Following back-to-back one-goal losses, the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team aims for greater scoring efficiency and a stronger start in its upcoming conference matchup at No. 6 Denver this Saturday.
The Hoyas (2-7, 0-1 Big East) are coming off a loss in their conference opener to the Marquette Golden Eagles (4-2, 1-0 Big East) — the reigning Big East champions — at home last Saturday. A slow start mired Georgetown in a five-goal deficit by the end of the first quarter, and although the team clawed back in the second half, its comeback attempt was cut short in the 11-10 defeat.
Redshirt junior attack and co-captain Peter Conley, senior midfielder Devon Lewis, freshman attack Jake Carraway and sophomore attack Daniel Bucaro all contributed two goals apiece in the loss. Conley, Lewis and Carraway each chipped in lone assists as well.
Head Coach Kevin Warne said Georgetown’s failure to pull out wins in its close losses is a result of a weak opening tempo rather than an inability to complete late-game comebacks.
“We have to find a way to get out of the gate a little bit quicker and a little more focused,” Warne said. “We’ll change our warmup this week just to get the guys in tune more, and hopefully that will kickstart the game mode.”
Another area where Georgetown looks to improve is in finishing shots and finding greater efficiency on offense.
“It’ll be a big emphasis for us over the next couple of weeks, just learning how to score,” Warne said. “We’ll put our guys in situations where they have to think fast, be able to finish under pressure and find a place in the net that’s open and put it there. The only way you can do that is increasing the guys’ tempo and the thought process so they don’t just throw the ball at the goal.”
An offensive bright spot for the Hoyas this season has been a vastly improved performance at the faceoff X, led by junior faceoff specialists Riley Mann and Peter Tagliaferri. The duo has combined for a .502 faceoff win percentage so far this season, compared to the .381 percentage Georgetown finished with last season. Tagliaferri currently ranks No.15 nationally in faceoff wins.
Warne said he has been pleased with Georgetown’s collective efforts at the faceoff, both at the X and on the wings.
“Pete Tagliaferri and Riley Mann — those guys at the X are giving us a chance,” Warne said. “They’re doing a really good job compared to where they were last year at this time.”
Continued faceoff success will be crucial for Georgetown in tomorrow’s matchup, as Denver currently boasts the best faceoff specialist in the nation in junior Trevor Baptiste. Baptiste sets the bar with a current .723 faceoff win percentage.
Baptiste’s 20-of-26 performance at the X was crucial in Denver’s most recent contest, a close 12-11 win over No. 15 Towson (4-3) last weekend. Now approaching its conference opener Saturday, the Pioneers look to continue the prolific success they have achieved in the Big East over the past few seasons. Denver has largely dominated the Big East since joining the conference in 2014, earning three straight regular-season titles and two Big East tournament championships.
In Georgetown and Denver’s last meeting, Denver dominated on the offensive end, staging several unanswered streaks and earning a decisive 17-4 victory. The Hoyas have not defeated the Pioneers since becoming conference rivals.
Another offensive threat for Denver is senior attack Connor Cannizzaro, who currently leads the Pioneers on offense with 30 points this season and notched two goals and five assists in last year’s contest against the Hoyas.
While a strong defensive effort will be crucial in Saturday’s game, Warne said the Georgetown offense also needs to step up to control the pace and keep Denver’s possessions limited.
“We’re going to have to play really well in the goal, and we’re going to have to make stops defensively,” Warne said. “They’re very skilled, but if we have a plan where we can control the tempo, I think by having possession, scrapping at the X and doing some different things that they haven’t seen yet from us, that will help us get in that position.”
Saturday’s game is slated for 3 p.m. at Denver.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.