Hoyas Follow Up With Blowout Victory Over UMBC Retrievers

By Sean Gormley Hoya Staff Writer

The stakes have been raised for women’s lacrosse, as Georgetown’s recent surge, with victories coming against then-No. 4 James Madison and Maryland-Baltimore County, has brought the team its highest-ever ranking, No. 4. Just two games away from the postseason, the Hoyas are hitting their stride as the final-four contenders are separating themselves from the pretenders.

With the top four seeds getting byes in the first round of the NCAA tournament, finishing the season ranked fourth and getting a first-round bye in the NCAAs would be an enormous step towards Georgetown’s first-ever final four berth.

Georgetown put itself in position for this with a 10-8 upset victory at James Madison on Saturday. With no one on the team scoring more than two goals, the win over the Dukes was a total team effort.

“It was a huge win, because it was away and against a team ranked above us,” junior All-American attack Sheehan Stanwick said.

Head Coach Kim Simons attributed the win to preparation.

“We played JMU and were prepared: mentally, physically and we did what we needed to do against a top team. We broke it down to the most basic set offense, and I think it has worked for us a little bit,” she said.

Things didn’t start off so well against James Madison, as the Dukes found their way onto the scoreboard first on a free position shot five minutes into the game. Georgetown responded quickly, however, as middies senior Kristen Baer and junior Reagan Raneri each lit up the scoreboard for the Hoyas.

The rest of the first half was back and forth, as the Hoyas and Dukes exchanged goals, with Georgetown holding a slim 5-4 halftime lead thanks to tallies from attackers Erin Elbe, Stanwick and Kate Ahearn.

The Dukes evened the score a minute after the half, but the Hoyas railed off four consecutive goals to take a 9-5 lead, effectively sealing the victory, a win which would propel Georgetown to its highest ever ranking. Elbe and Stanwick finished with a pair of goals apiece on a day that would see eight different Hoyas find the net. Helping out at the opposite end of the field, junior goalie Bowen Holden came up with 15 saves while allowing eight goals, continuing her strong season-long play.

After the impressive upset victory, it would have been easy to come out flat against unranked UMBC on a cold and rainy day, and in fact the Hoyas did but made up for it with a spectacular second half in its 17-3 victory. Georgetown sported a 6-1 halftime lead with a pair of goals from Elbe and junior middie Sarah Oglesby helped Georgetown to a five goal lead at the half, but the team’s play was less than sharp.

“What I said at halftime had nothing to do with strategy,” Simons said.

Whatever she said, it worked.

“Our whole team came out fired up after the first half, because we really didn’t play well. We got fired up and finally started to play well,” said Elbe, who finished with six goals and an assist on the day.

“I want to focus on getting us to consistently play as a team that is tournament-ready, and in the first half today, we were not playing like a team that was tournament-ready. In the second half, we did a much better job of that,” Simons added.

A large part of that consistency was the offense’s ability to execute fluidly, which came largely thanks to Stanwick’s five assists, one shy of the single-game Georgetown record.

All five of Stanwick’s feeds went to Elbe, including four in a period of 10 minutes in the second half, a stretch during which the entire team ran like a well-oiled machine. The Hoyas scored 10 unanswered goals, at times making it look like there was no UMBC defense there to stop them, finding the back of the net on rebounds, crick-stick shots, wide-open feeds, open drives and some amazing shots by Elbe.

Said Stanwick about playing alongside fellow All-American Elbe, “I think we have always worked well together, and today it seemed that if I hit her, she was going to put it in the net. I had Erin catching them, so it was easy.”

At the end of the day Elbe had scored six goals and Stanwick notched five assists, but seven Hoyas had found the back of the net, including hat tricks from Oglesby and Baer and a pair of goals and assist from freshman attack Wick Stanwick in her first-ever start. Even more significantly, 10 of Georgetown’s 17 goals were assisted, an impressive percentage indicative of the entire team being involved in the offense.

Simons sees a spread offense as the key to continued success against the top teams. “We have to get everyone involved, because that’s how we are going to win. Those prolific players have to distribute the ball and keep everyone involved. Sheehan today had more of her points on assists than on goals, and that is a great game to me and is good for her.”

Stanwick’s one goal was a big one, however, as it moved her past Erika Gabrielson (’89) into second place on Georgetown’s career scoring list in only her third year on the hilltop. Her six points against UMBC also moved her past Gabrielson into second in career points, only one point behind Lauren Hilsky (COL ’98).

Her focus was looking forward for the team, however. “We have two games left, and if we want to be where we’d like to be at the end of the season, then we really have to win those.”

Simons was also looking forward but was careful to not look past Georgetown’s final two opponents to the NCAA tournament.

“We’re not focusing too much on where we’ll end up. We just have to get there. Obviously we’d love to have a home game – we’re undefeated at home and we play better at home, so that’s important for us. We have to focus and know that we have put ourselves into position to finish it out in the last two games.”

The first of those final two games is tomorrow at noon in Happy Valley against No. 15-ranked Penn State, with Senior Day closing out the season on Saturday, May 3 at 4 p.m., with George Mason traveling to Kehoe Field.

Related Links

 Box Score vs James Madison (W, 10-8), Apr.22-Box Score vs UMBC (W, 17-3), Apr. 25-Women’s Lacrosse Page-Women’s Lacrosse Schedule

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