Everything was on the line on Saturday afternoon for the No. 15 Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (9-7, 5-3 Big East) on Senior Day against Rutgers (9-7, 4-4 Big East). And midway through the second half, it looked like the Hoyas’ season might just be slipping away, with their Big East — and likely NCAA — tournament hopes dashed on their own home field.

But the Blue and Gray refused to let that happen.

Three straight goals from freshman midfielder Caroline Tarzian helped the team claw back, tie things up, and finally take the lead with nine minutes left. A goal from junior midfielder Kelsi Bozel at the 3:24 mark iced it for the Hoyas, who won the ensuing draw control and spent the remaining time playing a flawless game of keep-away to run out the clock.

“I’m really just proud of the way we responded,” Head Coach Ricky Fried said. “We didn’t play our best game today, [we] had some mistakes, but I think we rallied around each other. And when it came [to] crunch-time, we really executed what we wanted to do, and that’s what makes me feel really good today.”

The early 3-0 deficit put Georgetown in a serious hole. But the Hoyas got two big goals — one fromTarzian and one from junior midfielder and Teewaraton Trophy finalist Sophia Thomas — to cut the lead to one. The two squads traded goals from there to close out the half, and Rutgers entered the break holding a 5-4 lead.

After the intermission, the Scarlet Knights managed to stretch that advantage to two at 7-5.

But when the going got tough, Tarzian and her fellow Hoyas got going.

“I think it was our time to step up,” senior co-captain Kelly Barnes said. “We had been kind of waiting all game, and I think we answered great. We brought it in at a timeout, and the whole team together really did answer.”

Tarzian was quick to stress that her individual success was a result of a team effort.

“I think that the opportunities I had were really well set up. I was open for most of the shots [and] really didn’t have to do much work, so it really wasn’t just me working—it was lot of our offense working together,” she said.

With the win, Georgetown secured the No. 4 seed in the Big East tournament, meaning they’ll take onarchrival Syracuse in the opening semifinal round.

The Carrier Dome was not kind to the Blue and Gray when they visited two weeks ago; the Orange doubled them up 22-11 in that contest. So with a healthy dose of respect for their opponents, theHoyas will try to bring more confidence to the game.

“We know they’re a very good team [and] have a lot of firepower,” Fried said. “[But] we also that we’re really good, and when we execute, we can play with anybody that we want to. It’s just a matter of making sure we’re focused mentally, being engaged physically, and making sure we’re focused on how we’re going to play the game as opposed to who we’re playing.”

There will be plenty of time for that intense preparation over the coming days, but after yesterday’s game Barnes and Tarzian kept bringing up another emotion: unbridled excitement.

“We’re really excited. We’re excited to get back up to Syracuse, the whole trip,” Barnes said, noting that the team was also looking forward to watching DVDs of the Fox TV hit series The O.C. on the bus ride there.

Upstate New York promises a radically different climate from that of Southern California, but the Hoyas will look to bring a sunny perspective to the Big East tourney as they hope to snag the conference’s automatic NCAA tournament bid.

The semifinal round of the tournament will start Thursday at 8:15 p.m. in Syracuse, N.Y. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

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