The Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (6-9, 4-2 Big East) will travel this Saturday to take on Temple (11-5, 3-3 Big East) in a matchup that will determine both teams’ postseason fates.
Georgetown’s success in conference play is good for third place in the current Big East standings, and Temple currently trails Georgetown, tied for fourth place with Marquette (6-10, 3-3 Big East). All three teams are still in the running to clinch one of the remaining two spots in the four-team conference tournament. No. 2 Florida (16-1, 7-0) and the University of Connecticut (12-3, 6-1), sitting in the top two spots, respectively, have already earned berths to the tournament.
Though a tournament appearance is on the line, senior attack and co-captain Corinne Etchison stressed that the team is breaking down the game into more immediate goals.
“Obviously it’s a must-win, but we just approach it like any other game. … [We are] just focusing on the fundamentals and the skills of what we’ve been working on all season,” Etchison said.
Though the Hoyas got out to a rocky start in the beginning of the season, losing four straight games to kick off their 2016 slate, they have turned things around during conference play. Four of Georgetown’s six season wins have come over conference rivals, including a decisive 18-7 rout of Villanova 4-13, 2-5 Big East) on April 13.
Head Coach Ricky Fried said that at this point in the season, Georgetown’s experience playing a tough series of opponents in the non-conference stretch is working in its favor, despite a 2-7 outcome.
“We play a really tough out-of-conference schedule, so we’re kind of hardened by that even though our record didn’t come out of it very strong,” Fried said. “The level that we play in the conference is not the same as it is out of the conference, so I think that builds some confidence for us, because we know we’re capable of playing at that level.”
A point of strength that Georgetown has developed over the course of the season is its depth on offense. The Hoyas have spread their points across their roster, with six players netting goals and five recording assists in the team’s most recent game against Marquette last Saturday.
“[Coach Fried] has always preached a seven-man offense, so we play with every person, everybody can score on anything,” Etchison said. “We have people we set up for certain things, but I think you can see if you look at the stats, we’re very balanced all over the attack. So I think that’s a good thing — anyone can score, and it’s just nice to know that you’re not relying on a couple people, you have threats all over the offensive end.”
Senior midfielder and co-captain Kristen Bandos continues to lead Georgetown on the offensive end, recording three goals and two assists between the team’s two games last week against UConn and Marquette. Bandos’ efforts earned her the Big East Midfielder of the Week recognition for the second time this season.
A balanced effort on offense is an important asset against a stingy Temple defense. Senior goalkeeper Jaqi Kakalecik currently ranks seventh nationally with a mere 6.66 goals against average, and the Owls aggressive defense has forced 120 turnovers.
On the offensive end, Temple boasts a quick-paced attack, recording a prolific 332 shots on goal to its opponents’ 208. Senior attack Brenda McDermott leads the Owls in points, tallying 24 goals and 20 assists this season.
Fried said the key to counteracting Temple will be maintaining possession and capitalizing on 50-50 opportunities.
“Temple doesn’t slow down the game, so draw control, rides and clears are going to be the points of emphasis for us, since they’re all possession-based. … If we force them to play catch-up a little bit, I think it will be tougher for them to actually play the game they want to play,” Fried said.
Ultimately, Georgetown is focused on controlling the pace and dictating the game on the offensive end.
“[Temple] make[s] a lot of teams indecisive about what they’re going to do, so our goal is just to make sure that we’re creating space and opportunities for ourselves and not so much reacting to how they’re playing, which, I think, is what happens to a lot of teams right now,” Fried said.
The race for the Big East tournament starts this Saturday. Georgetown and Temple are scheduled to face off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Philadelphia.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.