Despite putting up a strong defensive front, the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (3-8, 1-1 Big East) could not hang on as it lost to No. 2 Florida (12-1, 3-0 Big East) 14-7 Saturday afternoon at Cooper Field.
Stacked with three 2016 Tewaaraton Award nominees in redshirt senior midfielder Nicole Giaziano, junior midfielder Mollie Stevens and junior defender Caroline Fitzgerald, the Gators are not short of individual talent and athleticism.
According to Head Coach Ricky Fried, Georgetown’s strategy was to limit Florida’s possession and play a settled game on both ends of the field.
“I think defensively we actually did a good job of not giving them transition opportunities, so there were some positive things to draw from that,” Fried said.
While the stats show a tight race in 50-50 possession battles between Florida’s 17 ground balls to Georgetown’s 16, the Hoyas did not capitalize on a handful of opportunities.
“It was frustrating,” senior defender Natalie Miller said. “We just needed to be tougher and run through them, but overall we did play really solid defense with our zone.”
On the other end of the field, senior attack and co-captain Corinne Etchison led the Hoyas’ offensive effort with two goals and one assist. Her free position goal early in the first half cut the Gators’ lead to just one.
A total of 14 Florida turnovers and 11 draw controls in Georgetown’s favor allowed the Hoyas to spark a bit of a comeback after the Gators took an 8-2 lead at halftime. However, when it came to controlling the pace and finding the net, the Hoyas’ second half push was not enough.
“Offensively, we didn’t do a very good job of winning our 1-v-1 matchups, and our shooting wasn’t very good, but I think the biggest deterrent to the whole game was our clearing. We gave them too many possessions and forced our defense to play too long on the defensive end of the field,” Fried said.
Even though the Hoyas made errors offensively, they learned what they specifically need to correct moving forward into future games.
“The positive takeaways are that we’re making errors that are correctable,” Fried said. “It’s not that we have to do anything dramatically different, and that’s a positive to me because it’s not that we aren’t athletic enough or skilled enough. We just need to execute better.”
According to Fried, it is simply a matter of focus and commitment that begins with his senior players. Based on all of their contributions on both sides of the field for the Hoyas, those senior starters will undoubtedly be co-captains Etchison, senior midfielder Kristen Bandos and senior defender Kassandra Bowling.
“Having a lot of younger players on the field, it’s important to make them feel comfortable. A lot of [players] look towards us as seniors to help them and direct them, so they know what to do. I’m just trying to guide them and make their job easier so they can focus on playing,” Etchison said.
Despite the loss, the Hoyas see some benefits of competing against not only some the best teams in the conference, but also in the entire country. Miller said such matchups help the Blue and Gray understand what components of its game need the most work when preparing for future competitions.
“In some ways it’s a reality check on how much work we need to put in during practice,” Miller said.
“We’ve had a tough schedule, but there’s a reason why we have [it] the way we [do]. We want to compete against the best and not worry about what our win and loss record is, just about who we’re competing against and how we’re performing on a regular basis,” Fried said.
According to Etchison, facing nationally ranked teams helps Georgetown measure its own progress and skill set.
“We’ve already played No. 1 Maryland (11-0, 1-0 Big Ten) too, and playing these top teams just shows [us] where [we] stand in those ranks. It really exposes [our] weaknesses, so we know what we need to work on coming into this week before Villanova,” Etchison said.
Georgetown’s next game is set for 7 p.m. against Villanova (3-10, 1-2 Big East) at Cooper Field on Wednesday evening.
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