After the No. 10 Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (5-2, 0-0 Big East) put together its most complete performance of the season in a 15-8 drubbing of No. 12 Johns Hopkins last Wednesday, it appeared the run of play was completely on the side of the Blue and Gray. However, whatever momentum the Hoyas had heading into Saturday’s road clash with No. 3 North Carolina (7-1, 0-0 ACC) was immediately halted when they fell into a quick 7-1 deficit.
The Hoyas could never fully dig themselves out of that early hole, and they eventually fell 17-11 to the Tar Heels.
The game was devoid of Georgetown’s trademark physicality. The Hoyas — who pride themselves on defense and conditioning — were outshot (28-26) for the first time all season and worn out by the North Carolina’s steady control of possession.
After the game, Head Coach Ricky Fried claimed that a combination of things ultimately doomed Georgetown, especially on the defensive end.
“You have to give them credit for playing a good game. They played very fast,” Fried said. “I would say we gave them too many opportunities even when we had stops. [Those opportunities] ended up being too much for us against a good team.”
The Blue and Gray struck first when senior midfielder Kelsi Bozel netted a goal off of a free position shot. Unbeknownst to Georgetown at the time, that was to be the only lead the Hoyas would have all game.
From there, UNC scored seven unanswered goals over the next 15 minutes to take a controlling 7-1 advantage.
After Georgetown responded with a 3-0 run of their own spearheaded by senior attack Dina Jackson and sophomore attack Caroline Tarzian, the Tar Heels outscored the Hoyas 3-2 in the remainder of the half to go into the locker room up 10-6.
When North Carolina opened the scoring in the opening 30 seconds of the second half, the prospects looked bleak for the Blue and Gray. But it was from this seemingly vulnerable position that Georgetown made its best run of the game, scoring four consecutive goals over the next 10 minutes. When junior midfielder Meghan Farrell scored her second straight goal, the margin was suddenly reduced to just one in an 11-10 game.
Unfortunately, Georgetown could not capitalize on this opening and tie the game, as UNC was able to regain control of the action from there. The Tar Heels outscored Georgetown 6-1 the remainder of the game and eventually eased to the 17-11 victory.
Even in the loss, Fried was proud of how his team handled itself in making a tight game out of a seemingly hopeless start.
“We were chipping away and I thought we did a good job of focusing on smaller details. We didn’t do anything dramatic — we just kept working and fighting,” Fried said. “I think we had a couple moments where we could have changed the momentum with a few shots.”
The contest was a breakout offensive game for Farrell. Somewhat of an unsung hero on the talented Georgetown squad, the Maryland native led the way with a career-high three goals in the defeat.
As Fried lauded the midfielder’s performance, he was quick to point out her value as a complete, two-way player.
“[Meghan]’s done a great job this year stepping up on the offensive end and I think even more importantly as a physical presence,” Fried said. “I’m really pleased with the improvements she’s made.”
Georgetown will need to regroup quickly as Big East play begins later this week with a home game against Cincinnati.
While Fried acknowledged there is room for improvement in several facets of the game before the Blue and Gray takes on its conference foes, he believes Georgetown has the physical talent to compete with anyone in the Big East.
“Our biggest aspect [we need] to improve is our mental game. We need to focus on us and not on who we are playing.” Fried said. “When we do that we play very well. We just have to remain focused and play our brand of lacrosse for an entire 60 minutes.”
Georgetown’s Big East schedule gets underway at home on Friday at 4 p.m. against Cincinnati.