Following a dominant first half, a fourth-quarter gut check and a near game-winner at the buzzer, Georgetown (0-1, 0-0 Big East) saw its season debut spoiled by Lafayette (1-0, 0-0 Patriot) in an 11-10 overtime stunner.
After boasting the better share of possession in the second half, the Leopards took just 38 seconds to register the game-winner in the extra period. The Hoyas dominated the first half yet surrendered a five-goal lead after the break, making it a bitter loss on a day that marked the beginning of a new era for Head Coach Kevin Warne, who replaced head coach of 23 years Dave Urick during the offseason.
“A game of two halves without a doubt — I’m disappointed that we couldn’t get possession in the second half. I think that really, really killed us,” Warne said. “We’re going to have to find a way to fight a little bit more and, when things go against us, make sure we stay focused on one play at a time.”
The Blue and Gray were off to a blinding start with two goals from senior attack Brian Casey in the opening 90 seconds of the game. Casey, a pre-season selection to the all-Big East team, finished with a team-high four goals and one assist. Senior midfielders Dan McKinney and Jason McFadden added another pair of scores in succession, and after seven minutes of play the Leopards had spotted theHoyas a 4-0 advantage. Lafayette closed the margin to 6-3 in the second quarter, but Georgetown responded with goals at the 2:04 and 0:17 marks to keep the lead at a healthy 8-3 at the break.
“We were unselfish with the ball, dodged hard, made some pretty good decisions,” Warne said in reference to the first half. “First game of the year and everything, [we] definitely saw those jitters.”
Taking advantage of a several extra-man opportunities, Lafayette chipped away at the lead throughout the third quarter, narrowing the margin to 8-6 with over three minutes remaining in the period. Sophomore attack Reilly O’Connor gave Georgetown extra breathing room as he increased the lead to 9-6, but the Leopards clawed their way into the lead with a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback.
Taking advantage of several key face-off wins and overall control of the time of possession, the visitors methodically staked their claim to a share of the lead when Keegan Lawton rifled a low, long-range effort into the back of the net. Lafayette then picked up the ball off the restart and took a 10-9 lead with 8:41 remaining off an effort from Brian Bock.
“In the second half we just didn’t have possession. … Our guys maybe got worn down there at the end, but we just didn’t do a very good job of making stops defensively, just stopping them one possession at a time,” Warne said. “They were able to get a goal and give up possession right back again — that allows [them] to have a little more momentum.”
It was Casey who came to the Hoyas’ rescue with just under three minutes remaining in regulation, however. After his long-range shot was rejected by goalkeeper Jake Hyatt, the senior retrieved his own rebound and made good on his second attempt, tying the game at 10-apiece.
Lafayette then had four chances within the final 1:09 to win the game in regulation but missed three consecutive shots before finally turning it over with 19 seconds remaining. Georgetown flew down the field in a desperate attempt for a walk-off victory, but the Blue and Gray’s attack was unable to control the ball on a quick catch-and-shoot, sending the game into overtime.
Once extra time began, it was over before either team could truly get settled. The Leopards took the faceoff and rushed the ball down the right flank, before John Floyd ripped a low shot into the corner of the Hoyas’ net.
“We should probably support the guy playing the ball, and I don’t think we did, and he put it in the back of the cage. … In the second half they played really well,” Warne said. “We’ve got a Navy team coming in next week that’s really good and really talented, and we’re going to have to play better if we want to win.”
The Hoyas welcome the Midshipmen to the Hilltop next Sunday. The opening faceoff is set for noon atMultiSport Facility.