Lucye Rafferty/The Hoya Sophomore forward Erica Chan takes the ball down the sideline on Kehoe Field Saturday afternoon. Chan and the Hoyas finished the season with a 6-12 overall record.

The warmth of this weekend’s resurgence of Indian summer provided an idyllic setting for Georgetown field hockey’s Senior Day. And after a difficult season, the good weather was accompanied by an equally bright result, as the Hoyas downed Radford University 3-0 in their final game of the year.

Despite having high hopes at the season’s outset, the team closed out the 2003 campaign at 6-12. After its season-opening 5-0 shutout of Longwood, Georgetown immediately fell into a seven-game winless streak and never seemed to get back on track.

Nevertheless, the team recovered to bookend its season with another shutout win and end it on an equally high note. “It feels great [right now],” head coach Laurie Carroll said. “I’m pleased that the seniors can go out knowing the team put it all on the line for them.” She added that the win is definitely a positive way to end this season and start thinking about next season.

In keeping with their up-and-down trend over the course of the year, the Hoyas started out sluggishly. Though they won seven penalty corners to the Highlanders’ three, they were outshot 7-5 and went into halftime scoreless. In particular, Carroll said that her team was not attacking with the ball, and instead players were sitting back and waiting for passes to come to them.

“We were not taking as many risks as we needed to do to win the game,” Carroll said. “We weren’t attacking, but we weren’t making the mistakes that cost us goals, either. [At halftime], we made a commitment to be exhausted at the end of the game.”

And in the second half, the Hoyas’ renewed commitment to attacking shone through. Only 7:30 into the game, sophomore forward Jessica Quinn picked up the ball inside the midfield line, carrying it through a crowd of Radford defenders before firing a pass forward to a sprinting Dionna Jordan. The senior forward corralled the pass and, going in alone on senior Highlander goalie Tina Caiazza, threw a fake before burying the shot for the game’s first goal.

From that point on, Georgetown’s offensive game gradually picked up steam. Eight minutes later, following a Georgetown corner, senior co-captain and midfielder Leeanne Rizzo took a pass from fellow senior midfielder Beth Gagnon and sent it into the open cage, extending the Hoyas’ lead to two. The goal was Rizzo’s 10th of the season, giving the Hoyas a second double-digit goal-scorer. Quinn finished the 2003 campaign with a total 13 goals.

Finally, with 9:49 remaining, Jordan tallied her second score of the contest and sixth of the year when she took a give-and-go pass from Rizzo and put a diving shot past Caiazza.

Caiazza stopped two shots in the game, while Georgetown freshman keeper Abby Winer stopped all seven Highlander chances. For the match, the Hoyas finished with an 11-9 edge in corners, though Radford had two more shots, 14-12.

Seniors accounted for all three Georgetown goals. “When they started, that’s how they played,” Carroll said of the seniors. “As you get older, you get a little smarter and you tend to conserve yourself. But now they put it all on the line again.”

Though their names did not make it on the scoresheet, senior defenders Nora Mirando and co-captain Lauren Galbally provided noteworthy vocal leadership in their final career starts. It was also Galbally whose shot off the penalty corner created the rebound resulting in the Hoyas’ second goal.

Carroll was happy with her seniors, despite the struggles of their final season.

“These are the kind of people that still want to be involved. They’re mature enough that they don’t measure their success in terms of wins and losses this year. They know what they brought to the program [during their careers]. This was my first recruiting class, and they definitely raised the bar for this program,” she said.

All five graduating seniors played starting roles for Georgetown this year, and four were among the Hoyas’ top five scorers, so the coaching staff will look to replace a great deal of experience in the offseason.

Quinn will look to build upon her first two years, in which she has scored 24 goals, while midfielders Megan Leahey, a junior, and sophomore Molly Ahearn will bring back seasoning as starters. In the backfield, junior Caroline Cole and sophomore Caitlin Bump will look to anchor the Hoya defense, while Winer and freshman Caitlin Faller split some of the starting duties in goal.

This solid core of returning players and next year’s incoming freshman class will look to rebound from a difficult 2003 campaign and return Georgetown to its winning ways.

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