March 1, 2016
Mount St. Mary's improved to 2-2 with an 11-8 win at Georgetown. The Mount had lost 16 of its last 17 against Georgetown. (Kevin P. Tucker.)
Mount St. Mary's improved to 2-2 with an 11-8 win at Georgetown. The Mount had lost 16 of its last 17 against Georgetown. (Kevin P. Tucker.)

Mount Upsets Georgetown; Hoyas Fall to 0-3

by Patrick Stevens | Twitter | Box Score

WASHINGTON --- The possibility of a breakout season for Georgetown is threatening to break up even before spring arrives.

The Hoyas dropped their season opener to Notre Dame, which wasn’t shocking. They sputtered early in a loss to Towson on Saturday. Then came Tuesday’s home opener and an 11-8 loss to a spirited Mount St. Mary’s bunch looking to end a two-game slide of its own.

“Honestly, I think we came out and took this team lightly from the beginning,” midfielder Peter Conley said. “You just can’t do that, especially as a team that’s 0-2. We’re a young team, had a bunch of stupid turnovers early in the game that cost us. You can’t let a team like this stick around like that late in the game because lacrosse is a sport where anything can happen.”

And Mount St. Mary’s was a more than worthy winner, never trailing by more than one and playing with exceptional poise down the stretch. Mark Hojnoski scored five goals for the Mountaineers (2-2), who scored the last four goals of the game.

“Outplayed, outhustled,” Georgetown coach Kevin Warne said. “They wanted to play harder, and they played harder than us. That’s a good team, too. Watching their film against Towson, I said ‘Mount St. Mary’s is going to be good.’”

It did its part, taking it to the Hoyas (0-3) early and holding a 9-3 edge in shots and a 9-2 advantage in groundballs after a quarter. It also signaled some improvement for a program that bottomed out at 1-15 two years ago but reached the Northeast Conference tournament last season and appears prepared to take another step forward in 2016.

“This is a special win,” Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante said.

The Mountaineers had dropped 16 of their last 17 games against Georgetown. They hadn’t defeated the Hoyas in D.C. since 1991, just as Georgetown was beginning its ascent under former coach Dave Urick.

Of more immediate concern was a two-game slide against Towson and Richmond, though the Mount offered a few tweaks since its last game a week earlier.

Chris DiPretoro, whose three-goal showing included the game-tying goal as he went from right to left with 4:59 to play, moved from the second midfield to attack. He took the place of Bubba Johnson, who was bumped down to midfield.

Johnson had two assists, including a slick pass inside to Hojnoski for the game-winner with 2:19 left. Hojnoski would score again with 38.6 seconds left to effectively seal the victory, while Justin Gosnell added an empty-netter for insurance in the final moments.

The Mount was particularly effective was on defense, where senior goalie Frankie McCarthy made his first start of the season and stopped 13 shots. Gravante said the move was pre-arranged before the season, giving usual starter Matt Vierheller three starts before providing McCarthy (who had eight career starts) the chance to leave an impression.

“I think just our pressure out with all our poles and all our short stick d-mids pressuring them all over the field, not letting them get comfortable and settling into their own offense,” McCarthy said. “They have a great offensive unit and everyone knows they’re very capable of putting up points. We just didn’t allow them to do that.”

Georgetown got in its own way, too, and never seemed settled in six-on-six offense. The Hoyas scored twice on extra man and created some transition opportunities, but scoring was largely a chore for much of the afternoon.

“Unbelievably uncharacteristic amount of turnovers that I’ve ever seen on the offensive end,” Warne said. “I felt like we couldn’t do anything today offensively. Those guys trail-checked us, chased us and it’s the same issues that haven’t changed in the last three games, so we have some work to do.”

It wasn’t supposed to be this way for Georgetown, which improved to 10-6 last season as Warne continued to develop a talented group he’s attracted to the Hilltop since arriving in the summer of 2012. Yet the process of replacing Bo Stafford and Reilly O’Connor, the Hoyas’ top two scorers a season ago, has clearly proven more difficult than expected.

Still, there’s struggling to score, and then there’s getting outworked. Georgetown suffered from both problems Tuesday, and a schedule that brings games against Hofstra, Duke, Loyola and Marquette before the end of March is anything but lenient. “We have a big test on Saturday,” Conley said.

“We know we’re capable of beating Hofstra. With them being a top-10 ranked team, you’d better believe we’re going to come to play against them.”

In other games on Tuesday:

• Sam LLinares (5g, 1a) and Josh Byrne (3g, 4a) combined for 13 points as No. 9 Hofstra downed NJIT 19-4. Jack Concannon made nine saves while allowing just three goals in three quarters of action.

• Jake Froccaro, the Epoch/Lacrosse Magazine Player of the Week, stayed hot with a four-goal effort as No. 17 Villanova downed Drexel 14-9. Villanova broke the game open with a six-goal second quarter. Froccaro, a Princeton transfer who took 18 shots in the game, now has 14 goals in three games for the 2-1 Wildcats.

• Jules Heningburg had four goals and an assist as No. 20 Rutgers stayed unbeaten with a 15-7 win over Wagner. The Scarlet Knights are now 4-0.

• Kyle Karaska had four caused turnovers to lead a staunch defensive effort for Massachusetts in an 11-3 win over Hartford. Peter Lindley had three goals for the Minutemen. UMass is 2-2 heading into a big New England showdown on Saturday at No. 8 Brown.

• Jake Knostman and Drew Murray each had had tricks and Charlie Schnider had five assists as Fairfield edged UMass-Lowell 12-10. Fairfield's Will Fox won 20-of-25 faceoffs. UMass-Lowell led 8-7 early in the fourth quarter, but the Stags then ripped off five straight goals with Murray netting two goals and an assist during the run.

• Redshirt freshman Andrew Romagnoli erupted for six goals as Delaware finally got its first win, beating VMI 14-6. Romagnoli, a transfer from Marquette, had scored just one goal in the Blue Hens first four games, all losses.

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