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Navy at Georgetown: Three things to watch

Navy and Georgetown would seem to be heading in different directions with the visiting Midshipmen (4-5) having won three of their last four games, while the Hoyas (3-4) have dropped three of their last four. But both teams need a non-conference victory like this to enhance their resumes for the NCAA tournament selection committee. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Multi-Spot Field in Washington, D.C., on Friday night.

1) Kick-start the offense. Through their first eight contests, the Midshipmen had averaged a healthy 11 goals per game. Then they ran into Colgate, which allowed just four goals on Saturday. According to a report by Inside Lacrosse, the Red Raiders gave up outside shots, but blanketed Navy's dodges from behind the net and down the alleys. Midshipmen coach Richie Meade said the offense missed some opportunities that it can't afford to repeat against Georgetown. "We had a lot of people open that we did not find," Meade said. "So it was disappointing because everything that they did, we had prepared for, but our execution fell short."

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2) Attack the defense. Despite the troubles on offense last Saturday, Navy may have one bit of good news in that the Hoyas are surrendering an average of 12.1 goals this season. A unit headed by senior defenseman Barney Ehrmann and junior defenseman Dan Hostetler is rangy and aggressive, but the defense is also disciplined enough to play zone, which took top-ranked Syracuse to overtime at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic on March 12. "That's part of our preparation, to be prepared to play against a zone," Meade said. "But I don't think that's going to be their approach. I think they're going to play their defense and attack our offense, and I think they're going to play us all over the field. But if they play a zone, we'll play against it."

3) Keeping pace with Georgetown. In that 9-8 overtime loss to the Orange, the Hoyas demonstrated a willingness to run and gun with Syracuse, which usually thrives at that tempo. Meade said the Midshipmen must be careful to avoid turnovers in the midfield and sprint back to defense to defend against transition chances. "Everything that they do lends itself to try to create unsettled situations that they can take advantage of, and I don't see this team being any different on the field," Meade said. "They're very big and very rangy on the defensive end of the field. They handle the ball extremely well, they run the ball through the midfield very, very well. So I don't see them as wanting to get into a six-on-six. I think they're trying to create a tempo and they're really trying to push transition."

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