Georgetown’s women’s lacrosse team opens the 2005 season playing host to Mount St. Mary’s. One of the few unranked opponents the Hoyas will face, the Mountaineers are a team that could surprise the Hoyas in the early going if they are not careful.

A team on the way up, the Mountaineers went 15-5 last year en route to both the regular season and tournament championships in the Northeast Conference. Mount St. Mary’s also made its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2004, falling to eventual national champion Virginia 19-2.

Although the Mountaineers lost the NEC Player of the Year with the graduation of goalkeeper Naomi Campano, they return their best offensive weapon, senior mid Erin LaMotte, who led the team in goals and draw controls in 2004.

This is a game Georgetown should win, and a victory will be necessary for the Hoyas to get the season started off right.

Georgetown will face its first real challenge when it plays host to Syracuse. Inside Lacrosse’s No. 13 preseason pick, Syracuse is Georgetown’s first ranked opponent and a longtime rival. Last year the Hoyas defeated the Orange 10-5, and this year the outcome should be the same.

With the graduation of Leigh-Ann Zimmer the Orange lost their best offensive player, but senior mid Monica Joines is ready to step up and fill the void. The unanimous preseason Offensive Player of the Year pick in the Big East, Joines is dangerous anywhere on the field. Last year she tallied two goals against the Hoyas, and she is the player to watch in this contest.

In its first conference game of 2005 Georgetown should be able to notch a win over Syracuse. The Orange are still a few years away from being able to complete at the Hoyas’ level.

Saturday, Mar. 19, will be a defining day in Georgetown’s 2005 campaign. Selected by Inside Lacrosse as the preseason No. 5 squad, the Hoyas will face the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils, and a win or loss could shape the rest of the season. It is likely that Georgetown will enter the match undefeated.

Last year Georgetown defeated Duke twice – once in the regular season and once in the NCAA tournament – downing the Blue Devils by one goal in each contest. In the first round of the tournament the teams went to double overtime before the Hoyas finally found the back of the net for the 13-12 victory. It was on that goal that Duke’s season ended, and the Blue Devils will be out for revenge.

A well-rounded team with one of the best attackers in the country in junior Katie Chrest, Georgetown will need to leave it all on the field to earn the win here.

This is the one must-see on Georgetown’s home schedule.

When Georgetown plays host to local rival No. 8 Maryland, it will mark the end of the toughest stretch of the season for the Hoyas. Coming off away games against Rutgers, No. 2 Princeton and No. 6 North Carolina, the Hoyas will get no rest against the Terrapins. One of the best teams in the nation, Maryland will challenge a road-weary Georgetown team.

Led by first-team All-American junior attacker Delia Cox and second-team All-American senior defender Greta Sommers, the Terps are a threat both on offense and defense. Cox tallied 47 goals last year while Sommers anchored a defense that limited opponents to only 7.9 goals per game – the fifth lowest total in the nation.

Last year Georgetown ended Maryland’s season with a 14-10 victory in the second round of the NCAA tournament. This game is a must-win for the Hoyas if they want 2005 to be their year. Georgetown can win this game, but it will not be easy.

In the last four years, Georgetown has gone an impressive 24-0 in Big East play, earning four consecutive conference titles. Georgetown will close out Big East play against Connecticut, again looking to go undefeated.

The only league game played on the Hilltop in 2005, the contest against Connecticut should be an easy win for the Hoyas. Coming off a match against the defending national champion Virginia Cavaliers just three days earlier, this game against the Huskies should allow the Hoyas to regroup before ending the season and heading to the NCAA tournament.

Connecticut’s lone threat comes from senior attack Tracy ullaney. A unanimous pick for the preseason All-Big East team, she led the Huskies with 41 goals in 2004.

Last year Georgetown defeated Connecticut 14-9 on the road, and this season the Hoyas should again dominate. Unless something goes surprisingly wrong, this game should seal Georgetown’s fifth straight undefeated Big East season and NCAA tournament bid.

Georgetown’s game against No. 11 James Madison could be a season spoiler. Coming off a run that took them to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2004, the Dukes, like the Hoyas, are looking at 2005 as their breakthrough year. JMU has been to the NCAA tournament eight times in the past 10 years and hopes this year will be the one that takes them all the way.

The Dukes lost All-Americans Gail Decker and Jess Beard, but with 19 returning letter-winners, JMU does not expect a drop from its 16-4 record last year. The Dukes will look to seniors attack Jessica Brownridge, and defender Ashlee Dardine and sophomore mid Kelly Berger to continue the strong play.

Last year the Dukes upset the Hoyas, and it could happen again if the Hoyas are not careful. Georgetown should win this game, but watch for JMU to put up a tough fight.

Georgetown’s season finale will serve as good preparation for the NCAA tournament. Playing host to local foe No. 7 Johns Hopkins, Georgetown will have its hands full. The Blue Jays made their first NCAA tournament appearance in 2004 and have something to prove this year, so this game should be a battle.

The Blue Jays are led by first-team All-American sophomore attack Mary Key, who had 52 goals and 22 assists in 2004. Along with Key, Hopkins returns seven other starters and looks to build on last year’s 12-5 record.

Georgetown is 0-3 all time against Johns Hopkins, so history is with the Blue Jays. A win is not out of the Hoyas’ reach, however. Georgetown can pick up a victory here if it plays smart, but Hopkins is hungry and will battle in this match.

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