The Georgetown men’s lacrosse team needs to control possession and find more effective roles for supporting offensive midfielders to have a chance at post-season success. The Hoyas lost their second game in a row with a score of 16-9 against the Denver Pioneers on the road this past weekend. The team needs to step back and re-evaluate many aspects of its game plan to rebound from a weak start in conference play.
The first point of concern for the Hoyas (7-3, 0-2 Big East) is their difficulty in integrating the midfield unit into the offense. Six of Georgetown’s nine goals against Denver came from the attack unit. The three starting attackmen — senior Daniel Bucaro, senior Robert Clark and junior Jake Carraway — tallied two goals each. Bucaro and Clark both registered one assist each, while Carraway notched two assists. The other three goals came from senior midfielder Lucas Wittenberg, freshman faceoff specialist James Reilly and freshman attack Dylan Watson.
All six of the goals scored by the starting attack unit were generated by the attacking line itself, with no help from the midfield. Reilly scored his goal in transition after a faceoff win; therefore, it did not come in a settled offensive opportunity for the Hoyas. Wittenberg’s goal came in the last 40 seconds of the game while the Hoyas were down 16-8 and is also not indicative of a strong midfield presence within the offense.
Two weeks ago, Georgetown had a similar outcome, with 11 of the 13 goals against Drexel scored by attackmen. Wittenberg has had a great season thus far but lacked support from other midfielders on the offensive end. In a previous interview with The Hoya, Coach Warne expressed no concern toward the team’s lack of a strong midfield presence. However, figuring out more supportive roles for midfielders other than Wittenberg and alleviating the pressure on Bucaro and Carraway seems essential to the Hoyas’ success.
The Hoyas were also impeded by their lack of possession. Reilly was able to win only 11 of 29 faceoffs. Further hampering Georgetown’s possession game was its repeated failure to clear the ball. The Pioneers’ attack unit was incredibly effective on the ride, forcing the Hoyas to turn the ball over on four out of six attempted clears in the first quarter alone. On the other hand, Denver turned the ball over only once in the first two quarters.
Georgetown was able to stay in the game in the first quarter and the beginning of the second. However, the Pioneers capitalized on their failure to control possession, outscoring the Blue and Gray 5-2 in the second half and widening the score to a fatal gap. The Hoyas did not come within six goals of Denver for the rest of the game.
The Hoyas have five games left in the regular season, three of which are in the Big East. They still have a solid record, but have not beaten any of their top ranked opponents. In past games against unranked teams, Georgetown has gotten away with sloppy mistakes and turnovers. However, harder opponents have been capitalizing on the Hoyas’ miscues and their attack-centric style of play. This week of practice will be crucial for the Hoyas as they continue their Big East schedule next week against Providence.