WOMEN’S LAX Hoyas Give Devils the Blues No. 1 Hoyas Led By Goalie Vicchio By Tom Kenny Hoya Staff Writer

Charles Nailen/The Hoya Sophomore midfielder Gloria Lozano keeps the ball away from the Duke defense in their Sunday matchup. Lozano had one goal and one assist in the 8-7 Hoya victory.

DURHAM, N.C. – For the first time in the history of the program, the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team was ranked No. 1 in last week’s International Women’s Lacrosse Association Coaches Poll. If not for senior goalie Chandler Vicchio, its reign at the top could have been a very short one.

In Sunday’s 8-7 victory over No. 5 Duke, the Hoyas survived despite being outshot 30-17 by the Blue Devils and losing 13 of 18 draws. With the win, Georgetown improved to 6-0 on the year. Duke fell to 5-3 and has dropped its last three games.

“We pulled it out because of Chandler,” Head Coach Kim Simons said. “She played huge. It was one of the best games of her career.”

Vicchio was the clear difference in the game. She stopped 13 shots overall and five in a second half that saw the Blue Devils dominate for nearly the first 20 minutes. Her counterpart, Duke senior goalie Kristen Foster, made only four saves in the entire game.

“Chandler saved us in the second half,” senior attack Erin Elbe said. Duke shot the ball 15 times in the second half compared to only four for Georgetown.

Trailing 6-2 at halftime, the Blue Devils came out of the break a completely rejuvenated team. “They were challenging really hard and fast,” Vicchio said. “They were making it really tough for our defense.”

Duke began to cut into Georgetown’s lead in the opening minute of the second half. After a Vicchio save, Duke junior midfielder Lauren Gallagher scooped up the rebound and drilled it into the back of the net to narrow the Georgetown lead to three goals.

With this goal the momentum began to shift in favor of the Blue Devils. In the next 10 minutes, Duke held possession in the Georgetown zone for almost the entire time. Several shots from point-blank range were turned aside by Vicchio.

“They came out with a head of steam,” Elbe said. “They were winning all the 50-50 balls.” Duke picked up 18 of 29 ground balls on the day.

The Blue Devils finally broke through again with just under 21 minutes remaining. After Duke freshman midfielder Lane Fogarty failed to convert off a free possession shot, Gallagher grabbed the loose ball and fed it to senior attack Kelly Dirks, who scored her second goal of the day. Just a minute later, Dirks spun around the Georgetown defense and scored her third goal to cut the Hoya lead to 6-5.

The Blue Devils were far from finished. With 17 minutes left in the second half, junior attack Jessica Bennett rifled a shot past Vicchio to tie the score for the first time since the opening minutes of the first half. Dirks’ fourth goal with 15:48 to go allowed Duke to take its first lead of the game, 7-6.

At this point, everything was going the Blue Devils way. They had reeled off five goals in less than 15 minutes while limiting the Hoyas to only one shot. Their lead would have been larger if not for several saves by Vicchio. “Duke changed their game plan in the second half,” Simons said. “We were a little complacent.”

But the Hoyas would not go away. Despite being humbled and totally outplayed for 18 minutes, Georgetown would answer the Duke run and demonstrate why they are the nation’s number one team. Following yet another save by Vicchio to keep the deficit at one, the Hoyas had one of their first sustained offensive pushes in the second half. It resulted in a free position shot for sophomore midfielder Gloria Lozano. Lozano elected not to shoot but instead passed off to Elbe who scored her second goal of the day to tie the score again.

Georgetown was able to keep on the attack after the goal. With 10:18 remaining, junior attack Wick Stanwick scored from 10 feet out what would prove to be the game winner.

“This is a team that has a lot more character than people give them credit for,” Simons said.

In the game’s final 10 minutes, the Hoyas withstood a series of furious charges from the Blue Devils. Twice Duke hit the post and two other times they failed to convert on free position shots. “We got some luck,” Simons said. “That’s something we don’t normally get.”

With 1:50 remaining, Vicchio stoned Gallagher on a free position shot off the right wing. That would be the last opportunity the Blue Devils would get. For the final two minutes, Stanwick, Elbe, junior attack Tracy Weickel and freshman midfielder Allison Chambers swung the ball all around the field despite Duke’s desperate attempts to regain possession. The Hoyas would hold onto the ball and come away with the extremely hard fought victory.

In the first half, Georgetown played solidly and methodically built the lead that allowed them to withstand Duke’s second half run. It was a balanced offensive effort. Six different Hoyas scored the six first half goals. Duke could muster only two goals. “They’re a young team, and they were tentative in the first half,” Simons said. “They weren’t at all tentative in the second.”

It was the first win for the Hoyas in the last four meetings against the Blue Devils. “For us to pull off a win is huge because we had an awful week of practice,” Simons said. The Blue Devils still lead the all-time series between the two schools 4-3.

For Vicchio, who is in her first full season as a starter, this game will be one the most memorable regardless of how the season finishes. “I just tried to stay calm throughout,” Vicchio said. “I wanted to do whatever I could to keep the ball out of the net.”

Vicchio and Stanwick were selected as Big East Co-Players of the Week for their play. It was Stanwick’s second week in a row to be named Player of the Week.

The Hoyas will look to remain undefeated as they face Rutgers (2-5) on Saturday. Face-off against the Scarlet Knights will be at noon on Kehoe Field.

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