The 15th-ranked Georgetown men’s lacrosse team found itself trailing for the first time this season against UMBC, falling behind 2-0 in the first seven minutes of play. Four straight goals from the Hoyas in the third quarter, however, soon paved the way for a 14-8 victory over the Retrievers.
The Hoyas (2-0, 0-0 Big East) opened the game slowly in Catonsville, Md., on Feb. 15, missing their first four attempts on the net while conceding two goals on six shots by the Retrievers (0-1, 0-0 America East) to fall into a two-goal deficit.
With just over six minutes left in the first quarter, the Hoyas began to find their offensive momentum, notching their first two goals of the game off the sticks of fifth-year attacker Robert Clark and sophomore midfielder Peter Thompson. Senior attacker Jake Carraway tallied a third goal with four minutes left, securing the Blue and Gray’s first lead of the match at 3-2.
The Hoyas’ advantage, however, was short lived, as the Retrievers put away a third goal with under two minutes left to end the opening quarter knotted at three.
Georgetown answered in the second quarter with a three-goal run after seven minutes of scoreless play. Despite allowing an unassisted goal from the Retrievers at the five-minute mark, the Hoyas closed out the half on top 7-4 behind a late goal from junior attacker Colin Munro.
The Blue and Gray kept its pace going on offense in the third quarter, scoring five more goals and only conceding one goal to the Retrievers. In the last second of the quarter, sophomore attacker Dylan Watson scooped up a high bouncer and powered the ball into the back of the net to close out the period in favor of Georgetown 12-5, marking Watson’s eighth goal of the two-game season.
In the fourth quarter, UMBC was able to regain some offensive momentum, outscoring Georgetown 3-2 but ultimately failing to cut its deficit to less than six as Georgetown walked away with the victory.
The Hoya defense remained solid all game, forcing 13 turnovers from the Retrievers and completing 16 of its 17 clears. Junior goalie Owen McElroy posted a solid performance in the cage, registering nine saves for his second win of the season.
Despite Georgetown’s defensive successes, the offensive unit’s slow start and 15 overall turnovers are an obstacle the team will need to overcome when it plays top-20 ranked opponents later this season. While the Hoyas’ defense was able to prevent the Retrievers from exploiting their early lead too severely, they may not as easily be able to do so against future opponents.
The Blue and Gray’s most dominant performances on the day came from Carraway, who registered four goals and three assists in the game, and sophomore faceoff player James Reilly, who bested UMBC at the faceoff X. Reilly won 19 of 24 faceoffs and collected 12 ground balls, allowing the Hoyas to maintain steady possession of the ball. Carraway’s offensive performance lands him at third all-time on Georgetown’s career scoring list and earned him the title of Big East Attack Player of the Week.
In addition to the valuable contributions of these two players, Reilly noted that the efforts by the team’s wing players also played an integral role in the win.
“We had a great wing play, especially,” Reilly said in an interview with GUHoyas.
Sophomore midfielder Zachary Geddes, sophomore defender Alex Mazzone and junior midfielder Jack Elders dominated play down the sides of the field in picking up ground balls and in getting shots off in transition. These players also saw more action as UMBC chose to lock off Carraway in transition play, opening up opportunities on the wings.
The Hoyas’ first two games of the season are a promising glimpse into the 2020 season. Underclassmen players have been stepping up to fill roles that were lost from last season, with Watson successfully playing alongside veterans Clark and Carraway on the attacking unit and filling the void created by lead-scorer Daniel Bucaro’s (MSB ’19) departure.
Thompson and sophomore midfielder Declan McDermott have also proved they can take leadership roles as offensive midfielders, replacing the scoring abilities of former attacker Lucas Wittenberg (MSB ’19), who had 23 goals and 37 assists last season.
As their 2020 season continues, the Hoyas head to Cooper Field for their first home match to face Fairfield University. Faceoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22.