Washington, DC - The Georgetown Hoyas responded from a let-down last weekend against Loyola by stifling the powerful UMASS offense. It didn't come easy, as 3-year starter, now defensive midfielder, now starting goalie again, 5th year senior Rich D'Andrea played brilliantly in goal for his 2nd senior day. His 15 saves came often on point-blank, should-be goals. For UMASS, their goalie, Doc Schneider, played pretty good as well, with 9 big saves. However, Sean Morris carried the offense with three goals and an assist.
Both teams started the game by trading possessions. UMASS looked especially crisp on offense in the early going. Just a few minutse in, UMASS was moving the ball well and got a nice look at the cage. D’Andrea made his presence known early and made a nice save on a low shot. From here out in the first quarter, the Hoyas pretty much controlled the ball and jumped out to a 3-0. lead.
For those not familiar with the situation, Rich D’Andrea was a three year starter (2003-05 seasons) for Georgetown. He came back for a fifth year and opted to play defensive midfield allowing Miles Kass, a big-time recruit – now a sophomore, the chance to start in goal. Kass went down with an injury at the end of March, and so D’Andrea traded in his short-stick for a return to the goal. D’Andrea was in net as the Hoyas beat Navy and Fairfield. Kass returned against Loyola last weekend, but left the game and D’Andrea returned.
“I’ve been working pretty hard the last couple of weeks. I’ve been getting a lot of support from all the guys on our team. So I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with each game. It’s nice because I’ve been fortunate to be able to do this for the last three years. So it’s not the most dramatic jump. Like I said, I’ve just been getting a lot of help from everyone,” said the 5th year senior D’Andrea. “Yeah, I definitely am [looking forward to playing defensive midfield. I’ve never had the chance to do that before and this year is one of the most fun years I’ve ever had. I am looking forward to that and we’ll see when that happens. It’s kind of week-to-week with Miles. We’ll see what happens down the stretch here.”
Georgetown head coach Dave Urick echoes his goalie’s sentiments.
“I will tell you, he’s [D’Andrea] a great athlete that just happens to be a goalie as well, I guess. He’s something. He’s just one of the better athletes I’ve been around. To be honest with you, he doesn’t particularly like playing in the goal. He’d rather be out there running around playing defensive midfield. One thing that he puts first and foremost is the welfare of what we’re all about as a team,” said Urick. “He’s back in there and he’s starting to like it a little more I think when he gets all these pencils in his face after a game. I guess that’s a good thing.”
D’Andrea’s performance in goal really made it difficult for the UMASS offense to ever get going. Off-ball pressure was applied to Tewaaraton candidate, Sean Morris, all over the field. It wasn’t necessarily a shut-off, but they didn’t make him be an easy outlet for the ball. Fellow Tewaaraton candidate, Georgetown’s Reyn Garnett, was responsible for covering Morris for a lot of the game. Garnett held the battle after an early poke check takeaway when Morris tried to switch directions. Morris, however, won the later battle as he took over in the 3rd quarter with a hat trick. The last two came on nearly identical question mark dodges, one to each side. To finish each, they weren’t necessarily the hardest shots. The one to his left he did a little jump and D’Andrea bit low as Morris floated the ball into the top of the net.
“Well, we thought we’d put Reyn on him and Jerry [Lambe] both. Put two different guys on him throughout the course of the game,” said Urick. “Looked like Reyn was getting a little tired and that made us switch and put Jerry back on him. He’s a heck of a player, you’re not going to shut him down, that’s for sure. You just hope he doesn’t have a career day against you. I don’t know what he had, but he had enough. He’s a Tewaaraton finalist and for good reason. He’s a tough kid.”
The switch from Garnett to Lambe on Morris paid dividends in the fourth. Morris wasn’t without his chances, but again D’Andrea came up big. Lambe did get out of position occasionally as he did keep throwing takeaway checks on Morris, which is a mistake as not many people will be taking the ball away when he dodges.
One mistake that it seemed UMASS continued throughout the game was not changing their shooting style. D’Andrea was saving just about everything low. He was going low almost to the detriment of the top of the net. Being a tall goalie, he can compensate. However, UMASS continued to try and skim the turf with goals and D’Andrea continuously turned them away.
One strategy that UMASS employs out of the ordinary is a longpole facing off. It’s refreshing to see someone line up for the draw with a six-foot pole. Don’t look now but senior Jake Deane is 142 out of 233 on the year for a .609 win percentage with 88 groundballs. He lost more than he won against the Hoyas (7 of 18), but again even when he lost having a longpole there takes away most fast-break opportunities and clean gbs by the other face-off man.
Credit too, Georgetown’s new FOGO, Christian Trunz, who went 11 of 17 and scored his first career goal. Late in the 2nd quarter, there was a scrum at the face-off. Trunz goosed it out to himself in front of the scrum and saw daylight ahead. He hustled down, no UMASS slide and beat Schneider on a bounce shot.
“I’m sure they didn’t expect him to be the threat, and he punched it in, you gotta give the kid a lot of credit,” said Urick. “At our banquet in the fall, we have a tradition that I brought here from somewhere else. It’s just a wooden G whenever a kid scores his first goal. It’s about 5 inches high and we put the date and the game and all that. I’m sure when that comes around next fall that’ll be one he’ll remember for quite awhile. That’s a big goal, that’s a big lift.”
Moving forward, both teams head into important parts of their season. UMASS has big ECAC games left in Fairfield and Rutgers, with the annual meeting at Syracuse. All three aren’t necessarily must-wins, but you can bet all three of the other teams need the wins against the Minutemen. If UMASS were to lose all three, wins over Hofstra, Harvard, Loyola and Hobart, might prove to be enough to get them into the tournament. They certainly will help ensure their fates by winning two of the three.
For Georgetown, they close out the season on the road with two tough ECAC match-ups, Penn State and Rutgers. Penn State is still playing for their playoff lives, with their only quality win being UMASS, and possibly Hobart, they must win against Villanova and Georgetown. Nearly the same exact situation occurred last year, where Penn State needed to win out and met Georgetown on the last day of the regular season. The Nittany Lions won that game, 13-12. With two losses, Georgetown is still probably in, as that would make them 8-4, with quality wins over Syracuse, Delaware, Hobart, Navy and UMASS.
“Now we’re back on the road, we’re back in the bus and hopefully these freshmen come up with better movies because they haven’t done a great job up until now. We gotta go to Rutgers and Penn State. I think Penn State is playing very well at this stage of the season,” said Urick. We need to keep this thing on the left hand column so that we can play our way in. We told our guys you can play your win in or you can play your way out. Right now we still think we gotta play our way in. And if we can play our way in and play our way back on this field, then that’s important too. We’d rather play another home game if we could. But we don’t want to put the cart before the horse.”
”I think we got a shot now, I guess, if Loyola loses, we can still win the league if we win out. I’m a Polish guy and I can figure that out,” joked Urick. “So that’s certainly something to shoot for. This is a very competitive lacrosse league. It’s one of the best leagues in the game right now. I think us and the Ivy League are probably right up there. These guys take pride in that league now. The first couple of years it took us awhile to settle in, but now I think they take pride in the fact that this is a very good league and to win it is an accomplishment.”
|Trevor Casey||(0, 2)|
|Pete Cannon||(2, 0)|
|Sean Denihan||(0, 1)|
|Brendan Cannon||(1, 0)|
|Garrett Wilson||(1, 0)|
|Christiaan Trunz||(1, 0)|
|Jake Samperton||(1, 0)|
|Dave Paolisso||(1, 0)|
|Chase Gahan||(1, 0)|
|Rich D'andrea||15 (0.714)|