Men’s Lacrosse Team at the International Lacrosse Federation World Championship. He has 10 goals and six assists through Duke’s first five games.

The Blue Devils have long been regarded as one of the most physical teams in the nation. The Hoyas will need to match the Blue Devils in that area Saturday if they hope to come away with a victory. “There’ll be some bodies flying around,” Urick said. “But I’m pretty confident we won’t be intimidated.”

News and Notes

Junior defenseman Pat Collins will miss his third straight game Sunday with a broken hand. Sophomore defenseman Andrew Braziel and freshman defenseman Brodie Merrill will continue to see significant playing time in the backfield . Dusseau was named ECAC Offensive Player of the Week after his five goal, four assist performance Saturday. Brice Queener was named ECAC Rookie of the Week. He scored his first two goals of the season Saturday.

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