When time expired on Sunday afternoon in South Bend, the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team found themselves in a very familiar position—down just one goal against a top-25 team.
The 7-6 loss at the hands of No. 2 Notre Dame came as a huge blow to the Hoyas and their NCAA Tournament chances, as they have yet to notch a signature win over a top team.
“I’m a little concerned about the frame of mind of my guys right now,” head coach Dave Urick said. “I was extremely impressed by the way they prepared for the game physically and mentally. … It just didn’t go our way.”
The game was a defensive struggle, with the score tied at five apiece entering the final quarter. While the Irish struck first in the fourth, junior Zack Angel responded for the Hoyas with a running shot two minutes later to level the score. The game went scoreless for the next six minutes until the Hoyas were penalized, giving Notre Dame their first man-advantage of the game. The Irish soon capitalized, scoring the eventual game winner with just over two minutes left in the contest.
While the defeat makes the prospect for an NCAA Tournament bid bleak, it is not impossible. Their tough strength of schedule may give them the benefit of the doubt. Out of Georgetown’s five losses on the season, four have come to teams ranked in the top four in the country.
But the Hoyas will need help from other teams if they expect to play postseason lacrosse. The biggest factor that may doom Georgetown is the Big East’s lack of a conference tournament. Most other major conferences have one, with the winner awarded that conference’s automatic NCAA bid.
“We’re going to have to win out, that’s pretty obvious now,” Urick said.
The Hoyas have four games remaining, three of which are against teams ranked in the top 20. For comparison, last year the Hoyas ended up just out of the NCAA Tournament and had no wins against a top-20 team, meaning that a strong finish could put Georgetown squarely back in the NCAA Tournament discussion.
The first of the Hoyas’ final four games will be this Saturday at home under the Multi-Sport Field lights against Loyola Maryland, a team that has given the Hoyas trouble the past few seasons. In last year’s game, Loyola dominated in face-offs, leading to a Georgetown loss that barely saw the Hoyas touch the ball in the second half.
“It’s going to be a test of character and resilience against Loyola,” Urick said. “We put ourselves in a position where we have to play our way in, and we can’t afford to lose any more games.”