With a tradition of excellence comes an expectation of perfection. When a program falls short, the hunger grows even more.

After Georgetown’s women’s lacrosse team failed in its bid for a third-straight Final Four in 2003, last year’s squad was not going to settle for anything less.

To accomplish that goal for the 2004 season, the Hoyas worked toward aggressive play, especially on defense, to force decisive wins.

“The theme of last season was decision time,” Head Coach Ricky Fried, who served as the associate coach last year, said. “Basically we needed to make a decision whether we wanted to get back to the Final Four. We wanted to refocus and make sure we were ready for that challenge.”

Georgetown started the season in familiar territory, ranked No. 6 in the preseason coaches’ poll and picked to win the Big East. The Hoyas got off on the right foot, taking victories in all of their first five games until No. 1 Princeton snapped Georgetown’s streak in the most anticipated match of the regular season, defeating the Hoyas, 9-7.

After a sloppy 13-6 win over Rutgers, Georgetown handily defeated No. 13 North Carolina, 14-3, but then local rival No. 7 aryland upset Georgetown, 13-8.

Georgetown bounced back in a big way in its next game, dumping Boston College 20-3. The Hoyas got out to an early lead on eight unanswered goals, and by the end of the game they had set school records with 12 assists and 25 caused turnovers.

With a 9-7 victory over No. 6 Notre Dame, Georgetown clinched a Big East Championship – its fourth in as many years – but the Hoyas did not have time to celebrate. No. 19 Penn State gave Georgetown a rude awakening, topping the Hoyas 10-7.

In the last conference game of the regular season, Georgetown defeated Connecticut 14-9, wrapping up another perfect 6-0 Big East schedule for the Hoyas. Georgetown split the final games of the season, falling to No. 8 James Madison, 12-11, and defeating Stanford, 12-3.

The Hoyas’ draw in the NCAA Tournament was anything but easy. They faced three ACC teams, starting with Duke. Georgetown built a 7-5 lead in the first period to see Duke match that score in the second, knotting the score at 12. Unable to get a goal in the first overtime, the Hoyas found the net in the second for the victory.

The tough win over Duke prepared Georgetown for its second-round rematch with Maryland. The Terps were undefeated in playoff games on their home field – until the Hoyas came along. With everything clicking on defense, Georgetown put together a 14-10 win and moved on to the Final Four.

“The one big memory – the one that sticks out the most – would be the Maryland game,” Fried said. “We had only beaten them one other time previous to that game, and playing at their field in the quarterfinals, and the way we played especially, was special to get us back to the Final Four.”

Paired with Virginia, Georgetown played its heart out in an intense battle. Soon into the second half, the Cavaliers had built up a 7-3 lead. The Hoyas were not going to go down so easily, though, and pushed the score to 8-8. But in the end Virginia held the upper hand and defeated Georgetown 12-9. The Cavaliers went on to win the national championship.

Accolades upon accolades piled onto the Hoyas after the 11-4 Final Four season. As a team, Georgetown finished first in the nation in caused turnovers and ground balls. The Hoyas also ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense and sixth in scoring margin. In the Big East, Georgetown led in goals (220), assists (110) and goals against average (5.63). The Hoyas never fell lower than No. 8 in the rankings over the 2004 season.

Senior midfielder Michi Ellers (COL ’04), a finalist for the prestigious Tewaaraton Trophy, racked up postseason awards, including 2004 IWLCA Division I Defensive Player of the Year and her second Big East Defensive Player of the Year title. That season she picked up Big East Defensive Player of the Week five times, a conference record. Ellers caused the most turnovers in the nation with 66, nearly twice as many as the second-ranked player in the Big East. She tied with junior midfielder Lauryn Bernier in groundballs with 55, the second-highest conference total.

Ellers and freshman attack Coco Stanwick (45 points), who were both part of the NCAA All-Tournament Team, earned places on the U.S. Developmental Team over the summer.

Ellers was also selected as a first team All-American. Senior midfielder Gloria Lozano (SFS ’04), who scored 34 points and controlled a conference-leading 57 draws, on the second team and junior attacker Sarah Oliphant, who led the Hoyas in points with 52 and goals with 32, were on the third team. All three were named to the All-Big East first team as well as teammate Sarah Robinson, a junior goalkeeper.

Georgetown also placed junior midfielder Ali Chambers (29 goals, 41 points) and senior midfielder Anouk Peters (COL ’04), who had 31 goals and 40 points, on the All-Big East second team.

Although longtime head coach Kim Simons and the core of senior captains Ellers, Lozano and Peters have moved on, the Hoyas’ prospects for the future remain bright as Fried has the pieces in place to continue Georgetown’s tradition of excellence.

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