Aiming high is nothing new for the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team. For years now, winning the national championship has been an achievable goal for the program.

“Like every year, players and coaches share the goal of competing for the national championship,” Head Coach Dave Urick said just before the start of the 2002 season.

The Hoyas came pretty close that year, but fell short at the end, losing a 14-13 heartbreaker to defending national champion Princeton in the NCAA quarterfinal.

The next year, the goal was the same.

“The goal here is to play on Monday [Memorial Day, the day of the national championship game],” Urick said at the start of the 2003 season.

Unfortunately for the Hoyas, the result was the same, too. They were knocked off by eventual national champion Virginia in the NCAA quarterfinal.

Nothing about that goal had changed when the 2004 season rolled around.

“The goal here is to play on Memorial Day, on onday,” Urick said a year ago.

But once again, heartbreak awaited the Hoyas at the end of the road. In what may have been the most agonizing loss of them all, Georgetown led for large portions of its NCAA quarterfinal against Syracuse, and had the ball with the score tied at 7-7 in the final minute. A crucial offside penalty cost Georgetown the possession, though, and the eventual national champion Orange found the net with five seconds remaining to send the Hoyas home a game short of the Final Four for the third straight season.

Three straight losses to the three schools that have combined to win the last 13 NCAA titles is nothing to be embarrassed about. After 15 straight winning seasons, eight straight NCAA tournament appearances, seven straight seasons with 10 wins or more, six trips to the NCAA quarterfinals in the last eight seasons and one Final Four appearance in 1999, there is no doubt that Georgetown has one of the nation’s premier men’s lacrosse programs and that it is a serious threat to win a national championship every single year.

But the fact remains that the Hoyas are still just a cut below the Virginias, Princetons and Syracuses of the college lacrosse world that have dealt Georgetown so many tough losses over the course of the last decade.

The program has made an incredible turnaround under Urick from a team that had exactly zero winning seasons in its first 20 years of existence to one that has spent nearly every week in the top 10 over the course of the last eight seasons. It has just not been able to leap over the final hurdle which separates it from the select few programs that have won national championships.

Will 2005 be the year the Hoyas make the final leap?

They certainly field as good a team as any in the past with the usual litany of preseason All-Americans and a No. 6 ranking in the Inside Lacrosse magazine preseason coaches’ poll. But the same teams who have kept the Hoyas from reaching their ultimate goal in years past are also back just as strong and ready to knock the Hoyas off yet again.

Syracuse, with an amazing streak of 22 straight Final Four appearances to its credit, enters the season ranked No. 2. Princeton is ranked No. 3 while Navy, who beat Georgetown 7-5 last year on Harbin Field and reached the national championship game, is ranked No. 4. Local rival Maryland, who crushed Georgetown 14-5 in the 2004 season opener at Harbin Field, is ranked No. 5. Virginia, two years removed from its last national championship, sits just behind Georgetown at No. 8.

While the talent is there for the Hoyas to finally make their big run, they could see their dreams dashed yet again by a team that’s maybe just a little bit better. Before the NCAA tournament starts we should have a pretty good idea whether 2005 will be any different from recent seasons.

Navy, Maryland and Syracuse all appear on Georgetown’s regular season schedule, as well as No. 12 Rutgers, No. 13 Duke and No. 15 UMass. The Hoyas need to pick up some big wins against the teams ranked ahead of them if for no other reason than to prove to themselves that they can. Georgetown’s records have been outstanding in the last decade, but wins over teams ranked in the top five have been few and far between.

“These guys want to play on Memorial Day,” Urick said. “That has been the goal and I think it will always be the goal.”

Just maybe, 2005 will be the year when the goal finally becomes reality.

Tom Kenny is a senior in the College. He can be reached at kennythehoya.com. Running the Option appears every Friday.

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Aiming high is nothing new for the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team. For years now, winning the national championship has been an achievable goal for the program.

“Like every year, players and coaches share the goal of competing for the national championship,” Head Coach Dave Urick said just before the start of the 2002 season.

The Hoyas came pretty close that year, but fell short at the end, losing a 14-13 heartbreaker to defending national champion Princeton in the NCAA quarterfinal.

The next year, the goal was the same.

“The goal here is to play on Monday [Memorial Day, the day of the national championship game],” Urick said at the start of the 2003 season.

Unfortunately for the Hoyas, the result was the same, too. They were knocked off by eventual national champion Virginia in the NCAA quarterfinal.

Nothing about that goal had changed when the 2004 season rolled around.

“The goal here is to play on Memorial Day, on onday,” Urick said a year ago.

But once again, heartbreak awaited the Hoyas at the end of the road. In what may have been the most agonizing loss of them all, Georgetown led for large portions of its NCAA quarterfinal against Syracuse, and had the ball with the score tied at 7-7 in the final minute. A crucial offside penalty cost Georgetown the possession, though, and the eventual national champion Orange found the net with five seconds remaining to send the Hoyas home a game short of the Final Four for the third straight season.

Three straight losses to the three schools that have combined to win the last 13 NCAA titles is nothing to be embarrassed about. After 15 straight winning seasons, eight straight NCAA tournament appearances, seven straight seasons with 10 wins or more, six trips to the NCAA quarterfinals in the last eight seasons and one Final Four appearance in 1999, there is no doubt that Georgetown has one of the nation’s premier men’s lacrosse programs and that it is a serious threat to win a national championship every single year.

But the fact remains that the Hoyas are still just a cut below the Virginias, Princetons and Syracuses of the college lacrosse world that have dealt Georgetown so many tough losses over the course of the last decade.

The program has made an incredible turnaround under Urick from a team that had exactly zero winning seasons in its first 20 years of existence to one that has spent nearly every week in the top 10 over the course of the last eight seasons. It has just not been able to leap over the final hurdle which separates it from the select few programs that have won national championships.

Will 2005 be the year the Hoyas make the final leap?

They certainly field as good a team as any in the past with the usual litany of preseason All-Americans and a No. 6 ranking in the Inside Lacrosse magazine preseason coaches’ poll. But the same teams who have kept the Hoyas from reaching their ultimate goal in years past are also back just as strong and ready to knock the Hoyas off yet again.

Syracuse, with an amazing streak of 22 straight Final Four appearances to its credit, enters the season ranked No. 2. Princeton is ranked No. 3 while Navy, who beat Georgetown 7-5 last year on Harbin Field and reached the national championship game, is ranked No. 4. Local rival Maryland, who crushed Georgetown 14-5 in the 2004 season opener at Harbin Field, is ranked No. 5. Virginia, two years removed from its last national championship, sits just behind Georgetown at No. 8.

While the talent is there for the Hoyas to finally make their big run, they could see their dreams dashed yet again by a team that’s maybe just a little bit better. Before the NCAA tournament starts we should have a pretty good idea whether 2005 will be any different from recent seasons.

Navy, Maryland and Syracuse all appear on Georgetown’s regular season schedule, as well as No. 12 Rutgers, No. 13 Duke and No. 15 UMass. The Hoyas need to pick up some big wins against the teams ranked ahead of them if for no other reason than to prove to themselves that they can. Georgetown’s records have been outstanding in the last decade, but wins over teams ranked in the top five have been few and far between.

“These guys want to play on Memorial Day,” Urick said. “That has been the goal and I think it will always be the goal.”

Just maybe, 2005 will be the year when the goal finally becomes reality.

Tom Kenny is a senior in the College. He can be reached at kennythehoya.com. Running the Option appears every Friday.

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Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.