After two consecutive conference losses, the men’s lacrosse team has no respite from tough competition as the Hoyas prepare to host the No. 6 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (8-1, 3-0 Big East) Sunday in what promises to be a tough test for Georgetown.

The Blue and Gray (5-5, 1-2 Big East) lost to then-No. 13 Villanova last Wednesday, 15-7, in a one-sided affair. Georgetown followed that loss with a good effort against St. John’s but fell just short in overtime, 13-12. The two losses dropped the formerly No. 20 Hoyas out of the rankings, but senior captain and midfielder Gerry Reilly is optimistic about the squad heading into Sunday.

“The team was obviously disappointed after that loss. But we let it soak in, took two days off and came back ready to work on Tuesday,” Reilly said. “Like coach says, you’ve got to put it in the rearview mirror. At this point, as far as postseason chances and the Big East tournament go, our fate is kind of in our own hands, and it starts Sunday with Notre Dame.”

Fate will certainly need to be on Georgetown’s side this Sunday against Notre Dame’s stifling defense, which has allowed an average of only 5.3 goals per game en route to seven straight wins. The Hoyaslook to combat the challenge with a balanced offensive attack, as the team has five players with double-figure goal totals on the season. Head Coach Dave Urick stressed the importance of offensive patience against Notre Dame.

“They’re a very good defensive team that doesn’t give up a lot of goals, and we’re going to need to take advantage of every opportunity we get and make sure we shoot the ball well,” Urick said. “We [need] to make sure we’re taking quality shots as well. We can’t afford to not take a good quality shot, which means there has to be some patience involved as well.”

Senior midfielder Zack Angel, who has scored 15 goals on the year, junior midfielder Brian Casey and junior attack Travis Comeau, who each have tallied 14, lead the Hoyas’ offensive attack. Casey also generates offense for his teammates by his 13 assists, second only to junior attack Zac Guy’s 15. A lingering forearm injury has caused Angel to miss two starts this season, but Urick believes he will be ready to go after receiving more treatment today.

“I tell you one thing: He’s a tough kid. I’m sure he’ll play. How effective he’s going to be is another issue,” Urick said. “He didn’t score in the [St. John’s] game, and he’s used to scoring three goals a game. But having him out there certainly helps us because they put the long-stick middie on Zack, which gives some other guys a little more room to operate. I think he’s going to be farther ahead this week than he was last week.”

Another concern for Georgetown is its defense, which has struggled as of late. It has allowed 28 goals in the past two games and an average of 10.4 per game on the season — last in the Big East. Reilly attributes the recent struggle to a lack of communication.

“A lot of defense, particularly at the collegiate level, is communication,” Reilly said. “I felt like with Villanova and St. John’s, a lot of times we weren’t on the same page. We’ve really taken a hard look at those films. It comes down to communication. That’s something we really emphasized this week.”

That emphasis certainly showed in the closing minutes of practice yesterday, as the players were yelling out to each other and enthusiasm abounded. That seems to bear out Reilly’s insistence that no nobody has given up on this season.

“I don’t think anybody is putting their head down, and I think everyone is coming out to work,” Reilly said. “At the end of the day, we just love playing the game. Every day we are working harder, getting better, staying the course and believing in each other. If we do that, everything else will take care ofitself.”

The game this Sunday is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Multi-Sport Field.

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