In the first game of Big East conference play, the No. 14 Georgetown men’s lacrosse team fell 9-8 to unranked Marquette on Saturday, March 23, on Cooper Field.
The Hoyas (7-2, 0-1 Big East) nearly completed a spectacular comeback, but the Golden Eagles (5-3, 1-0 Big East) stopped them just short of it and secured the upset. With this result, Georgetown has lost to Marquette by a one-goal margin for the fourth consecutive season.
On the offensive end, senior attack Dan Bucaro and senior midfielder Lucas Wittenberg each posted three goals and one assist, while junior attack Jake Carraway contributed a goal and an assist as well.
On the other end of the field, it was a tale of two halves. The Hoya defense, led by a 14-save performance from sophomore goalie Owen McElroy, initially struggled to keep the Golden Eagles from scoring but then clamped down and held Marquette scoreless for the final 26:30 of the game.
Both teams tested each other in the early stages of the game, but the first frame saw very little action. Carraway drew first blood with a rush to the cage, and the teams traded goals after this play to make the score 2-1 after the first quarter.
Marquette scored two quick goals less than 30 seconds apart at the outset of the second quarter to take a one-goal lead. After a small lull in the action, the visiting team was able to widen this margin substantially, netting four more unanswered goals to cap off a 6-0 second quarter. Entering halftime, the Golden Eagles led the Hoyas 7-2.
Marquette picked up where it had left off at the start of the third quarter, putting two more shots in the back of the net to set the scoreboard at 9-2. After Marquette’s ninth goal, 11:30 remained in the third quarter. Marquette’s lead was commanding, but there was plenty of time left to play.
From there on out, the Hoya senior leadership fought valiantly for the team’s first regular-season career win over the Golden Eagles. Bucaro scored twice in two minutes and added an assist on a Wittenberg goal as well. At the end of the third quarter, the Hoyas still trailed 9-5, but their momentum was undeniable.
Neither team scored for the next five minutes, until Wittenberg once again buried the ball low and away from the Marquette goalie with his third goal of the day. After another five-minute scoring drought, Bucaro joined his teammate to record a hat trick as well. Soon after that, freshman midfielder Declan McDermott buried the Hoyas’ sixth unanswered goal to pull the home team within one.
The Hoyas then had a chance to win the game after a key faceoff win, but Wittenberg crossed his own feet on a dodge attempt and fell, turning the ball over. The 9-8 margin was as close as Georgetown would get, as Marquette’s defense pitched a scoreless final four minutes to seal the game.
Opening conference play with a loss was not the start the Hoyas were hoping for, especially against an unranked team. However, this outcome also is not out of the ordinary, and there is plenty of lacrosse left to play this season.
All four one-goal losses to Marquette since 2015 have been in Georgetown’s first conference game of the season. Despite the loss to the Golden Eagles last year, the Hoyas were still able to win the conference tournament and get an NCAA tournament berth.
With a talented, experienced roster and the leadership of Head Coach Kevin Warne, the Hoyas can bounce back this coming week as they continue conference play on the road against No. 15 Denver on Saturday, March 30.