Through the first four games, the Mount St. Mary’s men’s lacrosse team had averaged 12.8 goals, the most in program history at that point in the season since moving to Division I for the 1989 season.

On Tuesday, the offense fell with a thud.

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The unit found little rhythm — and shooting room — and the Mountaineers were on the receiving end of a 16-6 loss to No. 17 Georgetown before an announced 423 at Cooper Field.

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“Georgetown was ready to play, and I don’t think we were ready to play,” coach Tom Gravante said, noting that his team was coming off Friday’s 16-7 trouncing of UMBC. “I’m extremely disappointed and a little bit embarrassed, although my staff and I knew this could happen if our guys didn’t respond from the UMBC win.”

The Hoyas, who improved to 4-0, reaped four-point efforts from junior attackman Daniel Bucaro (three goals, one assist), sophomore attackman Jake Carraway (two goals, two assists) and senior midfielder Craig Berge (one goal, three assists). But the mystery for Mount St. Mary’s was The Case of the Disappearing Offense.

Gone were the shots that seemed to burrow their way into the net. Absent was the crisp passing that left shooters with high-percentage chances. Nonexistent were the runs by the short-stick defensive midfielders to spark the transition game.

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“Everyone’s expecting everybody to be open and get a few quick goals, but that wasn’t happening for us,” said junior attackman Chris DiPretoro, who managed a goal and an assist. “It was frustrating, and when they went up by five or six goals, everybody started getting down.”

Entering the game, the Mountaineers had ranked 12th in the nation in shooting percentage at 36.2 percent and tied for 17th in scoring. But they converted only 16.2 percent of their 37 shots against Georgetown and failed to reach double digits in goals for the first time this season.

A contributing factor was a lack of possession time exacerbated by a negative ground ball margin, faceoff losses and turnovers. Mount St. Mary’s finished minus-14 in ground balls, lost 15 of 26 faceoffs and gave the ball away 14 times compared with the Hoyas’ 11 turnovers.

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Every time the Mountaineers scored to breathe a little life into the team, Georgetown answered with a goal or four or five.

“Our offense just wasn’t ready to play today,” Gravante said. “Couldn’t string together two goals [until the fourth quarter]. When we’re struggling on the defensive end, which we did early in the game but were still in it, our offense has to recognize that and take care of the ball. There were a few times when we came out of the box, made the clear, took one dodge and one shot, and they turned it into a transition goal on the other end.”

DiPretoro agreed that the offense strayed from its initial strategy.

“Our game plan was to hold the ball on offense, and we didn’t do that,” he said. “We kind of came out real flat and didn’t have a lot of energy, and that definitely hurt us. In the third quarter, we started picking it up, and the fourth quarter was our best quarter, but by then, it was too late.”

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Then there was the play of Hoyas senior goalkeeper Nick Marrocco, who finished with 11 saves. He stoned sophomore attackman Brenden McCarthy on a curl around the right post to begin the game and then stopped sophomore midfielder Matt Haggerty’s put-back from the slot in the second quarter that Georgetown quickly turned into a goal by freshman defenseman Gibson Smith for a 6-2 advantage with 9:46 left.

Redshirt sophomore attackman Stephano Mastro and freshman midfielder Luke Frankeny paced Mount St. Mary’s (1-4) with two goals each. But the team’s top three scorers, McCarthy, DiPretoro and Haggerty, combined for only one goal on 15 shots and two assists.

Hoyas coach Kevin Warne said he and his assistant coaches challenged the defense after the unit surrendered 11 and 10 goals in back-to-back games.

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“I think we controlled the tempo,” he said. “That was the big thing because they like to get out. They’ve been playing faster than they had in the past, and Coach Gravante is doing an awesome job changing the identity of the offensive guys. They’ve got some guys who can snap it off.”

Mount St. Mary’s 1 1 1 3 — 6

Georgetown 4 3 6 3 — 16

Goals: M—Frankeny 2, Mastro 2, Bethke, DiPretoro; G—Behrens 3, Bucaro 3, Carraway 2, Wittenberg 2, Berge, Lindsay, McDonald, Morrill, O’Keefe, Smith. Assists: M—Berg, Bethke, DiPretoro, McCarthy; G—Berge 3, Carraway 2, Bucaro, Bucci, Teuber, Wittenberg. Saves: M—Mutterer 14; G—Marrocco 11.

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