Although a loss to Notre Dame Sunday effectively ended its postseason hopes, Georgetown’s men’s lacrosse team (5-6, 1-2 Big East) will travel to No. 15 Syracuse, trying desperately to salvage a winning season. 

COURTESY GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES
COURTESY GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

The Hoyas have now lost three games in a row, dropping an overtime decision to St. John’s and falling, 15-7, at Villanova before Sunday’s loss to the Fighting Irish. The Orange (7-5, 3-1 Big East), meanwhile, are riding high. Last Tuesday, they beat Hobart, where Georgetown Head Coach Dave Urick coached for 10 years. They went on to thump Rutgers, 19-6, last Saturday.

Since coming to the Hilltop in the 1990 season, Urick has never had a losing season, but the Blue and Gray have finished exactly .500 twice in the last four years. Urick’s squad will have to down a very competitive Syracuse team to break even this year.

The 9-7 loss to Notre Dame, however, does give the Hoyas hope. They played a terrific first half before choking after the break. Although Urick was not happy with the loss, he did think the first half represented some of his team’s best play all season.

“They played well. That’s indicative of what they’re capable of,” Urick said after Sunday’s game.

But, as has been the case all season, their opponents made the big plays when it counted. Unlike the Irish, however, the Orange have not been adept at late comebacks, so the Hoyas hope to have a similarly fast start Saturday.

Syracuse, though, has an answer for any and all offensive woes in senior attack Tommy Palasek. The Johns Hopkins transfer has led the Orange with 18 goals and 17 assists on the season.

Aiding Palasek as scoring threats are sophomore attack Derek Maltz, junior midfielder JoJo Marasco and redshirt senior attack Tim Desko. Each has totaled more than 20 points for Syracuse this year.

On the other side of the field, however, the Orange have struggled. Three different men have started the game in goal this year, which never inspires confidence. Those three goalies — freshman Bobby Wardwell, sophomore Dominic Lamolinara and redshirt sophomore Matthew Lerman — have saved less than half of all shots on goal, an area where Syracuse is outpaced by its rivals.

Georgetown will need to take advantage of this deficiency by playing smart and taking good shots to boost its shooting percentage. The Hoyas will also require more offensive production from the trio of senior midfielder Zack Angel and junior attacks Zac Guy and Jason McFadden.

The team may also make some adjustments, especially to the midfield rotations, since players are tiring more quickly in the heat of the early spring.

“I’m wondering now if we need to get some other people out there in different roles,” Urick said. “As the weather starts to get warmer, we need to take a look at that.”

Either way, Urick is hopeful that senior leadership will help carry the team through the next two games and help secure a winning record.

“You rely on some of these older guys to step up [and] exert themselves leadership-wise,” Urick said. “The key for us is that we have two more games we need to deal with, and we need to deal with it in a positive way.”

Georgetown faces off against Syracuse at 3 p.m. Saturday in Syracuse, N.Y.

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