After a tough one-goal loss to St. Joseph’s last weekend, the Georgetown field hockey team (2-11, 0-3 Big East) heads to the Empire State this weekend to take on Syracuse (11-2, 3-0 Big East) and Cornell (5-6, 0-3 Ivy League).

Last Sunday at the William I. Jacobs Recreational Complex at American University, Georgetown and St. Joe’s played neck-and-neck in a defensive battle all afternoon. The only blemish against the Hoyas came just eight minutes into the second half, as St. Joe’s freshman forward Jordan Martin followed up a rebound with a goal. The Blue and Gray battled for the rest of the game, but could not capitalize on their offensive efforts and lost an excruciatingly close game.

“No loss is easy to accept, especially in a close game,” senior defender and co-captain Ai Nishino said. “However, what I love about my team is that we stick together, look at what we did right and what we did wrong. Every game is an opportunity to grow and learn.”

The second half of the St. Joe’s game showcased an invigorated Blue and Gray as they had an increased number of chances to score — a difference that made Head Coach Tiffany Marsh excited.

“We played a tough defensive game, and made key changes in the second half,” Head Coach Tiffany Marsh said. “Those changes created more scoring opportunities for us. We’re looking forward to advancing those improvements next weekend against Syracuse and Cornell.”

The first of this weekend’s matchups pits Georgetown against formidable Big East rival Syracuse. Syracuse boasts a potent scoring attack led by junior forward Kelsey Millman and senior forward Heather Susek. Syracuse is on an eight-game winning streak in which they have scored an incredible 31 goals.

“We recognize that Syracuse is a good team with great players,” Nishino said. “We respect their skill. We are focusing on what we do best — playing together and focusing on executing our fundamental skills.”

Georgetown has lost eight straight games and has surrendered 35 goals in the process. The Hoyas’ defense will need to bounce back from last Sunday’s performance, when they allowed 19 shot attempts, 10 of which were on target.

“We’ve prepared since August for our Big East games,” senior midfielder and co-captain Kalli Krumpos said. “If we can execute the aspects of the game under our control and play the way we want to, we will have a successful weekend.”

Nishino and Krumpos both feel that practices have been sharp this past week and that the entire team is focused on the weekend ahead.

“Playing a Big East game always comes with a little bit more pressure, but it has been a productive week at practice and we’re excited to play under the lights at Syracuse,” Krumpos said.

“The Syracuse game is always a big game for us,” Nishino said. “Especially because it’s a team in the Big East, we know how important the game is. We’re all focused on the upcoming weekend.”

After battling the Orange, the Hoyas will make the hour drive south to take on the Big Red. On paper, this game has the potential to be great, as both teams appear to be evenly matched and similarly skilled. The winner will be the team that capitalizes on its scoring opportunities, since both sides have struggled to put the ball in the net this season. Fans should expect a tight battle all afternoon.

“In order to have a successful weekend, we need to make sure the team stays on the same page and stays together, both on and off the field,” Nishino said.

The Syracuse game gets underway Friday at 6 p.m. at J.S. Coyne Stadium in Syracuse, N.Y. The Hoyas will then have a day off before playing Cornell on Marsha Dodson Field in Ithaca, N.Y., on Sunday at noon.

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