The Georgetown women’s lacrosse team returned to Cooper Field on Saturday in a conference matchup against the No. 14 Denver Pioneers. The No. 19 Hoyas looked to build on two consecutive blowout wins but ultimately could not handle the challenges of their first difficult test in conference play, falling 12-9.

The Blue and Gray (7-5, 1-1 Big East) got off to a quick start with senior midfielder Francesca Whitehurst striking first just 23 seconds into the half. Denver (10-2, 2-0 Big East) then traded two goals with Georgetown, as freshman attack Ali Diamond and junior attack Michaela Bruno stepped up to give the Hoyas a 3-2 lead. Following the back-to-back goals, the two teams went back and forth to finish the half with further scoring from Whitehurst and fellow senior, attack Taylor Gebhardt.

MARGARET FOUBERG/THE HOYA | Junior midfielder Natalia Lynch takes the ball downfield during the matchup against Denver on Cooper Field. Lynch contributed one assist and two shots on goal in the game.

After gaining a one-goal lead heading into halftime, Georgetown began to lose its steam. Following a goal from senior attack Morgan Ryan to begin the period, the Pioneers went on to an 8-1 run during the middle of the second half. With just 6:23 left on the clock, Denver had taken a commanding 12-7 lead. Despite goals from Bruno and Ryan in the final minutes, the lead would prove too large for the Blue and Gray to come back.

As a whole, the Hoyas and the Pioneers finished with 24 shots in total and 19 shots on goal. Georgetown also committed four fewer turnovers and picked up three more ground balls than the Denver. Despite remaining tall in cage, senior goalie Haelle Chomo made three fewer saves than her Denver counterpart. Denver also outperformed the Hoyas in the draw control, securing nine in comparison to Denver’s 14.

On offense, Whitehurst continued her outstanding senior campaign, finishing with two goals and two assists. She received help from the rest of the team’s veteran leadership with her fellow seniors Gebhardt and Ryan, who both finished with three points by the final whistle. Bruno also made her mark on the game, scoring two goals in the loss.

Head Coach Ricky Fried attributed the blown lead to a lack of execution and not capitalizing on the chances the team was given.

“Today was a matter of us executing better; I give them a lot of credit for playing hard and taking away passing lanes, but we’ve got to do a better job of finishing the opportunities we’re given,” Fried said in an interview with GUHoyas.

The women’s lacrosse team will look to rebound in another pivotal Big East matchup against Villanova in Philadelphia, Pa. on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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