Despite comfortably beating Marquette 13-7 in Milwaukee Friday night, the No. 8 Georgetown women’s lacrosse team knew that its real test still loomed in a road clash at No. 5 Notre Dame on Sunday. After falling behind to the Fighting Irish in the weekend’s marquee matchup, Georgetown’s comeback effort eventually came up short in a 13-12 nail-biter defeat — the Blue and Gray’s first conference loss this season.
This is the fourth straight time Notre Dame (11-1, 5-1 Big East) has emerged victorious over Georgetown (9-3, 3-1 Big East), including two consecutive one-goal victories. Sunday’s defeat was particularly hard to swallow for the Hoyas, as they thoroughly outplayed their counterparts statistically, outshooting them 37-22 and forcing 21 turnovers.
With the drastic difference between the two opponents on paper, Head Coach Ricky Fried attributed the Blue and Gray’s loss to a failure to convert an abundance of opportunities.
“At the end of the day, the difference is purely shooting,” Fried said. “Ultimately we need to win the game, and that’s something we will work especially hard on moving forward.”
Friday’s win over Marquette (2-12) was a completely different story; the game was relatively drama-free, as the heavily favored Hoyas took control early and cruised to the finish line.
After falling behind 1-0 early, Georgetown rattled off three successive goals in an eight-minute span and never looked back. The Blue and Gray built on its lead from there and entered halftime with a comfortable 7-3 advantage.
Out of the break, it was more of the same for the Hoyas, who extended their lead to 10-4. The Golden Eagles, however, closed the margin to 10-6 with enough time left on the clock to believe that a comeback was possible. That was as close as Marquette would get, though, as Georgetown reasserted control and cruised to the 13-7 victory.
While the Blue and Gray had little trouble with the Golden Eagles, Fried still noticed some disturbing trends in the win.
“We dictated the tempo of the game and I thought we were never in danger of losing the game, but we were disappointed with our turnovers and shooting percentage,” Fried said. “I think you’ve always got to look at negatives in wins and positives in losses.”
The Hoyas’ struggles with shooting percentage carried over into Sunday’s contest against the Fighting Irish. The hyped-up matchup got off to a slow start, as the two sides failed to make noteworthy dents in the scoreboard.
Perhaps both Georgetown and Notre Dame were still struggling with mental and physical fatigue early. While the Blue and Gray dealt with back-to-back weekend road games, the Irish were coming off a heartbreaking 14-13 double-overtime loss to No. 17 Loyola (Md.).
Whatever the reason, both squads traded minor blows in the first half and entered intermission all squared up at 4-4.
Out of the locker room, it was a different story, as the game turned into an exciting back-and-forth swing of runs. The Fighting Irish were the first to make a move, tallying four straight goals in the blink of an eye to take an 8-4 lead.
Not to be outdone, Georgetown calmly answered with four straight goals of its own to tie the game at 8-8.
About halfway through the second half, Notre Dame impressively responded by finding the back of the net three consecutive times to regain an 11-8 advantage. Soon, with just over three minutes left on the clock, the Blue and Gray found themselves trailing 13-9.
From there, the Hoyas had one last run in them, but it was just not enough. Thanks to goals from junior midfielder Meghan Farrell, senior midfielder Sophia Thomas and senior midfielder Kelsi Bozel, Georgetown was able to reduce the margin to one. Yet with 13 seconds remaining, there was simply not enough time for the Blue and Gray to tie it up at the end.
Thomas led the way for Georgetown in the loss. The Tewaarton Trophy candidate notched her second hat trick of the weekend and was aided by Bozel and Farrell — each of whom tallied two scores themselves.
“You can’t ever understate Sophia’s importance to the team,” Fried said. “She’s one of those people who always does the little things. Recently, she’s been scoring more, which obviously is a huge help for us on offense.”
Overall, it was a busy weekend for the Hoyas and one that ended in disappointment. Even in defeat, though, Fried sees some positive signs for the Blue and Gray to build on as tournament play commences in the not-so-distant future.
“There are a lot of things we can pull from these [games] against a really quality opponent,” Fried said. “We’re able to play at high level on a consistent basis, and if we tweak a few things, we should hopefully be in a good position again in these games down the road.”