The No. 8 Georgetown women’s lacrosse team has had a target on its back for two Big East games now, but, so far, it has yet to go down. The Hoyas (7-2, 2-0 Big East) completed a perfect weekend that started with a huge win over Cincinnati by defeating No. 20 Louisville 14-11 Sunday in a physical encounter between two of the conference’s top teams.
The Blue and Gray jumped out to a 3-0 lead just over four minutes into the game, as the Cardinals (7-3, 0-2 Big East) initially looked unprepared to deal with the offense of the fast-paced and physical home side. But Louisville responded with two goals of its own off the stick of freshman midfielderKaylin Morissette, and the teams traded scores from there.
The first half concluded much as it had begun, with a surge from the Hoyas followed by a late response from the Cardinals that culminated in two more tallies for Morissette, who was on the receiving end of a couple of pinpoint passes around the goal. The two teams went into the half tied at nine, and Georgetown Head Coach Ricky Fried was not pleased with his side’s performance.
“I thought frankly it was the whole first half that we struggled defensively,” Fried said after the game. “A lot of the things that [Morissette] benefitted from were our mistakes, and again, give her credit for making great plays, but it was a lot of us not forcing the right way or overrunning things.”
The second half mirrored the first, with sophomore attack Caroline Tarzian netting her 20th of the year just 50 seconds in off an assist from senior attack Rosie Corcoran. Tarzian would go on to score four more — marking her third five-goal game of the year — and the Hoyas would ultimately take the contest by three.
“I think that a lot of my opportunities came off of good ball movement,” Tarzian said. “We had a great ride today also, and that opened up a lot of shots for us.”
The Blue and Gray particularly keyed in on Louisville junior goalie Ashley Herbst, pressuring her into several dangerous passes that resulted in turnovers that would be converted into goals.
“I thought we did that really well today,” Fried said. “A lot of people will go back to the goalie kind of as a safe haven, and we allow that to happen and then look to jump them. It played into our favor today.”
Predictably, in a match between two physical Big East opponents, the game was filled with rough checking. The home side was called for 19 fouls and received a single yellow card, while the visitors earned 33 and seven, a disparity that had many raucous Cardinals supporters — as well as Head Coach Kellie Young — up in arms at the officials.
Fried, however, laughed off talk of uneven officiating.
“It bodes well in our favor when the other coach is losing her mind, because that means things are probably going our way,” he said. “And generally speaking, officials aren’t going to listen to you if you maintain that the whole time.”
The win comes on the back of a record-setting performance Friday against Cincinnati (4-4, 0-2 Big East) in which Georgetown, down 3-2 early, responded with 19 unanswered goals to win 21-3. In doing so, the Hoyas set the school’s conference record for largest margin of victory and tied their second-largest overall, behind only a 23-2 win over Wilson College in 1980.
“It was a good test for us to play the Friday/Sunday,” Fried said. “It’s the first time we’re doing that, so physically and mentally, that’s a challenge, and we stepped up to it against a very good team.”
As Georgetown looks to continue its ascent up the rankings, the idea of every team gunning for his squad doesn’t seem to bother the head coach; in fact, he embraces it.
“Going into the Big East, we’ve won 90 percent of the games the last 12 years, so regardless of who people think are the better teams, we’re still the team that people want to knock off in the Big East,” Fried said. “So we’ve just got to focus on what we’re doing. I thought we did a good job of that for the most part.”
They’ll have to continue doing it, too, as next up for the Blue and Gray is a clash with No. 19 Loyola in Baltimore, Md. The Greyhounds (4-5, 2-0 Big East) are coming off impressive wins of their own over the Bearcats and Cardinals — 19-0 and 11-6, respectively — and will be looking to prove their superiority.
The target on Georgetown’s back grows larger and larger with every win; the Hoyas are just hoping a team won’t eventually hit the bull’s-eye.