WOMEN LAX GU Is No. 1 Top-Ranked Hoyas Take on Duke By Derek Richmond Special to The Hoya

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Senior midfielder Kate Ahearn and the Hoyas competed against Maryland for the national championship last season. They are now ranked No. 1 in the nation.

A week ago the second-ranked Georgetown women’s lacrosse team defeated No.7 Syracuse 11-6. Two days later the Duke Blue Devils, then ranked first in the nation, fell at the hands of North Carolina 10-4. When the dust finally settled, the Brine/Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Poll had Georgetown (5-0, 2-0 Big East) sitting on top. Duke had slid all the way to the number five spot.

This weekend the two teams meet, with the Hoyas traveling to Durham, N.C. The game has shaped up to be a big one as Duke will be fighting hard to climb back to the top. Georgetown will be fighting just as hard to stay there. This week’s poll represents Georgetown’s first number one ranking ever in women’s lacrosse. Not even in last year’s run to the NCAA finals did the Hoyas achieve such a feat.

Head Coach Kim Simons calls the number one ranking a mixed blessing. “It is a nice accomplishment for our program and our team to be ranked no one, because it is something that every team and program aspires to,” Simons said. “On the flip side, now we have to be able to defend that and it puts a little extra pressure on our team going into this weekend.”

Georgetown has not beaten Duke since the 1997 season, and has never won in Durham. This is a trend the Hoyas are hoping to reverse on Sunday and they have a good shot at doing so. Following their loss to UNC and subsequent fall from grace, the Blue Devils faced the Princeton Tigers yesterday. Second-ranked Princeton led 8-0 at the half and went on to win 13-5 as Duke dropped to 5-2 on the season. Duke’s losing ways are a trend the Hoyas would like to continue.

Georgetown is 2-4 against Duke all-time. In the games they have won, the Blue Devils’ margin of victory totaled eight goals over four games. The Hoyas’ two victories in the series came by margins of six and 16 goals. However, the Hoyas will certainly not take the Blue Devils lightly.

Simons emphasized that the only key matchup in Sunday’s contest will be Duke vs. Georgetown. While each team has outstanding players, both teams are so well balanced on either side of the field that concentrating on any single player leaves open a slew of scoring options for the opposition.

“I think it’s going to be very difficult for any team to key in on one player on our team, which is something that makes us very dangerous. As far as their team goes, they also are pretty balanced,” Simons said. “I hope that our team comes out ready to play from the very first minute. I think that’s going to be key.”

The Hoyas take on the Duke Blue Devils Sunday with game time set for 11:30a.m. Georgetown will need to play as well or better than it did last week at Syracuse if it expects to continue its unbeaten streak and hold on to its top spot in the polls. Expect a close, well balanced, high-intensity game from this matchup.

“The team that plays for the entire 60 minutes with a little bit more intensity is probably going to be the one that walks away with the win on Sunday.”

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