From a Baseball Family, Lambe Takes Up Lacrosse Tradition at Georgetown

Senior Jerry Lambe has become one of the nation's top defensemen.
Senior Jerry Lambe has become one of the nation's top defensemen. (Georgetown University)
By Christian Swezey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 11, 2007

The assignment for the journalism class at Georgetown was to interview a noteworthy person and then write a story, and Jerry Lambe worried that he didn't know anyone who fit the description.

Finally, he settled on an interview with one of his father's co-workers: New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya. Bryan Lambe is a special assistant to the Mets' general manager. His job includes scouting six National League teams.

But his son is all about lacrosse. Jerry Lambe is a senior and has become one of the top defensemen in the nation.

He will play a crucial role when the sixth-seeded Hoyas (11-2) face Princeton (10-3) in an NCAA tournament first-round game Sunday at noon at Multi-Sport Field.

Lambe is expected to defend senior attackman Peter Trombino (28 goals, 11 assists), the first player in Princeton history to have at least 20 goals and 10 assists in four straight years.

Lambe counters with an array of takeaway checks and has 12 caused turnovers, second on the team.

"There's the backwards check, the overhead check, the dig-in-the-back check," Lambe said. "The kayak, the butt-end-around-the-back . . . and the poke check. But some of them are only for when you're losing and need the ball back."

Lambe's prowess has not escaped Princeton's attention. Tigers Coach Bill Tierney was asked if there was any way to simulate Lambe's checks in practice.

"Not in Princeton, New Jersey, there isn't," Tierney said. "From the time our guys arrive here as freshmen in September to the time they graduate as seniors, we tell them exactly not to throw the kinds of checks he throws. We've done all we can to prepare Peter; we've given him film and told him he needs to be aware at all times."

Lambe said he was still deciding among three schools on national signing day and chose Georgetown at the last minute.

It took less than a week after he arrived from Farmingdale, N.Y., to prove his decision correct.

That first week at school, Lambe needed surgery after his appendix burst. His recovery included three days at the house of Coach Dave Urick and his wife, Linda, who is a nurse.

"The first day Linda asked him if he wanted a poached egg and he said sure, then asked what a poached egg was," Dave Urick said. "Later she sent him out to get some exercise and he came back five minutes later and she started laughing.

"Soon after she said, 'I want you to go out and get some exercise and I don't want you to come back for 30 minutes.' He said, 'Oh, okay,' and went out for 30 minutes."

Lambe had a similar learning process about lacrosse.

One of his favorite moves in high school was a back check, but it so underwhelmed Georgetown's coaches that, during practice, they made him do 25 push-ups every time he tried it.

"Now I only do it once or twice a game," he said.

Normally, though, he is encouraged to throw checks. An aggressive defense has been Georgetown's hallmark for years. Many of the checks Lambe uses he learned from former all-Americans Kyle Sweeney and Brodie Merrill.

Lambe now is teaching them to freshmen Barney Ehrmann (team-high 14 caused turnovers) and Chris Nixon.

Bryan Lambe played in the Tigers' minor league system for six years and has spent the past 30 working primarily as a scout.

What is his scouting report on his son?

"He has really quick feet," he said. "That's always been one of his strengths."

And on his son's choice to play lacrosse instead of baseball?

"When Jerry was 13, he came to me and said: 'Dad, I'm not sure how you're going to take this, but I really don't like playing baseball. If it's okay with you I'm going to play lacrosse with my friends,' " he said.

"He's my only son, but we hadn't put pressure on him to play anything. So I said, 'Whatever you play, just be the best you can.' "

© 2007 The Washington Post Company