MEN’S LAX Georgetown Defeats Penn State, Cornell By Tom Kenny Hoya Staff Writer

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Senior midfielder Mike Kanach competes against Ohio State.

Going into the 2002 season, the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team expected its schedule to be more grueling than any in the program’s history. Three games into the season, its expectations have been proven accurate. The Hoyas, currently ranked No. 7 in the Inside Lacrosse National Media poll, have responded to the challenge, opening the season 3-0 with two of those wins coming against top 15 teams. After defeating Ohio State 10-8 at the home season opener on Feb. 23, they went on the road to beat No. 13 Cornell 8-5 in Baltimore on March 2. Last Saturday, they began their ECAC Conference schedule with a 11-10 victory over No. 14 Penn State in State College, Pa.

Despite two impressive victories in their last two games, Head Coach Dave Urick said he feels there is much progress still to be made before this year’s Hoya squad fully realizes its potential. “I’m pleased to be 3-0,” Urick said, “but this is still a team that is a work in progress.”

Injuries have hampered the Hoyas some in the early going. Four midfielders – junior P. J. Paolisso, junior Mike Zuckerman, junior Trevor Walker and sophomore Mike Boynton – battled various injuries in the preseason. “These guys have to play their way back into shape,” Urick said.

Just as in the Ohio State game the previous week, Georgetown used a late third quarter run to defeat Cornell. With only 13 seconds remaining in the quarter and the score tied 3-3, senior attack Doug Staab scored to give the Hoyas the lead and the momentum. They would score three more times in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter on goals by junior attack Mike Hammer, sophomore attack Neal Goldman and senior midfielder Steve Dusseau to increase their lead to 7-3.

After the Big Red cut Georgetown’s lead to 7-5, Hammer scored his second goal of the game with 1:40 remaining to seal the Hoyas’ second victory of the season. Senior goalie Scott Schroeder made 10 saves as Georgetown outshot Cornell 48-27 on the day.

The Hoyas received an even tougher test this past Saturday against the Nittany Lions. “I think they were acutely aware of needing to raise their level of play for conference games,” Urick said. This year’s conference schedule carries more importance than ever as there will be even fewer at large bids awarded for the 12 team NCAA Tournament field.

Hammer played one of the best games in his Georgetown career Saturday, scoring a career-high four goals including the game winner. “He’s an enthusiastic young man and he plays with a lot of emotion,” Urick said.

Georgetown built up an 8-6 lead through three quarters before Penn State mounted a come back in the final quarter. Senior attack Will Driscoll scored his second and third goals on the day for the Nittany Lions to even the score at 8-8 with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game.

But the Hoyas would strike back in rapid fashion, scoring two goals in only four seconds to retake a two-goal lead. Walker scored off a dish from senior midfielder Phil Vincenti to put the Hoyas ahead 9-8. Then, immediately off the face-off, Dusseau scored on an assist from senior midfielder Mike Kanach. Kanach dominated face-offs in the second half, winning 14 of 15 draws.

However, the Nittany Lions would not go away even after falling behind again. Driscoll would score his fourth and fifth goals of the game to tie the score at 10. Once more though, Georgetown would answer. Hammer scored his fourth goal off a feed from Goldman with just under three minutes remaining to give the Hoyas an 11-10 lead that they would not relinquish. With the loss, Penn State fell to 3-1 on the season.

Senior goalie Scott Schroeder was strong in goal for Georgetown, recording 16 saves Saturday. “Scott continues to be a consistently strong stopper,” Urick said. “He puts us in a position where we can win.” The coaching staff has stressed that the line between being 3-0 and 0-3 is a rather thin one given the small margin of all three of Georgetown’s victories. Schroeder has been a difference maker in all three games. “We’re getting it done, but we’re not playing great lacrosse,” Urick said. We’d like to take the pressure off the goalie.”

The Hoyas return the to the field tomorrow when they play host to conference foe Maryland-Baltimore County. The Retrievers will be one of the few unranked opponents the Hoyas face this season and are coming off a 16-4 defeat at the hands of Cornell last Saturday. However, Urick said he would try to caution his team not look past this game to matchup with No. 6 Duke looming a week from Sunday. There’s a lot of intensity in the Duke game,” Urick said. “Hopefully this is where the leadership kicks in.”

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