Slow starts and early deficits plagued the No. 13 Georgetown men’s lacrosse team (8-5, 3-1 Big East) during its first few games of 2015. Throughout the season, the team has worked to reverse the trend and has succeeded in doing so; recently, first-half leads over then-No. 9 Marquette (10-4, 3-1 Big East) and Villanova (6-6, 1-3 Big East) have helped Georgetown clinch wins over its conference rivals.
However, a quick start against No. 9 Virginia (9-4, 0-4 ACC) on Saturday was not enough to propel Georgetown to another victory. The Hoyas scored the first three goals of the game and maintained the lead through the beginning of the second quarter, but an unanswered seven-goal run from the Cavaliers stretching between the second and third quarters proved fatal.
With the slow-start issue now in the past, Head Coach Kevin Warne believes that Georgetown struggles with consistency more than anything else.
“I think one of the things we realized is that we have to, at this point, play really well to beat the top echelon of the college lacrosse teams in the country right now,” Warne said. “We played well at times, but I don’t think we played consistently. I think that’s where Virginia took advantage of [us] and were able to control the game.”
Despite the loss, there were a few bright spots for the Hoyas; sophomore midfielder Devon Lewis scored a season-high three goals, and freshman goalie Nick Marrocco recorded 12 saves in goal, including five in the second quarter.
“It was good to see Devon Lewis get a couple goals. Nick [Marrocco] was solid again. We did some good things at times … but again, against those teams, everybody has got to play at a consistently high level, and I’m not sure that we had that,” Warne said.
Much of Virginia’s success can be traced back to the fundamental aspects of the game, as the Cavaliers came up with 34 ground balls and 15-of-25 faceoffs in the matchup.
“[Virginia] won the middle of the field, without a doubt,” Warne said. “They picked up a lot of important ground balls, and they were able to extend their possessions even when we made stops and did all the right things.”
In the upcoming weeks, correcting issues at the faceoff X will be an important task for Georgetown as it prepares for the Big East tournament. Warne says that improving play at the X and the wings is something that requires daily focus.
“It’s something that we have to address every day at practice,” Warne said. “I think that’s the only way to get better — practicing every day, and putting our guys in different situations [so they have] lacrosse awareness, and I think that will be really important as we move forward over the next couple weeks.”
This week, Georgetown will prepare for the last game on its schedule before postseason play: a senior day matchup against St. John’s (3-10, 1-3 Big East).
The Red Storm will take the field Saturday after struggling recently in Big East play. St. John’s only conference victory was over Providence (4-9, 0-4 Big East) in late March; since then, the team has been winless throughout the month of April.
However, St. John’s still has the opportunity to qualify for the postseason conference tournament if it manages a win over Georgetown and will likely play with a sense of urgency from the opening faceoff.
“They still have an opportunity to qualify for the Big East if they beat us, so they’re not going to roll over [for us],” Warne said. “We have to … do things the right way and practice well and consistently this week to give ourselves a chance on Saturday.”
More than anything else, Georgetown’s goals for the upcoming Big East contest are centered on honoring its seniors with a solid performance. This year’s seniors have been crucial in cementing Georgetown’s national recognition and significant improvement from last season; senior attack Bo Stafford and senior co-captain and attack Reilly O’Connor currently lead the Georgetown offense with 46 and 41 points, respectively.
Warne says Saturday will be all about recognizing the contributions of a particularly talented senior class.
“This week is very important for our seniors,” Warne said. “We won’t really mention St. John’s, we’ll just mention that it’s senior week. It’s not any disrespect to St. John’s, but our seniors have done an awesome job this year, and … that senior group gets a chance to leave their legacy. I want them to be recognized, and I want to make sure that we send them off on MSF on a high note.”
Saturday’s game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at MultiSport Facility.