Despite inconsistent play, the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (6-9, 5-1 Big East) clinched the second seed in the Big East tournament with Saturday evening’s 8-7 win over Marquette (4-12, 0-6 Big East), the team’s final road conference game of the season.
“Getting the second seed puts us in a really good position to get a shot to keep playing with each other. … In close games it’s been a test to how resilient we can be and battling back. This weekend and Wednesday were really good tests for us,” senior defender Megan Marinelli said.
Strong 4-0 and 3-0 runs to open each half helped to propel the Hoyas to the hard-fought victory, but the Golden Eagles made a late run to cut the lead to just one goal with 5:45 remaining, making for a nervy finish against a team that shares the cellar of the Big East with Cincinnati.
“We played the opponent. We went up 4-0 at the beginning of the first half, and at the beginning of the second half, when it was close, we scored right away again. And then we relaxed. So that’s attributed to inexperience, and the ability to stay in the moment,” Head Coach Ricky Fried said.
But in the end the Hoya defense came through with stops on the cool Wisconsin night, and the 25-14 advantage in overall shots proved enough for the win.
Three Hoyas, senior attack Caroline Tarzian, junior attack Corinne Etchison and junior midfielder Kristen Bandos, notched a pair of goals apiece among the barrage of shots, bringing their season totals up to 21, 15 and 23, respectively.
Marinelli, who ranks third in the Big East in caused turnovers per game and is tied for fifth in ground balls per game, helped Georgetown close out Marquette despite a Georgetown goal drought which lasted for the game’s final 22 minutes.
According to Marinelli, winning close games, which the Hoyas were unable to do with any consistency at the beginning of the season, represents a significant improvement for the team.
“With the beginning of the season, people easily could have given up and thought this was going to be a down year. But I think throughout the season everyone on the team really believed we could bring it back,” Marinelli said.
Sophomore goalkeeper Maddy Fisher, who sits third in the Big East in saves per game and earned last week’s Big East Defensive Player of the Week award, made seven saves in the contest, including a crucial stop off a free position shot after the Golden Eagles cut the deficit to one and won the ensuing draw control with about 5:30 left.
Although Georgetown enjoyed a large advantage in shots, it only converted eight of 25 attempts, an indication of a recurring issue of poor shot quality that has not affected results recently but may need to improve before the tournament begins.
“I was really more disappointed in our inconsistency. We had spurts of playing really well, and then spurts where we just lacked focus, concentration. … There were dropped passes and unforced errors,” Fried said.
With just one conference game left on the schedule, the victory guarantees the Blue and Gray the second seed in the four-team Big East tournament, which opens at the University of Connecticut April 30. The first seed will be Florida (12-5, 6-1 Big East), who beat Georgetown 18-4 at the beginning of April.
Georgetown will face off against the third seed in its first-round matchup in the tournament. Possible opponents include UConn (9-6, 4-2 Big East), Villanova (9-6, 4-2 Big East) and Vanderbilt (7-9, 4-3 Big East).
More immediately, however, the Hoyas take on Temple (10-5, 2-4 Big East) at 3 p.m. on Saturday at MultiSport Facility in their final regular season game, during which the team’s nine seniors will be recognized for their contributions over the course of their careers.