The No. 8 Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (5-2, 0-0 Big East) has never lost to Cincinnati (4-2, 0-0) and hopes to keep it that way when it opens Big East play against the Bearcats on Friday.

Because the Hoyas have been a dominant presence in the Big East for the last decade, the Blue and Gray have acquired the team-to-beat reputation — and the heightened expectations that go along with the territory. Despite the added pressure, Head Coach Ricky Fried said that his team doesn’t shy away from the attention.

“We’re actually excited to be in the Big East [season] because now, in some ways, the target is on our back as a team that has owned the Big East for 10 of the last 12 years,” Fried said. “So it’s more of a challenge to make sure we play to our capability and we focus on ourselves because everyone else is going to be shooting for us.”

An additional challenge will be dealing with the physicality Cincinnati’s squad. Coming off a two-game winning streak against Presbyterian and Liberty, the Bearcats certainly have momentum. Cincinnati also tallied an impressive 22 goals in their last game while giving up only six, displaying an organized attack and a solid defense.

While scouting the Bearcats, Fried identified two aspects of the Bearcats’ game that could pose a challenge for the Hoyas.

“They are very structured on the offensive end of the field because they do only a couple of things and they try to do them really well,” Fried Said. “Their athleticism stands out in the sense that they get up and down the field well — they want to push the ball in transition.”

The Hoyas are coming off last week’s 17-11 loss to North Carolina, but after a strong practice Wednesday afternoon, the team is looking to rebound against Cincinnati before facing another Big East rival, No. 20 Louisville (7-1, 0-0), on Sunday.

Louisville entered the national rankings for the first time this week after defeating Drexel 9-8 on Sunday, and as Fried points out, the Cardinals will be eager to make the most of their last season competing in the Big East.

“This is their last opportunity to compete in the Big East as well, so I know they are going to be hungry to play,” Fried said.

The Blue and Gray have also never lost to Louisville, but between the Cardinals and the Bearcats, the former will definitely pose the bigger challenge for the Hoyas.

“I’ll probably watch film tonight on [Louisville], but they are a quality team. They have had some big wins and they are playing well together,” said Fried.

For the Hoyas, the emphasis remains on the mental aspects of the game, something Fried says can be a struggle for the team. Running drills in which the players zero in on specific skills instead of focusing on the drill as a whole helps them pay attention to the details.

Executing the finer points of the game is key, and Fried is optimistic.

“If we can [focus on the details] on a consistent basis, then we’ll do well.”

The Hoyas face off against Cincinnati at 4 p.m. today and against Louisville at 1 p.m. Sunday. Both games will be played at MultiSport Facility.

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