2726297936Having just fallen out of the rankings and coming off two straight conference losses, the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team found itself with a chance to turn things around on Saturday afternoon in its match against current Big East leader Notre Dame (9-1, 4-0 Big East). For one half, at least, the Hoyas didn’t back down from the challenge.

Then the second half started.

Holding a big lead at the break, the Blue and Gray (5-6, 1-3 Big East) came completely undone in the second half, allowing six unanswered goals from the Fighting Irish and letting a four-goal advantage dissolve into a two-goal deficit. Georgetown eventually dropped its third straight game, 9-7.

“I think you’ve got to give Notre Dame credit. They never lost their poise, [and] they showed why they’re one of the better teams in the country. They did what they needed to do,” said Georgetown Head Coach Dave Urick. “We just didn’t close the deal. We had opportunities, [but we] didn’t get it done.”

Urick could not have asked for a better start to the game for his squad, which showed great energy in the early going and scrapped its way to a 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. Three straight Georgetown goals in the second quarter gave the Hoyas a surprising 5-1 lead halfway through.

“I think that it’s indicative of what they’re capable of,” Urick said of the team’s play in the first half, which was arguably the best 30 minutes of the season for the Blue and Gray.

Urick speculated that the impressive effort may have continued if not for the intense heat coupled with a fairly shallow midfield rotation. Whatever the case may have been, a win was not meant to be for the Hoyas.After almost six scoreless minutes to start the third quarter, the Irish scored their second goal of the game to cut the deficit to 5-2, which marked the beginning of the end for the Hoyas. Another Notre Dame goal less than two minutes later left Georgetown clinging to a precarious two-goal advantage, and a defensive breakdown by the Hoyas led to a buzzer-beater that put the visitors down by only one heading into the final quarter.

Gone was the Georgetown team that had dominated long spells of possession in the first half thanks to its hustle, faceoff wins and forced turnovers. The team looked lost and seemingly in disbelief at its sharp turn of fortune.

“I think our offense did a great job in the first half [of] possessing the ball. You see what happens when we possess the ball: We went up 5-1 and were getting the stops we needed,” senior goalkeeper Matt Winter said. “[But] Notre Dame possessed the ball in the second half, slowly chipped away and took the lead.”

The Blue and Gray woke up a bit in the fourth with a pair of goals, but they still could not manage to keep up with the Irish, who tallied 5 in the final frame.

This second straight emotional loss, following an overtime heartbreaker against St. John’s, will be sure to sting. But with No. 14 Syracuse up next at the Carrier Dome, the team cannot afford to dwell on this loss for long.

Urick admitted that his upperclassmen were frustrated with the team’s effort and called on his seniors to step up as the season moves into the final two games. But for now, the Hoyas are focused on recovering and focusing on the impending match with their archrivals.

“We’ll have to take [Monday] off — I think that’s probably a given — and go back to work for obviously another good team next week,” Urick said.

The game against Syracuse is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m., with television coverage on ESPNU.

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