Wednesday, February 3, 2010 Updated: February 10, 10:36 AM ET
Georgetown faces tough schedule
By Danielle Bernstein Inside Lacrosse
Georgetown is attacking a tough schedule with optimism this season.
With a preseason No. 13 ranking and one of Division I's toughest schedules, including a new slate of conference games in the Big East, there isn't a whole lot in the way of big expectations for the Hoyas this season. Two underachieving seasons in which Georgetown has failed to make the NCAA tournament has only kindled that sentiment. But don't tell that to them.
"The atmosphere in the locker room is that everyone is ready," says freshman attackman Travis Comeau. "A lot of people have the mindset that we're not one of the top teams but that's not the case. We have some talent and it's just a matter of everyone doing their part. We're anxious to prove everyone wrong."
With as many as 17 players out at once during the fall, the Hoyas battled their share of injuries and illnesses throughout the fall. Aside from some minor issues that will be non-factors once the season starts up, junior Bobby Boyle may miss the season with Lyme disease. Boyle and the coaching staff are mulling over options that include a redshirt season for the reserve defenseman.
The status of Tyler Knarr -- IL's No. 12 incoming recruit -- is also unknown as coaches decide how much he should play this season after undergoing knee surgery in the fall. A longpole, Knarr would provide Georgetown with a different look at the face-off X to complement main man Brian Tabb. Knarr's been practicing with the team, but has been limited to about 60 percent of the drills.
"It's going to be predicated on how much he can play," coach Dave Urick said. "Brian Tabb has done well but I think it's awfully important that we have someone else there."
Freshman Travis Comeau made a name for himself in the fall, impressing coaches and fans alike. There is a possibility the Canadian attackman could earn a spot on the starting line with Craig Dowd and Ricky Mirabito but juniors Ryan Shuler and Brett Weiss are also up for the job and Comeau has taken runs with all of them in the Hoyas' first two weeks of spring practices.
Urick said they've been mixing and matching the lines in hopes of finding the perfect combination -- when Weiss was put on a line with Comeau in a recent practice, the junior, who only put up two assists in 11 games last season, scored three or four.
The team is also putting in work on implementing a 2-2-2 offensive set, utilizing Dowd and Mirabito's feeding abilities behind. Urick says they have a ways to go in terms of getting it down and moving off-ball but that they attack is starting to get a grasp on it.
The attack isn't the only thing that's not set -- the coaching staff is also looking to set some midfield lines. Andrew Brancaccio and Scott Kocis are the staples of the first midfield line but the third spot is still up for grabs, as is everything after that. Freshman Dan McKinney has been running with Brancaccio and Kocis, as has Senior Eric Reinhardt, who Urick calls a "glue guy," someone who can hold the unit together. Urick also said that they might try to build a line around junior Max Seligmann, who was earlier expected to run on the first line. Zach Angel, while he could play attack at some point in the future, will play midfield this season.
With scrimmages lined up against Virginia, Penn and Albany, the Hoyas will have a few good tune ups before facing off against Maryland to open up the season on February 27. Ground balls, a focus in the fall and an important aspect of Georgetown's wing play, are still high up on Urick's list of improvements to be made before opening face-off.
"We're also laying the foundation with our team offense and team defense," Urick said. "We're trying to keep it at a pace the younger players can absorb. We're working on riding and clearing and other specialized areas."
Adds Comeau, "We've been making better decisions with our clears. There's been a lot of emphasis on that lately and I think the clearing game will be a big part of our success."
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