JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA Sophomore Aliyah Graves-Brown scored in OT versus Holy Cross.
Sophomore Aliyah Graves-Brown scored in OT versus Holy Cross.

After two games on the road last weekend, the Georgetown field hockey team (2-3) will return home to face off against the Longwood Lancers (3-4) on Saturday and the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (1-5) on Sunday.

Georgetown notched its second win of the season last Saturday in a 2-1 overtime victory at Holy Cross (2-5). The Hoyas started the game strongly, with two shots in the first minute of the game. In the 22nd minute, junior forward Sarah Butterfield scored her first goal of the season to put Georgetown ahead 1-0. The offensive momentum slowed, however, and the Hoyas did not score again for the remainder of regulation. The Crusaders scored a goal of their own with 14 minutes left in the game to send the matchup into overtime.

Georgetown’s defense remained resilient during overtime. Following an important save by sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Skonecki, the Hoyas shut down a penalty corner and transitioned the ball upfield to sophomore forward Aliyah Graves-Brown, who scored her third goal of the season to seal the win.

Head Coach Shannon Soares was proud of the renewed effort that she saw on the field during overtime.

“I think the best part of that overtime period was that our kids kept fighting,” Soares said. “Even after giving up two defensive penalty corners, they took that penalty corner as an opportunity to get a quick counter. … [Aliyah] had so much poise on the ball … she finished on a shot that not many people would be able to finish on.”

The excitement of Saturday’s overtime victory faded Sunday, when Georgetown fell 4-1 to the Brown Bears (3-0) in Providence, R.I. After a closely contested first half ended scoreless, Brown scored four consecutive goals over 21 minutes in the second half to go up 4-0. Georgetown junior midfielder Emily Weinberg scored off a penalty shot with 19 seconds left in the game to put the Hoyas on the board.

Soares believes that the Hoyas were not prepared for the startling change in momentum between halves.

“There were great moments of brilliance in the first half,” Soares said. “That first half had some of the best hockey we’ve played all season. [In the second half], instead of being the hunter, we were the hunted. It was a change in mentality. We had a little bit of pressure on us, and we crumbled a bit under that pressure.”

Despite the tough loss, Soares believes that this is a good opportunity for Georgetown to learn how to deal with difficult situations.

“This whole culture change, this whole fresh start is an exciting thing for us, and we’ve made some strides. But this is a process for us, and we’re going to have second halves like that,” Soares said. “Now the big thing is can we learn from that second half against Brown, and can we turn the page and move forward and build from it.”

Soares says the whole coaching staff has been implementing techniques to handle pressure during practice this week in order to prepare for the upcoming homestand.

“I think we’ve done a good job during practice this week of reminding ourselves that we need to expect more and that we’re not the Georgetown field hockey team of the past that crumbles under pressure,” Soares said. “We’ve been putting a lot of pressure on them during practice. There are a lot of accountability actions that take place during practice for errors that we make.

This preparation will be key for facing off against Longwood on Saturday. The Lancers (3-4) have struggled to set the pace of the game in their losses this season, which will give the Hoyas an early opportunity to establish their offense in the opposing zone.

Although Lehigh has struggled entering Sunday’s game, it will still be a tough competitor, as it returns most of its players from the 2013 season and has a core group of talented freshmen. Junior Lindsey Schott and sophomore Gabby Tofig, both forwards, lead the team with three goals apiece.

Soares views the upcoming weekend as a chance to execute the skills that the Hoyas have been building during practice.

“For us this week, we’ve got two great opportunities ahead of us against a tough Longwood team and a tough Lehigh team,” Soares said. “But the opportunity to play at home in front of our fans and the opportunity to play under the lights on Saturday night, those are two exciting opportunities for this program.”

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