“Monday” – The word is emblazoned on the backs of the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team’s practice jerseys as a goal, a reminder. Monday. As in Monday, May 28, the date of the men’s lacrosse Division I NCAA Championship Finals, the team’s ultimate objective for the 2001 season.

The Hoyas have made four consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, including last year’s appearance in the quarterfinals, and they see no reason why they shouldn’t go even further this spring.

The team, which finished atop the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference with a 6-0 record and 12-3 overall, has been picked by ECAC coaches to win the conference championship again. They had six players selected to the All-ECAC Preseason First Team and have 23 letter-winners returning, including two 2000 (USILA)/STX Division I All-Americans, junior midfielder Steve Dusseau and tri-captain and senior attacker Mike Henehan.

This season, the Hoyas’ strength will be their defense. Tri-captain senior defenseman Rodger Colbert was one of the top defenders in the country last season, grabbing 54 ground balls.

“Our strength lies in our ability to see the field as defensemen and as a team,” Colbert said. “Once we get the team concept totally down and know where each player is going, then we’ll be our strongest. It’s just a matter of time, of coming together before, and then we’ll be one of the best defenses in the country, easily.”

Part of Head Coach Dave Urick’s coaching strategy is to emphasize defense. “I’d rather be strong on the defensive end and stop people from scoring. You can have days where maybe offensively you’re having a bad shooting day . but a team that can play consistently good defense is a team that can play into the later part of the season,” Urick said.

The team has some holes to fill at the attack end of the field. Last year’s three starters, Scott Urick, Andy Flick and Peter Velepec, who combined for 110 goals and 63 assists, all graduated, leaving the Hoyas without an attackman with starting experience.

In an attempt to compensate for the loss, Coach Urick moved senior Mike Henehan from midfield, where he has excelled for the past three years, to attack. Henehan has been sidelined with a thumb injury recently and is hoping to return in a few weeks.

Urick will look to sophomore attacker Michael Hammer to step up and fill the empty roles on offense. Senior attacker Jamie Sharpe has never started for the Hoyas, but has been important over the years, including scoring three goals in the fourth quarter of the Hoyas’ comeback win against Hobart last season.

“[Hammer and Sharpe] can help us a lot. They don’t have to be real special, but they have to be solid,” said Urick.

The Hoyas will need to have their offense set up by their defense and midfield. They will rely on their strong defenders and midfielders to push the ball up the field and keep the offensive tempo fast-paced.

“We need to think about generating offense out of our defense,” Urick said. “There’s no doubt we’re going to have to rely heavily on a lot of offensive punch from the midfield. We’re a fairly defensive midfield, and that helps us keep the tempo of game up.”

There are 14 freshmen joining the squad this year, and although it is difficult for a freshman to make an impact on a nationally recognized team like the Hoyas, Urick hopes that several newcomers will be able to contribute. Attackmen Mike Boynton and Neal Goldman have shown promise during the fall season, and because of the vacancies at attack, they will have the opportunity to play a larger role.

The team will play seven home games and six road contests this season, with highlights including Duke, Navy, Syracuse and ECAC power UMass.

“This last week the players have worked really hard and they seemed a little bit more focused on what we need to do,” Urick said. “All the rehearsals are over. You can just see it in people’s eyes.”

And even though the Hoyas face off at Ohio State on Saturday, the day that will be in their minds will be, of course, Monday.

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