Men’s Lacrosse | Hoyas Fall to Denver in Big East Finals

After a victory in the semifinals over Marquette and a hard-fought battle in the championship game, the second-seeded No. 12 Georgetown men’s lacrosse team (10-6, 4-1 Big East) took second place in the Big East tournament after dropping a 16-8 decision to top-seeded No. 3 Denver (13-2, 5-0 Big East) on Saturday.

On Thursday night, Georgetown defeated third-seeded Marquette (10-6, 3-2 Big East) 12-8. An early scoring surge put the Hoyas up 4-0 at the end of the first quarter, and they were able to hold onto the lead through the rest of the game. Senior attack Bo Stafford and freshman midfielder Craig Berge led the offense with three goals apiece, and seven different Hoyas scored in the victory.

Senior midfielder Anthony Heaton had arguably the best performance of his career at the face-off X during Thursday’s game, coming up with 16-of-22 face-offs.

“I’m really proud of our seniors,” Head Coach Kevin Warne said to GUHoyas after the game. “I think everybody had a hand in today’s win, especially Anthony Heaton, who stepped up at the X. Time of possession was a big factor today and it allowed us to advance to Saturday.”

Georgetown’s defense was crucial in the victory; the Hoyas held the Golden Eagles to just 24 shots, and freshman goalie Nick Marrocco recorded 12 saves.

The Hoyas weren’t able to keep the momentum going on Saturday; for the second time this season, Georgetown struggled immensely at the faceoff X against Denver’s freshman midfielder and face-off specialist Trevor Baptiste, who currently leads the nation with a .725 faceoff win percentage and holds the NCAA record for most single-season face-off wins by a freshman. During Georgetown’s conference opener against Denver on March 28, Baptiste came up with 25-of-26 face-offs; he found similar success on Saturday, winning 19-of-25

Despite its struggle for possession at the X, the Georgetown offense put up a solid first half effort and only trailed 10-6 at halftime. However, the Hoyas lost significant momentum in the second half, winning only one face-off during the remainder of the game and scoring only two goals between the third and fourth quarters.

The Pioneer offense turned in a particularly efficient performance; Denver outshot Georgetown 39-29 in the effort, and sophomore attack Connor Cannizzaro, the Big East’s leading scorer, and senior attack Wesley Berg, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year, combined for nine goals and four assists.

Denver is still undefeated in Big East play since joining the conference in 2014 and won the conference championship for the second consecutive season. The Pioneers earned the fourth overall seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

After the game’s conclusion, Berge earned All-Big East Tournament Team honors, and Marrocco was named to the all-tournament team, recording 20 saves over the course of the tournament.

The loss marked Georgetown’s final game of the 2015 season; the Hoyas were not chosen during Sunday’s selections for the NCAA national tournament. However, that does not diminish the many successes that the Hoyas enjoyed throughout their season. Their individual accomplishments were recognized by the Big East’s postseason accolades, which honored seven members of the Georgetown program.

Warne earned the Coach of the Year award, and Marrocco and Stafford earned All-Big East First Team honors. In addition, sophomore midfielder Charlie Ford, sophomore defender Michael Mayer, freshman midfielder Craig Berge and senior attack and co-captain Reilly O’Connor were named to the All-Big East Second Team.

The future is bright for the program, as a number of promising players will return next season, including Marrocco, Ford, Mayer and Berge. In addition, the Hoyas will welcome a promising recruiting class, featuring attack Dan Bucaro. Bucaro, who hails from Ward Melville High School on Long Island, was ranked as the No. 3 recruit in the nation by Inside Lacrosse.

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