The Georgetown women’s lacrosse team has not been able to put together a solid 60-minute effort on both sides of the ball yet this year, and their recent two-game skid reflects that. The Hoyas (2-3) have dropped two road games in the past week – on Saturday to the No. 5/6-ranked Duke Blue Devils (7-1) and again on Wednesday night to the No. 2/2 Maryland Terrapins (6-0).
The Hoyas were coming off a game against Florida in which they had ridden a strong first half to victory but were unable to duplicate their success against the Blue Devils, who outscored the visitors 6-2 in the first half and tacked on another goal immediately after halftime before holding on for a 10-8 victory.
“We probably played the worst half of lacrosse that we’ve played in a long time on the offensive end,” Head Coach Ricky Fried said of his team’s first-half performance.
As disheartening as the Blue and Gray’s performance in the first stanza was, their second-half surge gave them some momentum heading into their next game against second-ranked Maryland and showed that the Hoyas would not be intimidated or overmatched by highly ranked opponents.
“It has nothing to do with physical [abilities] or X’s and O’s,” Fried said. “It’s really about mentally making sure we’re checked in the whole time.”
At the beginning of the game against Maryland on Wednesday, it appeared that the Georgetown players had taken Fried’s words to heart. About 11 minutes in, junior attack Jordyn Kirr’s second goal of the game gave the Hoyas a 5-2 lead, but the Terps struck back just nine seconds later, triggering a 7-1 run that gave the hosts a 9-6 lead at the intermission.
“We actually felt pretty good,” Fried said. “You never feel good being down, but at 9-6 we had kind of regrouped. … We knew that we could score goals when we had the ball, [and] it was more a matter of getting some draw controls and making sure we were able to play 7-on-7 on the defensive end.”
Unfortunately for the Hoya faithful, the Blue and Gray were unable to stop the bleeding once the second half started. Maryland sophomore attack Karri Ellen Johnson scored three times during a 5-0 run to start the second half, and the Terps never looked back. The key to the backbreaking run for Maryland was their continuing success on faceoffs.
“We did an OK job defensively,” Fried said. “I think the turning point was the first 10 minutes of the second half, where they dominated the draw controls and were able to impose their will on us.”
When the Hoyas did have the ball, they struggled to capitalize on their opportunities as they frequently turned the ball over to a Maryland team that eagerly seized every opportunity to attack in numbers.
“They thrive on the transition game,” Fried said. “They do a really nice job of creating their own transition because of their speed and athleticism, and we became reactive to that and put them in some situations frankly that were our fault and they made the most of it. … They’re a good team [and] they force you to do that.”
Ultimately, despite senior attack Molly Ford’s five goals, the Hoyas could not find a way to claw back into the game and ended up losing 20-11 to their local rivals.
“We don’t want to lose games, [but] our big emphasis has to be on the Big East and conference play,” Fried said. “It’s really about us getting better and not really focusing on the scoreboard. The disappointing piece was that I think we started reacting to them scoring goals as opposed to us playing the game that we wanted to play.”
After going 1-3 on a brutal road trip that also saw the Blue and Gray come up short against consensus No. 1 Northwestern, the Hoyas return to the friendly confines of the MultiSport Facility on Saturday, where they will face a stiff test from the No. 3 UNC Tar Heels.