After it ended its four-game losing streak with a win against Providence, the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team had renewed hope for a strong season finish. But Georgetown (4-8, 1-3 Big East) was unable to build upon this success as it was thrashed by the No. 19 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (10-4, 5-2 Patriot League) 12-3 in a nonconference game Saturday.
Head Coach Kevin Warne hoped that the win against Providence on April 5 would revive some offensive intensity on the field, especially in preparation for the game ahead. Georgetown, however, managed to only score three goals against Lehigh’s second-ranked scoring defense in the country.
Warne believes that Georgetown created unnecessary obstacles for itself on the offensive end of the field, which hindered its chances of breaking through Lehigh’s defense.
“Lehigh has one of the top defenses in the country,” Warne said. “I don’t think we were able to sustain possessions. We kind of had a few self-inflicted wounds just by throwing the ball away and [making] unforced turnovers that really hurt us.”
Turnovers prevented Georgetown from establishing any momentum at the beginning of the game. In the first quarter, Georgetown committed six, which stifled several offensive opportunities. Sophomore midfielder Corey Parke scored the lone goal for Georgetown during the opening quarter, notching his first collegiate goal off of an assist from junior attack Bo Stafford at 7:03.
Defensively, Georgetown was able to keep Lehigh at bay, allowing just two goals. But Lehigh responded in the second quarter and scored two unanswered goals. Meanwhile, Georgetown took four shots during the period but was not able to convert any, making the score 4-1 entering the half.
Georgetown’s scoring drought continued well into the third quarter, while Lehigh continued to exploit holes in the Georgetown defense and scored another three unanswered goals over a 10-minute period. Although the Mountain Hawks only scored three goals on 21 shots, they maintained control of the ball for a majority of the half with 13 shots coming on one possession. Freshman midfielder Eduardo White finally ended Lehigh’s run by scoring off an assist from senior attack Jeff Fountain at 3:24 in the third quarter.
The Hoyas trailed 7-2 at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a chance to change the control of the ball; however, the Mountain Hawks did not falter and outscored the Hoyas 5-1 in the final period. Lehigh scored to increase its lead to 8-2 within the first three minutes of the quarter. Junior midfielder Mitch Hugdahl answered with a goal at 10:35 to close the lead back to five, which would be the final Georgetown goal scored during the game. After four Georgetown turnovers and four more Lehigh goals, the game concluded at 12-3.
Both Georgetown and Lehigh had noteworthy performances in the net. Despite allowing 12 goals, Georgetown redshirt junior goalkeeper Jake Haley made a career-high 17 saves in the losing effort. The difference came down to efficiency in defensive communication and intuition, according to Warne.
Warne believes that while Lehigh’s defense effectively diffused many opposing offensive possessions, Georgetown’s defense struggled to maintain consistency under pressure, despite practicing reacting to these kinds of threats during practice.
“I think we played a lot of defense,” Warne said. “It hindered our ability to clear the ball. … We need to [take] what we do in practice and do it in games. Whether it’s clearing, or riding or understanding the game plan, [we need to] do it when the time comes up during the game.”
Georgetown knew that Lehigh would create many challenges as a ranked defensive force; however, Warne thinks his team failed to be proactive in addressing those challenges on the field.
“We practiced it, we talked it, we walked it and just for some reason we can’t execute it during the game,” Warne said. “I think everybody is frustrated. At the end of the day, we have to figure out how to do those things to enable ourselves to have success.”
Warne knows that creating this success will be crucial in the week of practice ahead, as Georgetown returns to conference play against Marquette (5-8, 3-1 Big East).
“I think we need to do a better job at some of the things that we need to get better at, whether it’s as simple as catching and throwing, clearing, defending or shooting,” Warne said. “I think it’s a culmination. We’re at the end of April now, so we need to get better every day at practice, and that’s what we’ll focus on, and we’ll see what happens on Saturday in Milwaukee.”