After three consecutive losses in April, the Georgetown men’s lacrosse team traveled up to Syracuse University to take on the Orange. With their last win against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome coming in 2006, the Hoyas wanted to break both winless streaks.
This being the second-to-last game of the season and last away game, the team successfully wrapped up the season on a strong note. The first half was quiet offensively for both teams, and the halftime score was only 3-2 in favor of the Orange. But after the half, Georgetown went on a four-goal run that was unanswered until Syracuse scored two quick goals not long after the start of the fourth quarter. The final quarter witnessed many of the games highlights, including three goals by junior attack Brian Casey, six face-off wins by senior Brian Tabb, and an impressive defensive performance overall by the Hoyas. They held a 10-8 lead for the final three minutes to finally defeat the No. 14-ranked Syracuse Orange.
Leading this late-in-the-game defensive stand was senior goalie Matt Winter, who had a total of 12 saves and was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week for his performance. He shut down the Orange in the final minutes, with numerous saves that could have allowed Syracuse enough momentum to take the lead.
This game was important to Winter not only because it ended a three-game losing streak, but also because it was his last chance to face rival Syracuse. It was also his first Big East Player of the Week honor for his time at Georgetown. “It’s a great honor, especially with so many excellent players in the Big East,” he said of the accomplishment.
Winter attributes the win against Syracuse to several key factors, many of which the team was not able to capitalize on in much of their game play this season. The squad put together an effective combination of offensive energy and defensive strength that allowed players to take the edge and not let the Orange battle their way back. Although their record will not get them into the Big East playoffs, the team has enough fight to finish the last two games with the potential that Head Coach Dave Urick has seen all season.
“On the defensive side, it was our excellent play from our team defense that really limited Syracuse to take contested shots,” said Urick. “Our offense carried us in the second half, as well as, Brian Tabb at the face-off X.”
For a team that remains at a .500 winning percentage in the Big East this season, defeating the nationally ranked and previously 3-1 Syracuse was clearly a big win. It brings the team back for the final game of the season on its home field with the confidence necessary to close the season on a high note. The team hopes to keep up the strong defensive play for its last stand, as well as give the seniors a memorable last performance.
“Whenever you travel up to the Carrier Dome to play Syracuse, it’s a game you always want to win, regardless of your overall record,” said Winter. “Not many people beat Syracuse on their home field, and it felt great to accomplish that for our program.”
With 16 seniors graduating this year, tomorrow’s home game against Rutgers will be the last for nearly a third of the current squad. For Winter, this will be the only opportunity to back up his top-notch performance last week, and he is looking forward to the match. Most of his playing time happened this year, and capping off the season with a commanding win would make for a satisfying Senior Night.
“I am really excited to finish our season off at home on Senior Night,” he said. “It will be a great night for our team to show how we have improved throughout the year.”
Looking back on the season, Georgetown did not meet its expectations of making a run to the Big East tournament. A win tomorrow would mean finishing with a winning record for the season, but the original goals were set much higher. Next year will be a telling year for the program, as the Hoyas recruit and develop current players in hopes of building a more successful finish.
“I think all of us are pretty upset about not making the Big East Tournament, as well as the NCAA Tournament. I know the guys next year will work extremely hard to get Georgetown back into postseason play.”