FILE PHOTO: CHRIS BIEN/THE HOYA Senior midfielder Erin Lovett kicked off scoring in both halves against Maryland.
Senior midfielder Erin Lovett kicked off scoring in both halves against Maryland.

With the season hanging in the balance this weekend as they compete against Rutgers, the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team couldn’t be faulted for being a bit distracted during Wednesday night’s game against out-of-conference foe and No. 5-ranked Maryland (17-3, 3-2 ACC). TheHoyas (8-7, 4-3 Big East) fell into a 12-3 halftime hole they could never dig themselves out of and went on to lose, 19-10, in College Park.

The Hoyas actually got off to a dream start, as senior midfielder Erin Lovett won the opening draw andsinglehandedly broke down the Terrapins’ defense to score an unassisted goal just 35 seconds into the game. The quick 1-0 lead she provided, however, would prove to be her team’s only one all night.

Over the next 15 minutes of the half, Maryland scored seven unanswered goals and then another five straight tallies sandwiched between Georgetown goals from freshman attack Caroline Tarzian and junior midfielder Sophia Thomas. The result was a tough nine-goal deficit for the Hoyas at the break.

“I thought in the first half we played very tentatively, and [Maryland is] very good, so when you play tentatively against a very good team that’s very athletic, you look even slower,” Georgetown Head Coach Ricky Fried said.

The Blue and Gray sharpened their play after the intermission and Lovett once again got her team on the board first. This time, though, Georgetown matched Maryland stride for stride, with each squad earning seven goals in the second half.

It was a confident performance that Lovett wished she had seen from her team in the first half.

“I think we just had to have the mentality going into the game that we had going into the second half, knowing that we could beat them and [that] we had the opportunities there for us,” Lovett said.

While disappointed in the loss, Fried also recognized that his team came out of the locker room well in the second period.

“[In the] second half, I thought we responded really well,” Fried said. “They played the same players, we played the same players pretty much, and we just played a little bit more aggressively [and] had a higher sense of urgency.”

Other than serving as some good experience against a top opponent, the game was fairly insignificant for the Blue and Gray, Fried said. The NCAA tournament is still on the table for Georgetown, but only if they win the Big East championship, for which they still need to qualify.

That is why Saturday’s game against the Scarlet Knights (9-6, 4-3 Big East) is so critical for theHoyas. The two teams will compete for the fourth and final seed in the conference tournament semifinals.

The game should be fairly evenly matched, especially because the personnel for both teams seems similar.

“[Rutgers is] midfield-oriented, similar to us,” Fried said. “They’re athletic, they have some good size, good speed. I think we probably have a little bit more depth […] in the midfield, and I think our defense is a little bit more athletic than theirs.”

One major area that really hurt Georgetown in its loss to Maryland was draw controls. The Terrapins dominated in the circle, snagging 23 of 31 draws en route to a huge possession advantage that limited the Hoyas’ offensive opportunities. If it is to beat Rutgers on Saturday, Georgetown must improve there.

But to Fried, the game won’t come down to talent or the x’s and o’s. Instead, it is going to come down to which team wants the win more.

“Honestly, I think it’s all mental; [it’s a question of] who’s going to show up and who’s going to be engaged the whole time,” Fried said. “And I think if we do that, we’ll be fine. If we don’t, it’s going to be a dogfight, and Rutgers is coming in here trying to get the same thing we are.”

With the championship berth on the line, this game is what these players have been waiting for all season: the winner moves on, the loser is gone.

“It’s the biggest game of our season. Whoever wins the game is going to the Big East Tournament, so it’s a [must-win],” said Lovett.

The opening draw is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at MultiSport Facility.

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