The Georgetown men’s lacrosse team continued a five-game winning streak last Saturday against Drexel, winning 13-10 and holding steady at No. 14 in the polls.
A strong offensive performance for the Hoyas (7-1) gave them the edge over Drexel (3-4) who was coming off an upset victory over No. 11 Villanova.
Senior attack Dan Bucaro opened scoring on Cooper Field less than a minute into the game with a masterful move from behind the cage. Once he got the ball at behind the cage, Bucaro dodged to his left hand, came around the goal for a jump shot over his defender and put the ball in the back of the net. Bucaro did this exact same dodge three more times during the game, and the Drexel defense simply could not stop him. He tallied five goals and an assist on the day and became the fifth all-time points leader in Georgetown’s program history. With 45 points this season already, Bucaro is fourth in the country and continues to be a viable candidate for the Tewaaraton Award, which is given to the best men’s lacrosse player in the nation.
Junior attack Jake Carraway also had an impressive day, tallying four goals. He also moved up in the all-time program scoring list to 13th and is just 10 goals away from making his way into the top 10.
The first 20 minutes of play were hectic, with the two teams trading off goals almost every possession. The Hoyas’ settled offense was refined, and the attack unit generated 11 of the 13 goals, while senior Lucas Wittenberg and junior Massimo Bucci were the only midfielders who scored goals all game for Georgetown.
Despite the low scoring from midfielders, Head Coach Kevin Warne expressed confidence in the team’s depth.
“Nothing concerning, I think because we have two pretty dynamic attackmen, who had pretty good days today, they certainly were able to control the tempo of the game,” Warne said. “Those shots will come, today was the attack’s day, next week could be the midfield’s day. It’s a very selfless group and we don’t care who gets the goals or assists, we just care about having good possessions every time the ball is down at our end.”
The selflessness of the offense was seen in how effectively they settled the ball on offense. In the first quarter, Bucaro and Carraway controlled the tempo, taking shots early in possessions. The Hoyas rushed taking shots in the first quarter, a marked change in the new era of the NCAA’s adjusted shot clock rule, under which teams have to get a shot on goal in the first 80 seconds of a possession.
This frantic play of the first quarter resulted in some quick goals for Georgetown but also induced turnovers, which led to strong transition play for Drexel, who scored off three Georgetown turnovers in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the Hoyas started to find their flow, slow down on offense and keep better control of the ball. The team’s ability to adjustment to a more settled tempo in the second half was key, according to Warne.
“Sometimes you have the tendency, when you shoot the ball, to look where it goes, and at that point they’re counter attacking back the other way, and we got caught a couple times,” Warne said. “But I thought we did a much better job in the second half just trying to keep the game to a six on six game more than a half-field game.”
As soon as the Hoyas were able to moderate their pace offensively, they widened the scoring gap to more than one goal. Almost all of Drexel’s goals came from unforced turnovers by Georgetown or off of penalties. However, Georgetown’s man-down unit still proved effective, shutting down three out the Drexel’s four man-up opportunities.
Sophomore defenseman Gibson Smith led the defense with three caused turnovers and nine groundballs. Aside from his defensive prowess, Smith was a vacuum on the faceoff wing, helping freshman faceoff specialist James Reilly win possession even when Reilly was unable to win the clamp.
The game was contentious, and the Dragons were able to stay in sight of victory almost the whole game. What remains in question is if the Hoyas will be ready for their important Big East games against top-ranked teams like Denver or nonconference games versus teams such as Loyola.
This Drexel game is a promising foreshadowing for the rest of the season. The Dragons showed the Hoyas that they had a unique playing style — they were a strong transition team that would capitalize off of turnovers and move the ball quickly in transition. This look at a new style of play will help the Hoyas as they open their conference schedule.
“The good thing for us is that I think we’ve seen a couple of different styles that will get us ready for Big East,” Warne said. “It’s college lacrosse. So anybody can beat anybody on a given day.”
The Hoyas hope to translate their early season success into this weekend’s first Big East game against Marquette at home on Saturday, March 23, at 12 p.m.