FIELD HOCKEY | Georgetown Aims for Upset Over Syracuse
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 23:10
The Georgetown field hockey team (2-14, 0-4 Big East) will take on No. 3 Syracuse (13-1, 4-0 Big East) today at 3 p.m. in College Park, Md., in its last home game of the year.
With three games left in the regular season, the Hoyas still have the opportunity to surpass their three-win total from last year. Upsetting the Orange at home would be a thrilling but unlikely way to earn their first conference win and third win overall.
“We have seen the level of play,” Head Coach Tiffany Marsh said. “We know what to expect in terms of the level of hockey we are going to be facing and I think that when we are playing these types of opponents we have to look at it as an opportunity.”
The Hoyas, dismantled, 6-0, at Fairfield on Sunday, are mired in a 10-game losing streak. Syracuse, coming off a 4-1 victory over No. 13 Stanford, has defeated the Blue and Gray each of the last four years, including an 11-1 trouncing in upstate New York last year.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to change things up dramatically just because we are playing a different team,” Marsh said. “It will throw us off our game. We just need to do what we do well and do it well during the game.”
Georgetown will have a lot on its hands with the potent Orange offense, led by forward Alyssa Manley. The freshman is one of eight Syracuse players named to the Big East Honor Roll this year. The Hoyas will also have to slow down senior forward Kelsey Millman, who is near the top in conference standings for points, goals and assists.
The Hoyas will also be up against a strong Syracuse defense. The Blue and Gray, shut out for the first time in 10 contests at Fairfield, will be facing arguably the best goalie in the Big East in senior Leann Stiver. Syracuse leads the Big East in shutouts — with eight in 14 games — and goals against average.
“To be honest, we have kind of had a week where we have just gotten to have fun and play,” Marsh said. “Today was a more serious practice, saying how we are going to handle certain situations that they throw at us.”
Although Senior Day was celebrated on Oct. 7 against Cornell in a 3-1 loss, this game will hold special meaning as the last home game for the seniors.
“This is the first time we have had a senior class of a significant number of people,” senior forward Annie Wilson said. “It is special to realize how long we have been together, such a large group of people, and we are able to play again for the last time.”
Wilson, who leads the team in goals, assists and points, is the Hoyas’ major offensive contributor and is joined on the roster by nine other seniors.
“This is our last home game but it is not our senior day, which makes it a lot easier to focus on the actual game and the opponent,” Wilson said. “But I think that everyone is getting a little reflective on not only this season but [over the past] four years and thinking about how we have grown as people and a program in four years.”
Other Georgetown seniors include goalkeeper Briana Pereira, who currently leads the Big East in saves and saves per game, and midfielder Claire Mittermiller, who is among the team leaders in shots and goals.
“I think for seniors, especially, it’s been a long season, but everyone still wants to put it all out there and have a good time” Mittermiller said.
According to Marsh, the last two weeks have been emotional, but today will be particularly nostalgic.
“It is a tough thing when you kind of get to the end. You do look back on the four years, you’ve put a lot of time into [and] the people around you have become your closest friends,” Marsh said. “I think [the seniors] are just trying to soak it all in right now.”
The Hoyas will take on the Orange at 3 p.m. this afternoon.