Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

The Other Final Four

The 2001 women’s lacrosse season will be remembered for two of the most exciting games in NCAA championship history, and both involved the Hoyas.

Georgetown’s first Final Four appearance in any sport since the 1985 NCAA basketball final was marked by an exciting 10-9 victory over Loyola in the semifinals and then a heart-breaking, double-overtime, 14-13 loss to perennial archrival Maryland.

The Loyola game was a frenetic contest of fluctuating fortunes, as Loyola led 8-4 into halftime. The Greyhounds were the dominant team offensively and defensively, while the Hoyas struggled initially.

“The players had never played in such a game. Thus it was like we hadn’t showed up in the first half,” then-Head Coach Kim Simons said in an interview, adding that Georgetown struggled to adapt to playing under floodlights in the nighttime conditions.

The Hoyas came back firing after the break, and got right back into the game within six minutes of the frame, scoring three goals to narrow the score to 8-7.

“I knew we had an incredibly talented team,” Simons said. “The team was ready to win. I never doubted we could win.”

The Hoyas’ defense was stifling in the second half, conceding just one goal. Simons credited senior goalkeeper Bowen Holden with making key saves and frustrating Loyola.

And the offense was just as strong. But before the comeback could come to fruition, the seesaw battle continued when Loyola extended its lead to two, with Lauren Peck scoring at 20:17. Senior attacker Sheehan Stanwick matched after 10 minutes, and junior attacker Erin Elbe set up a dramatic final 10, as she tied the game just a minute later.

The rest of the game was just as hectic. Each team desperately sought to score to advance to the final, where the winner would meet Maryland. As the last minute ticked down, with neither team having broken the deadlock, overtime was imminent.

Yet Hoya freshman midfielder Gloria Lozano had other ideas. With just seven seconds to go, she got the ball and scored the game-winning goal. Or so she thought.

“I think the ball just rolled to me,” Lozano told reporters after the game. “I was lucky I was paying attention. The ball was on the ground and I just scooped it up and shot it. I couldn’t believe it went in.”

“It was fitting for a freshman to score the goal,” Simons said. “The ball bounced to her and she scooped it up and struck it.”

Yet, with less than five seconds remaining in the game, the plucky Greyhounds’ Marianne Gioffre took a shot. It went just wide of the goal as the final whistle sounded.

“Everyone had to be ready,” Simons remembered. “I told everyone to play defense. It’s like in basketball where you don’t want to foul the player and just hope they miss their shot.”

Georgetown breathed a sigh of relief and took some time to cherish the moment.

“This team never gave up,” Simons told reporters after the game. “We have talked all year about making things happen, and I am very proud that this team made things work for them.”

She now names Stanwick the hero of the game, with her three goals at crucial moments.

After that amazing win, Georgetown had all the momentum in the world going into the championship game.Yet Maryland was just as pumped, and the two motivated teams produced one of the greatest women’s lacrosse games ever played – not to mention the closest women’s lacrosse final in NCAA history.

This time, though, history did not fully repeat itself.

At first it seemed it would, as Georgetown climbed back from an 8-1 deficit in the first half, then an 11-7 deficit in the second. The game, at 13-13, remained tied from the end of the regular period to a shocking sudden-death goal by the Terrapins in double overtime.

Elbe twice came within inches of a game-winning goal, and one shot nicked the crossbar. The second attempt, wide left, was soon recovered and put into the hands of Maryland’s Allison Comito, who drove a hard shot into the net from four yards out.

“[The players] were devastated and they still haven’t gotten over it yet,” Simons said. “They had wanted it to so badly.”

Yet overall, the memories of 2001 are overwhelmingly positive.

“It was huge for us,” Simons said. “The program was building. It was a great and amazing season.”

She told THE HOYA after the game that “a coach couldn’t be more proud of a team than I am today with what my team was able to accomplish, and they never gave up and kept fighting.” She called it “the best weekend I’ve ever had.”

As freshman midfielder Melissa Ellers told THE HOYA after the game, “It was a dream come true.”

Donate to The Hoya

Your donation will support the student journalists of Georgetown University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hoya