The No. 16 Georgetown women’s lacrosse team will travel to Delaware on Saturday for the first regular-season matchup of a challenging 2015 schedule.
After a month-long preseason, which featured a scrimmage at No. 7 Virginia last weekend, Georgetown is ready to begin the 2015 campaign with a good performance against an athletic Delaware team before the difficulty ramps up in a very tough run of mid-season matches.
Last year, the team faced a similarly challenging schedule and went 11-9 in the regular season, 6-1 in Big East play and made both the Big East Championship final and the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Head Coach Ricky Fried, in his 11th year at the helm, says the team needs no extra motivation for the Delaware game.
“In your opening game, regardless of who you play, everybody’s going to be ready to go, because they’re going to be chomping at the bit to play somebody else as opposed to themselves each day,” Fried said. “The first game sets the tone for what you’re going to do during the course of the season. Not what your outcome’s going to be, but it gives a benchmark.”
Fried also recognizes the importance of the coaching staff identifying the right combinations of players to impact crucial aspects of the game, particularly its speed.
“We have to make sure we’re putting the right combinations on the field for us,” Fried said. “We started off slow [against Virginia], though we rebounded pretty well and were resilient in the second half by continuing to play, but we’re going to have to control the tempo of the game.”
Georgetown opened last season with a 19-11 home victory over Delaware and held Delaware senior midfielder Caitlin McCartney to just one assist.
In addition to containing McCartney, Fried knows it will also be important for the Hoyas’ defense to shut down junior attackers Casey Lyons and Shannon Hawley in order to ensure a win over the Blue Hens.
Georgetown senior defender and co-captain Adrianne Devine focused on the concept of everyone finding their spot, or groove, in working together as a team during the preseason; she also cautioned against underestimating Delaware.
“Delaware is definitely not one of those top-20, top-10 teams, but they’re a very scrappy team, so we can’t really take them lightly,” Devine said. “We have to go into it with the same sense of urgency as any other game that we’re going to play this season. And especially with it being our first game, it’s very important to … get the season rolling on a good note.”
Especially with such a young midfield, Devine was happy with the team’s work before Saturday’s opener.
“Going into preseason, we had an open midfield because we graduated a lot from the senior [class] last year,” Devine said. “We had a lot of freshmen coming in midfield, so basically everyone had to prove themselves and earn their spot in the midfield … and actually a lot of the freshmen were playing well.”
According to senior defender Megan Marinelli, the Hoyas have already showed their mental toughness by working through difficult preseason conditions.
“We had a lot of injuries, and there was a lot to work throughout preseason,” Marinelli said. “Also, with the weather, I think we showed how we can work through things and be tough.”
Senior attack and co-captain Caroline Tarzian said she always feels nervous before every game, but this year the adrenaline will be tinged with an additional bit of urgency.
“Being a senior, it’s a lot different than every other year,” Tarzian said. “I mean, every year you’re excited to play, but with it being our last year, we definitely feel a sense of urgency that we haven’t felt in previous years. And we want to go out on top.”
For Fried, even after coaching at the highest levels of women’s lacrosse for several years, the emotions still come to him naturally.
“I don’t think I can get any more excited or nervous or anxious,” Fried said. “That’s just part of my DNA. If you stop doing those things, then you don’t coach anymore.”