How does one fix an ice-cold start? For the Hoyas, the answer is a red-hot finish.
Georgetown men’s lacrosse (9-3, 4-0 Big East) continued its stretch of dominance in an 18-12 victory over the St. John’s Red Storm (0-13, 0-4 Big East) on April 22. The game is the squad’s ninth consecutive win following a slow three-game losing streak to start the season.
After winning the ball back on a shot clock violation, Georgetown opened the scoring on a long-distance strike by junior defender Will Tominovich against St. John’s 10-man ride. A nifty quick-release goal by first-year midfielder Patrick Crogan and a low near-side shot by graduate attacker Tucker Dordevic helped Georgetown to a quick 3-0 lead with 10:49 remaining in the first quarter.
The Red Storm converted a power play following a Hoya pushing foul, but graduate midfielder Jacob Kelly extended Georgetown’s lead to 5-1 with an assist to graduate midfielder Nicky Solomon and a goal. Kelly then seemed to close out the frame with an additional goal with 0:05 — except he had unfinished business. With just one-tenth of a second left in the quarter, Kelly delivered a stellar goal off a clean faceoff win to secure an early hat trick.
Graduate faceoff specialist James Reilly, who recently became the ninth player in NCAA Division I history to gather 500 ground balls, also played a crucial role in Georgetown’s early successes. Reilly converted 6-of-7 faceoff chances and six ground balls to stifle the Red Storm, which allowed the Hoyas to set the tone with a loud 7-2 lead by the end of the quarter.
Georgetown started strong in the second quarter behind excellent defense and off-ball movement. A clean interception by Tominovich translated into Dordevic’s 40th goal of the season with 11:37 to go in the quarter. Even though the Red Storm quickly reciprocated the goal, the Hoyas maintained unrelenting pressure on offense with six consecutive shot attempts. The aggressiveness paid off with a goal by Solomon to bring the score to 9-3 with 7:16 left to the half.
St. John’s earned yet another power play opportunity, but suffocating defense reversed the momentum and gave Georgetown the opportunity to net two goals behind first-year midfielder Jordan Wray and Dordevic. However, the Red Storm thundered back with three goals, two of which came from attacker and team lead scorer Brian Kelly, to close the half 11-6.
The second half began as a tale of two Kellys: the Red Storm’s Brian Kelly converted another power play opportunity for a hat trick, while the Hoyas’ Jacob Kelly notched his fourth goal of the game after outstanding passing play on the attack to move the score to 12-7.
After putting an end to St. John’s unanswered four-goal streak, Georgetown finally tightened up its defense and made the necessary adjustments to recapture the momentum. The team applied higher man-to-man pressure, matching the physicality of the St. John’s side to force bad shots and errant plays albeit with some penalty trouble. Graduate goalkeeper Danny Hincks also played his best quarter yet, making five of six save opportunities to keep the scoresheet clear for the remaining 12:05 of the period.
Looking to bolster their own lead, the Hoyas went on a scoring streak of their own. Following Kelly’s goal, Dordevic slipped a curving shot that barely slid past the goaltender for his fourth goal of the game. Senior midfielder Graham Bundy Jr. then converted a power play immediately following a holding call on St. John’s, and Wray capped off the quarter with a weak side goal.
The 15-7 lead proved to be insurmountable. Even though the Red Storm squeaked three lucky shots beneath multiple defenders, the Hoyas put the game away with a trio of goals of their own by Solomon, graduate attacker Brian Minicus and Crogan. St. John’s scored two final goals following a series of substitutions by Georgetown for a final tally of 18-12.
Georgetown’s ball movement and intense attacking pressure were the key factors in their victory. Kelly and Dordevic led the team in goals and earned seven and six points apiece, while Minicus was the assist leader with four. Reilly tied his 2021 performance against Marquette with 16 ground balls for the second most in a game in school history. Fluid passing and effective rotations near the opposing goal ensured that St. John’s, despite their efforts, simply could not catch up to Georgetown’s rapid pace.
Three players earned weekly Big East honors for their individual performances: Dordevic was selected attack player of the week for the fifth time, Wray received his first freshman of the week award and Reilly was an entry to the Big East honor roll.
Georgetown looks to conclude their winning ways against Villanova (10-3, 3-1 Big East) this Friday, April 28 at home. A win would secure the Big East regular season title, another boost for a team that is looking for its fifth consecutive conference tournament title.
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