Dull gray skies and chilly rain greeted the Hoyas upon their return to the Hilltop Sunday night, reflecting the mood after a 12-6 defeat in the finals of the Big East championship at the hands of Syracuse.

It was an unfitting end to an exciting tournament. Friday saw the Hoyas overcome host Notre Dame in the semifinals, emerging out of the triple-overtime fray with a 15-14 victory.

The Fighting Irish got off to a fierce start in the game, scoring six in a row early on before the Hoyas could get on the board. The hosts led the Hoyas 9-2 near the end of the first half.

It took a mammoth effort on the part of the Hoya attack to put them back in the game – freshmen attackers Jordy Kirr and Allie Hubschmann each notched a hat trick, while sophomores midfielder Ashby Kaestner and attacker Molly Ford grabbed four goals each to bring the Hoyas within reaching distance. Two overtimes weren’t enough to decide the game, and it was in the third extra period that Kaestner’s pass found Ford, who blasted it into the cage for the match winner with 46 seconds left on the clock.

The Hoyas went on to face Syracuse in the finals for the second year in a row, and went into the game carrying not just the aches and pains of three overtimes but also the burden of a poor track record against the Orange, who defeated the Blue and Gray 18-3 in the regular season.

The Orange won their third straight over the Hoyas after a gutsy performance on Sunday, overcoming an early Hoya lead.

Georgetown made the first mark on the scoreboard, scoring three goals in 12 minutes, courtesy of Hubschmann and Ford, the latter of whom recorded a pair. The first half remained low-scoring, with Syracuse managing just two goals before the halftime whistle.

“We did well to keep Syracuse to two goals in the first half,” Head Coach Ricky Fried said. “It’s probably their lowest output in the year in a half. Unfortunately we didn’t finish off our opportunities, and that’s what got us in the second half. They finished their opportunities and went on a little bit of a run, and they executed well.”

Kaestner scored a minute and a half into the second period, linking up with Ford for the goal. That was, however, the Hoyas’ last goal for the next 23 minutes, as Syracuse took the reins from then on and refused to hand them over. Goals came pouring in for the Orange, as they went from trailing 4-2 to leading 10-4.

The Blue and Gray were unable to recover from the Orange onslaught, despite two goals at 4:29 and 1:20 by senior midfielder Patty Piotrowicz and Kirr, respectively. Syracuse remained merciless in its attack, flinging salt on the Hoya wounds and scoring two more goals in the dying seconds of the match to take the score to 12-6 and earn them the championship.

Syracuse gained a bid to the NCAA tournament as the winner of its conference, and the Hoyas will definitely not have it as easy; with one game left against Princeton, Georgetown will have to earn an at-large bid from the selection committee.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Fried said of the Hoyas’ chances to win a place in the NCAA tournament. “I think we put ourselves in a good place. We have a win over Notre Dame, a win over UVA; we played one of the top three schedules in the country. We have significant wins with a pretty tough schedule, so I feel pretty good about it. But again, you can’t put your fate in someone else’s hands.”

Georgetown’s last chance to impress the NCAA selection committee will be on Saturday when it plays host to No. 6 Princeton at the Multi-Sport Facility at 1 p.m.

“If we win on Saturday, we’re guaranteed to be in [the tournament], maybe even a top-eight seed,” Fried said. “And if we don’t, then we’ll have to see what happens.”

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