In its fifth and final game of a long home stand, the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team fell 16-11 to conference foe No. 8 University of Florida on Saturday. The matchup against the Gators was the second Big East game for the Hoyas, who handedly beat Villanova 19-10 a week earlier on St. Patrick’s Day.
Against Florida (7-3, 2-0 Big East), it looked like it might be a similar outcome. Georgetown (5-3, 1-1 Big East) secured the first three goals in the game and did not trail for the rest of the first half. Head Coach Ricky Fried noted his players’ strong start.
“We started out really strong, playing with a lot of confidence and wearing them down,” Fried said in an interview with GUHoyas.
The first half saw goals from five different Hoyas including junior attack Taylor Gebhardt, who led the team with five points on the day: four goals and one assist. Two of her four goals were the first two of the game, both scored in the first two minutes of regulation time.
After Gebhardt’s two, junior midfielder Francesca Whitehurst scored her first point of two. Florida’s senior attacker Shayna Pirreca answered for the Gators, scoring her first and only goal of the game. Limiting Pirreca to one goal is an impressive feat by Georgetown’s defensive unit: She has scored at least two in every other game this season, for a total of 31 for the season.
Pirreca is one of four members of Florida’s squad to be named to the NCAA’s 2018 Tewaaraton watch list, which lists the top players in college lacrosse. Her sister, junior midfielder Sydney Pirreca is also on the list. Sydney Pirreca tallied three goals against the Hoyas. In addition, Florida’s junior goalie Haley Hicklen and junior attack Lindsey Ronbeck are also on the watch list.
Georgetown outperformed Florida in not just scoring but in every aspect during the first half. The Hoyas outshot the Gators 20 to 10 and scored on three of four free possession opportunities, while Florida capitalized on two out of six chances.
The Blue and Gray also dominated in possession, raking in 13 ground balls to its opponent’s eight and securing eight draw controls to Florida’s six. Georgetown also committed fewer errors than Florida in the first half, giving up nine turnovers to Florida’s 10 and fouling 10 times to Florida’s 12.
The first half was as promising as any, but after the break, the Gators came back with a vengeance.
Fried recognized his team’s failure to maintain its play in the second half.
“In the second half, we made too many mistakes, and they made plays. Our offense was very stagnant, and our defense didn’t execute the game play on a consistent basis,” Fried said.
Florida came out strong, scoring the first goal in the second half. Georgetown senior midfielder and captain Hannah Seibel answered right back, scoring on an assist by Gebhardt. Seibel had three total goals against the Gators.
Florida continued to chip away at the deficit, scoring two of its own after Seibel’s goal. Florida continued to close the gap throughout the second half, but Georgetown hung on to its lead for a while. With 14:09 left to play, senior midfielder Allie Pavinelli scored for Florida and sent the Gators on an unanswered seven-goal streak, propelling them to victory over the Hoyas.
No new Hoyas scored points in the second half and, overall, six Hoyas had points Saturday. In addition to Gebhardt, Whitehurst and Seibel, sophomore midfielder Natalia Lynch and freshman midfielder Caroline Frock each had one goal. Sophomore attack Emily Ehle led her team in assists with two sharp passes. Ehle also leads her team with 17 assists this season.
The Hoyas now look ahead to Wednesday, when they will travel to College Park, Md., to take on the reigning Division I NCAA champions, No. 3 University of Maryland (8-1, 1-0 Big 10). The Terrapins have five members of their roster on the Tewaaraton watch list, and they come into the competition on a six-game win streak, most recently downing James Madison University (8-1).
The Hoyas are 4-23 all-time against the Terrapins and 3-10 at College Park — though Georgetown’s last win against Maryland did occur on the road in 2006. The opening draw is set for 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and the game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.