Coming off its first conference win over Vanderbilt (4-7, 0-2 Big East) in Nashville last Saturday, the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (3-7, 1-0 Big East) will host No. 2 Florida (11-1, 2-0 Big East) this upcoming Saturday.
Head Coach Ricky Fried said he is optimistic about the Florida matchup, especially after the team earned a big win in conference play.
“Obviously there’s more confidence when you win than when you lose. I thought we played pretty well [against Vanderbilt]. We executed the game plan [and] made fewer mistakes, so going into this game, we look at this as a second season, and this is kind of our opportunity to still obtain the goals that we set at the beginning of the season for ourselves,” Fried said.
Saturday’s game will provide the Hoyas with an opportunity to take down the top-ranked team in the Big East and end the Gators’ two-game win streak. The Gators’ win streak was previously 10 games long until their only loss of the season just less than three weeks ago to No. 1 Maryland (10-1, 1-0 Big Ten).
Florida ranks 18th in the NCAA in points per game, but Fried said he is not intimidated by its effective offense due to the recent successes of Georgetown’s defense.
“One of the bigger areas [against Vanderbilt] was our goalie play,” Fried said. “Our goalies played really well. I thought for our defensive unit as a whole … we’re giving up the shots that we want to give up, and the goalies made them, so I think that we have some confidence in that area.”
Fried said he would like to see his team improve on capitalizing on its shooting opportunities in preparation for its matchup against Florida. Thus far this season, Georgetown has shot at a .367 percentage rate, scoring 83 goals for 226 shot attempts. Freshman attack Taylor Gebhardt — who is tied with fellow freshman, midfielder Francesca Whitehurst, as Georgetown’s second leading scorer with 12 goals — tallied a hat trick against Vanderbilt last Saturday.
Gebhardt agreed with Fried, saying that the Hoyas can find success if they work on finishing offensively.
“We had a lot of shooting opportunities, so I think if we carry those over to Florida that will help us a lot. We had so many shots so if we make a high percentage of those, it’ll help us a lot against Florida. We’ve been working a lot more on shooting and stick work and making sure that were focusing on our shots instead of just like shooting the ball without thinking about where its going to go,” Gebhardt said.
Florida’s roster boasts three nominees for the 2016 Tewaaraton Award, an honor given to the most outstanding American college lacrosse player: midfielder and redshirt senior Nicole Graziano, junior midfielder Mollie Stevens and junior defender Caroline Fitzgerald.
Fried said that Florida is an incredibly athletic team, adding that Georgetown should slow the pace of the game by taking patient advantage of all its possessions and scoring opportunities.
“The biggest thing for this game honestly is making sure it’s a settled game on either end. If it becomes a transition game that’s not going to bode well for us, I don’t think, because they’re very athletic and that’s how they want to play. So we want to shorten the game a little bit: we want to make sure that the number of possessions are reduced and that’s going to be our big focus going into the Florida matchup,” Fried said.
Gebhardt said that entering the matchup, the Hoyas are focusing on showing up and executing.
“We’re trying to ignore the fact of how many games they won and how good of a team they are. They’re going to be a great team; they’re very athletic,” Gebhardt said. “But I think that we’re going to take those attributes that Florida has and we’re going to play off of them. So, I think it will help us in the long run.”
The game is set to start at 12 p.m. at Cooper Field and will be televised on the Big East Digital Network.