With just over a minute on the clock, the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team had found itself a chance to tie things up on Senior Day.
Having gone more than a full quarter’s worth of game time Saturday against No. 3 Syracuse without rattling the cage, it was a scenario that few would have thought possible just a few minutes before. But back-to-back goals from senior attack Dan McKinney and sophomore midfielder Charles McCormick had made it a reality, and after another faceoffwin from redshirt junior Tyler Knarr, Head Coach KevinWarne called timeout with the contest at 9-8 Orange.
Warne told his guys in the huddle to “just play” — and play they did.
What they didn’t do was score.
In a bizarre sequence on what would be Georgetown’s final possession, a Syracuse defender broke his stick and ran to the sidelines, but the Hoyas (5-8, 2-3 Big East) couldn’t take advantage of their man-up opportunity, as a McKinney turnover ended the rally one goal too early.
“It is what it is, and it becomes a hectic situation at the end,” Warne said after the loss, his team’s second in a row after dropping a 10-8 decision to No. 4 Notre Dame last week. “You hope a senior would shoot the ball — not sure what Danny’s thought process was. I think we kind of got a little frazzled there [with the broken stick]. It happens.”
As was the case against another highly ranked opponent last week, No. 4 Notre Dame in South Bend,Ind., Georgetown got off to a promising start Saturday against Syracuse. The Hoyas would score the first two goals at MultiSport Facility, and a spectacular one-on-one, point-blank save from redshirtsophomore goalie Jake Healey at the end of the first quarter helped his team hang even at 3-3 going into the second.
The Orange would take their first lead of the day just 40 seconds in, but sophomore midfielder JoeBucci made sure it didn’t last long with his equalizer less than a minute later.
Then, after helping lead the post-turnover jailbreak out of the Georgetown end, junior midfielder Grant Fisher restored the Blue and Gray’s advantage at 5-4 with a nifty bounce shot past Syracuse keeper Dominic Lamolinara.
That tally, coming with 9:46 remaining in the second quarter, would be the last one of the half for either side, as a scoring drought hit the District thereafter amid the afternoon’s low-60s temperatures.
But while the Orange were able to figure out their offensive kinks during the intermission, the Hoyas’futility in the opposing half persisted.
And so, as the game wore on — in a near mirror image of its prior contest in South Bend — Georgetown began to wear down. Syracuse dominated the third quarter to put themselves ahead 8-6, and a goal to start the fourth quarter made it four unanswered for the visitors.
The Blue and Gray would finally come back to life late with goals from McKinney and sophomore attack Reilly O’Connor, but that botched last possession halted what would have been a miraculous comeback.
The source of such late-game struggles is hardly a mystery to Warne: It is all about depth.
“We are playing not enough guys. I think that’s something that’s hurt us now going into April,” he said. “These games are so intense; it seems like a turnover here, a turnover there will dictate the tempo for the next five minutes of the game or whatever it’ll be.
“Some of our guys get caught on the wings, play offense, lose a possession on offense, play defense. And I think over a five-, six-minute span, they get tired, and we’ve got to find more people to play.”
As the Big East stands now, Georgetown’s 2-3 mark is good for fifth place in the league, a half-game behind 3-3 St. John’s. The Hoyas hold a tiebreaker over the Red Storm by virtue of their 14-13 overtime win two weeks ago, but Georgetown’s matchup with Rutgers next Saturday is still a must-win in order to get into the four-team conference tournament that starts May 2.