At the end of last season, one of Georgetown’s lacrosse teams reached the Big East semifinal, while the other floundered at the bottom of the conference.

After a 9-9 record last season and a loss in the Big East semifinal, the women’s lacrosse team is set to improve on its strong record from last year. Meanwhile, after finishing last season 4-10 overall and 1-4 in the Big East, the men’s lacrosse team looks to rebound this year and return the program to past levels of success.

FILE PHOTO: WILL CROMARTY/THE HOYA
Senior midfielder Rachel Rausa played in all 18 games for the Hoyas last season and finished ninth on the team with ten goals.

The women begin their season at home on Saturday against St. Joseph’s, a team they have not faced since 1995. Following two scrimmages over the last two weekends, the men open at home against High Point — a talented team with a high-powered offense — Tuesday, Feb. 13.

The road for the men does not get smoother from there. Georgetown plays storied programs and upcoming powerhouses such as No. 11 Towson, No. 15 Hofstra, No. 21 Marquette and No. 16 Villanova on the road, as ranked by the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse RPI poll at the end of last season. The team will also take on No. 8 Denver and No. 17 Loyola (Md.) on Cooper Field. Four of these teams made the 2017 NCAA tournament.

On the women’s side, the team squares off against preseason No. 1 Maryland and No. 4 Florida back-to-back in March. The team also faces No. 18 Johns Hopkins, No. 19 Towson, No. 21 Loyola Maryland, No. 25 Temple, No. 27 Denver and No. 30 Delaware this season. The women are currently ranked No. 36 in the nation by RPI.

The men’s team — currently ranked No. 43 in the country — graduated a senior class full of talent, including attacker Peter Conley. Last season, Conley led the team with 18 assists and came second in goals with 27. The women’s team graduated goalkeeper Maddie Fisher, who started all 18 games last season. Fisher had 110 saves and 142 goals allowed last season.

This season, the women’s team is built around a strong core of juniors, including midfielder Francesca Whitehurst, attacker Morgan Ryan and attacker Taylor Gebhardt. Last season, Whitehurst was Big East Midfielder of the year and a All-Big East  First Team honoree. She was named an Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American Honorable Mention on Tuesday and became one of the team’s captains in January.

Gebhardt led the team with 39 goals last season, and Ryan finished second with 34. Whitehurst led the team in assists with 19 and was third on the team with 28 goals. The sophomore class for the women’s team is led by attackers Michaela Bruno and midfielder Emily Ehle, who finished last season with 11 and 17 goals, respectively.

Although the men’s team will feel the impact of Conley’s absence, junior attacker Daniel Bucaro, last season’s leader in goals and points, returns to the Hilltop this season. As a sophomore, Bucaro pieced together one of the best offensive performances in Georgetown’s history, tallying 40 goals and 13 assists to record 53 points.

Captain and senior midfielder Craig Berge will quarterback the men’s offense. Berge combined 14 goals with 12 assists for 26 points in 2017. Both Bucaro and Berge were unanimously named to the Preseason All-Big East Team last week by a vote of all the coaches in the conference.

On the other side of the ball, senior goaltender Nick Marrocco will stand in the cage for the men. Last season, Marrocco started in 12 of 14 games and made 131 saves for a save percentage of .504. Also returning is Head Coach Kevin Warne, who is going into his sixth season with the team. He ranks second among Georgetown lacrosse head coaches, with 22 career wins.

The men have a long road ahead of them this year to achieve a berth in the NCAA tournament — a feat they have not achieved since 2007. However, if they can pick up a few wins against top-ranked teams, this year could be the year the men’s lacrosse team returns to greatness. The women are prepared to build on last year’s success and go deep into the Big East tournament and beyond.

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