Countless all-conference mentions. Fifteen All-American honors. Five Big East Players of the Year. Two Hermann Trophy Semifinalists. One Big East Freshman of the Year.
Zero Big East Championships.
In the 2013 and 2014 seasons, while Georgetown athletes achieved much personal success, the university’s athletic programs lacked the team success Georgetown has enjoyed in the past.
Although Georgetown is traditionally known as a basketball and lacrosse powerhouse, its soccer teams have recently begun establishing themselves as elite programs. In 2012, both the men’s and women’s teams made their first Big East championship appearances since 1999 and continued their runs into the NCAA tournament.
After a slow 2-2 start this season, the men’s soccer team rattled off a series of wins and was soon ranked second in the country. However, this success did not carry over to the postseason.
As the number one seed in the Big East tournament, Georgetown earned a bye to the semifinals where it took on Providence. After 110 minutes of scoreless play, the game went to penalty kicks. There, the Friars bested the Hoyas 5-4 and advanced to the Big East finals.
However, the Blue and Gray had the opportunity for redemption in the NCAA tournament. As an at-large bid, the Hoyas were a number six seed and faced off against the 11th-seeded Michigan State Spartans after defeating Old Dominion 3-0.
In the 28th minute, the Spartans struck, taking a 1-0 lead on a header in the top corner. Despite ample chances, the Hoyas never found the back of the net, and the Spartans won 1-0. The Hoyas’ season ended with only one postseason win.
The women’s team followed a similar narrative. The conference realignment significantly weakened the Big East, allowing the women to breeze through the regular season and finish with a 15-1-2 record — their only loss coming against Marquette. Georgetown was consistently in the NSCAA poll and was ranked as high as sixth, its highest ranking in program history.
After a second-place regular-season finish earned the Hoyas a first-round bye in the Big East tournament, the team suffered a 1-0 upset loss to DePaul in the quarterfinals, despite outshooting the Blue Demons 26-2, resulting in elimination from the tournament.
The Hoyas then received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. After an opening-round win against La Salle, Georgetown struggled offensively against Virginia. It managed only one shot in the 1-0 loss, ending the season once again short of any real postseason success.
Last year, then-soph
omore forward Otto Porter decided to forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter the NBA draft, and guard Sugar Rodgers — the program’s all-time leading scorer — graduated and was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx. Although their departures were not expected to be easy to overcome, predictions did not place the teams as bottom dwellers.
The preseason coaches’ poll picked the Georgetown men’s basketball team to finish second behind Marquette. The conference was significantly weaker, and Porter’s departure was countered with junior center Joshua Smith’s arrival from UCLA.
However, after Smith was lost for the year for academic issues, it became evident that the team would struggle on nights when senior guard Markel Starks and sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera were not dominant.
Despite the weaker conference, Georgetown struggled in conference play and stumbled to an 8-10 record.
At times, however, the Hoyas showed their potential. In a midseason nonconference game, the Hoyas used a balanced attack to defeat then-No. 7 Michigan State 64-60. That same team returned to handle Creighton on Senior Day.
Regardless of these resume wins, Georgetown needed a strong showing at the Big East tournament if it stood any chance of making the NCAA tournament. Facing last-seeded DePaul in the first round, the Hoyas blew an early lead on their way to a 60-56 loss.
The loss secured Georgetown’s spot in the National Invitational Tournament. In the first round, the team handled West Virginia in front of an electric crowd at McDonough Arena. Ultimately, though, the team’s season ended in a loss in the second round to Florida State.
The Hoyas were hampered by inconsistency, playing well in spurts but unable to find continued success.
The expectations for the women’s team were modest in comparison to those for the men. Although the Hoyas were returning two starters — senior guard Samisha Powell and senior forward Andrea White — and had a strong incoming freshman class, they were picked to finish sixth in the Big East.
The beginning of Georgetown’s season was marred by issues off the court. Former Head Coach Keith Brown resigned amid allegations of player abuse just weeks before the season was set to begin, and interim Head Coach Jim Lewis was hired as his replacement two weeks before the first game.
Amid the coaching change, Georgetown still managed to win its first game — an 82-78 thriller over Richmond. In the win, freshman forward Shayla Cooper had an impressive debut, scoring 17 points and amassing seven rebounds and five assists.
Also in the Richmond game, Cooper infamously threw her shoe in an attempt to block an opposing players’ shot. The play went viral and also appeared on SportsCenter’s “Not Top 10.” Cooper would play in one more game for the Hoyas before she transferred to Ohio State.
The Hoyas would go on to win four conference games and end up 11-21 overall. But throughout the season Georgetown constantly beat itself. It committed the most turnovers in the Big East, and it also lost seven games — three in overtime — by one possession. This team was constantly on the cusp of winning, but it rarely managed to do so.
In response to the disappointing season, Georgetown announced Natasha Adair will replace Lewis as the head coach.
Although their seasons are not over, neither the men’s nor the women’s lacrosse teams have lived up to expectations this spring. Early on in the season, both teams endured lengthy losing streaks; the men lost four consecutive while the women lost six.
The men’s team ended its skid with a win over Providence — its only conference victory — but since then the team has dropped two consecutive games. Most recently, Georgetown suffered an overtime heartbreaker to Marquette. With the loss, the Hoyas’ hopes of competing in the Big East tournament were eliminated.
After being picked to finish fifth in the Big East preseason poll, Georgetown currently sits in second-to-last place.
Meanwhile, the women’s team entered the season ranked 10th in the country and was the preseason favorite to win the Big East. However, after a 3-1 opening to its season, Georgetown lost six straight games.
Although all of the losses were to ranked opponents, the Hoyas were losing the same way — falling behind early and unable to complete a comeback. Unlike the men, though, this team would respond. Georgetown has rallied off five consecutive wins — all against conference opponents — and on April 19, it clinched the second seed in the Big East tournament.
The women still have the opportunity to meet preseason expectations. With a win against Cincinnati in its regular season finale, Georgetown will have the opportunity to claim a portion of the Big East regular season title.
Down the Road
Although Georgetown’s strong incoming recruiting classes bode well for the programs’ futures, it would be shortsighted to expect they will immediately return to their former glory. This isn’t to say that the 2014 and 2015 seasons are destined for failure, Georgetown just has to put the pieces together.