March 12, 2011

Georgetown Takes Step Forward in Defeat

by Paul Ohanian | LaxMagazine.com

BALTIMORE - Potential.

It may be the most double-edged word in the sports lexicon.

Players are recruited because it. Drafted based on it. Deemed to have lived up to or failed to have realized their potential.

And teams are also judged on the same. Carrying the weight of potential sometimes becomes a paralyzing burden for a squad.

Many who follow the sport closely will tell you that Georgetown is one of the most talented teams in the country. The fact that the Hoyas have failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in each of the past three years, after making 11 straight appearances from 1997 to 2007, leaves many scratching their heads. Unrealized potential they will say.

On Saturday, the Hoyas nearly maximized their potential. Utilizing a patient offense that incurred several stall warnings and a zone defense that the coaches installed in three days, Georgetown pushed top-ranked Syracuse into overtime before falling 9-8.Afterwards, the Hoyas felt like this effort might jump-start the rest of their season.

“I think we took a big step forward today,” said senior defenseman Barney Ehrmann.

Georgetown (2-3 overall) had given up 57 goals through its first four games, including 16 Tuesday’s loss at Harvard. The coaches decided it was time to make some defensive changes.

In practice, Head Coach Dave Urick and his assistants introduced a zone defense that the Hoyas utilized for prolonged stretches in Saturday’s game. Syracuse, admittedly, was caught off-guard.

“The coaches prepared them well,” said SU’s John Desko. “They changed defenses on us and made us think about what we were doing. I thought they had a good game plan and probably played their best game of the season.”

Urick concurred with that assessment. “I think that’s a pretty safe statement,” he said.

“We tried to slow the game down a bit and it worked for us,” said Ehrmann.

The Orange were held to their lowest scoring output of the season, and if not for the heroics of senior Stephen Keogh, who tallied four goals, including the game-winner in overtime, the Hoyas may have been the ones celebrating at game’s end.

“I thought we really stepped up today,” said defenseman Dan Hostetler, one of six senior starters. “We gave it our all.”

It’s now left to Ehrmann, Hostetler and the 12 other seniors on this year’s Hoya squad to determine their fate for the rest of the season.

The schedule still has a number of difficult challenges, including games at Duke and Notre Dame. But the seniors realize that this will be their last chance to live up to some lofty internal and external expectations. The elusive NCAA Tournament is still their ultimate goal.

“We want to make it,” said Ehrmann. “It means that much more since this is our last chance and there aren’t too many opportunities left. We’re still taking it a game at a time because we know it’s a long season.”

Potentially.


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