In a few short weeks, the seniors on the men’s lacrosse team will receive diplomas signifying the end of their undergraduate education on the Hilltop. On Saturday, when fifth-ranked Georgetown play host to Massachusetts, the 15 Hoya seniors will come to another milestone: their last home game at Georgetown.

“We tell our guys at the beginning of the senior year, it goes by fast,” Head Coach Dave Urick said. “The four years fly by, and senior year is something that the guys who think about it a little bit, and take a step back, they realize it is one of the best four years of your life, and it goes by really fast.”

Over the past four years – five for defender Jerry Lambe, attacker Brendan Cannon was quick to note – this group has seen exhilarating success, like its two ECAC titles, and disheartening disappointments, like its three straight quarterfinal losses in the NCAA tournament.

Don’t ask the Hoyas to take a sentimental look at Saturday after last week’s setback to Loyola, though.

“I just try and think about the fact that it’s the next game,” goalkeeper Miles Kass said. “Don’t want to put more stuff in your head that’s going to complicate issues.”

Cannon agreed that they need to focus on the game rather than the pregame ceremonies.

“It’s just the next game, and we’re in a dangerous position. We need to win out to make the playoffs,” he said. “We’re very intent and focused on doing that.”

Saturday will be about the players, but in many ways it’s as much about the parents who have supported them throughout their careers.

“It’s nice to go out on the field earlier with your parents because our parents are so supportive throughout the four years – traveling, coming to all the games, setting up and doing a ton of things that go unnoticed for the most part – so it’s nice to go out on the field with them,” Cannon said.

In the past four years, the Georgetown seniors have a 41-14 record, and Urick was quick to note that the program’s success has as much to do with the role players as it does with the high-profile players that most fans know. These players on top-10 teams, who don’t often see the field, are many times good enough to start on other teams, but because of the quality of their teammates, they are forced to take a back seat.

“These are guys you have a lot of respect for,” Urick said. “Guys who are very good lacrosse players but don’t see a lot of time on game day because of the competition and the level of the players in front of them. You can’t help but have a real strong feel for those guys that are out here everyday running other people’s plays and not having a chance to perform on Saturday afternoon. It’s a key part of a program that aspires to play at the highest level. That’s what those guys do, and they do it very well.”

The stars, like Cannon and Lambe, agreed with Urick and said that getting to see their teammates, who often do not play during games, get into games was one of their best memories from their time on the Hilltop.

“Seeing guys like that go out there and compete is something guys like to see. [Senior attacker Sean] Bailey’s goal was awesome this year, even though it got called off,” Cannon said referring to the Bailey’s goal against Mount St. Mary’s that was called off because of a questionable crease call.

They also said that beating Duke this season was one of their fondest memories, as well as last season’s overtime win over Princeton in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The four seniors laughed when Lambe described Cannon running around the field after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to beat the Tigers.

It’s only natural as a senior to look ahead to the future – to jobs and the real world, but lacrosse players are forced to make a tough decision on whether to continue playing lacrosse or not.

ajor League Lacrosse, which was founded in 2001, is quietly becoming popular, but the league still does not have the financial resources to offer its players – who are the most talented lacrosse players in the world – the same type of salaries seen in other professional leagues. The average salary in the MLL is $13,000, but rookies only make $6,500 on average.

“It’s tough for those guys, and hopefully the situation, if they choose to do it, will be compatible with what they hope to do career-wise,” Urick said. “If someone is going to pay them to do something that I’m sure they would do for nothing, they’ll take advantage of it if they can.”

The players themselves said they had not thought about playing professionally, but when they heard about the compensation they were pleasantly surprised.

“$7,000? That’s pretty sweet. I’d do it for two grand,” Lambe said.

Attacker Andrew Baird said that if he did get drafted, he would have to weigh his options before making a decision to commit.

“We don’t know where we’ll be,” he said. “I have to wait until next year to see if I can accommodate a second job like that.”

“Nah, just travel,” Cannon interjected jokingly.

The draft, which is five rounds with 10 picks in each, is May 28.

But the Hoyas only let themselves think about the future for a moment before refocusing on Saturday’s important matchup with Massachusetts. After last week’s loss at Loyola, the Hoyas now need to win all three of their remaining games and have Loyola slip up to take the ECAC crown. If Georgetown does not win the league crown and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, its can still earn an at-large bid, but will likely need to win its remaining games.

“It’s really frustrating to go through an entire week after a loss because you would like to play on Tuesday or Wednesday, but you have to wait until Saturday,” Cannon said. “So you have a lot of pent up frustration that we have to channel into positive energy.”

The Georgetown-Umass matchup has become something of a rivalry in recent years, with their contest usually deciding the ECAC title. This year, the game may not have the same championship ramifications, but there is still a lot at stake.

“One of my roommates graduated from UMass, so after we beat them, he has to wear a Georgetown shirt for a few days,” Lambe said.

While the players haven’t given much thought past the next few weeks, Urick has, and he knows it will be difficult to replace a class like the one leaving the field.

“You always wonder how you’re going to survive without those guys,” he said. “What are you going to do when they leave? It’s always a concern.”

Eventually, the reality that their time together is over will dawn on Baird and his teammates, but for now their focus is on Saturday and the next three weeks that will determine if they have a spot in the NCAA tournament.

“I don’t think it’s hit us yet,” Baird said about the approaching end to his college career. “It’s one of those things where we’re focused on what we need to do, so we’re taking it game-by-game and day-by-day. We haven’t even realized that this is like our last four weeks or so of playing together.”

Their last home game on Saturday might shed some light on that fact for them.

Game time is set for 1 p.m. at the Multi-Sport Facility.

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