The Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (7-5, 1-1 Big East) fell on Saturday afternoon to No. 18 Denver (10-2, 2-0 Big East) 12-9 at Cooper Field. Senior attacker Morgan Ryan finished the game with a hat trick for Georgetown, while Denver’s top three scorers, sophomore attacker Quintin Hoch-Bullen, sophomore attacker Bea Behrins, and senior attacker Julia Feiss finished with four, three, and three goals, respectively.
“This is the big conference rival,” head coach Ricky Fried said after the game. “We want to make sure we’re not looking too far ahead because we still have three conference games left, so we’ve got to focus on how we’re going to get better for those three games and not really focus on when we play Denver again because we have to earn the right to play them again.”
It was a cagey start to the game as both defenses clamped down early. It took over five minutes for senior attacker Taylor Gebhardt to get a shot off, and for the next five, Georgetown was dominant. Junior midfielder Liza Liotta forced a save from Denver junior goalkeeper Carson Gregg before senior midfielder Francesca Whitehurst converted on a free position shot in the 11th minute to open the scoring.
However, Denver’s offense would come to life, as Hoch-Bullen and Behrins both scored within the next two minutes to give Denver a 2-1 advantage. On the next possession, junior midfielder Natalia Lynch found freshman attacker Ali Diamond in space to even the scoring in the 15th minute, before Behrins picked up a yellow card in the 17th. The Hoyas couldn’t take advantage of the extra player, with Gebhardt firing a free position shot high before forcing a save from Gregg, but when junior midfielder Liza Liotta picked up a yellow card a couple minutes later, it was the Hoyas who held firm. Both goalkeepers made big saves on free position shots, but the Pioneers were sloppy with the ball, gifting junior attacker Michaela Bruno a goal in transition in the 22nd minute. Denver would answer two minutes later though, as Feiss made it 3-3. Gregg made a pair of impressive saves to keep it tied but could do nothing to prevent Whitehurst’s second goal once Gebhardt set her up right in front of Gregg in the 26th minute. Hoch-Bullen equalized seconds later with an inventive flick with her back to goal, but Gebhardt would have the last word in the half, taking contact in front of goal before bouncing home her free position shot with 1:22 to go until the break. There was a scramble in front of goal to end the half after Chomo made a save, but the Hoyas were able to escape into the break with a 5-4 lead.
The Hoyas were the better team offensively in the first half, getting off three more shots than the Pioneers, though they struggled with draw controls, losing 7-3.
“They beat us pretty consistently in [draw controls]. It’s hard to play defense for an extended period of time, and I think we gave up some drives that we typically don’t give up from the top,” Fried said. “We kept making the same mistakes and we didn’t make the adjustments on the field.”
Georgetown started the second half with Whitehurst teeing up Ryan for a goal in transition. Another transition opportunity earned a free position shot, but the Hoyas couldn’t convert, opening the door for a 4-0 Pioneers run starting in the 37th minute. Feiss got the first, before Hoch-Bullen slalomed through the defense to complete her hat trick and equalize. Sophomore attacker Eliza Radochonski scored within seconds before Feiss got her hat trick, forcing the Hoyas to call timeout with 19:13 to go.
Ryan cut the deficit to 8-7 in the possession immediately following the timeout, but Gregg denied the Hoyas a tie game, and Behrins converted a free position shot in the 46th minute to restore the Pioneers’ cushion. Hoch-Bullen added to the lead with another free position shot in the next minute, giving Denver a 10-7 lead. Gregg made another important save to keep the three-goal lead, and then senior midfielder Elizabeth Behrins scored as the shot clock expired to make it 11-7 in the 52nd minute. Behrins got back on the scoresheet with 6:23 to go to give the Pioneers a 12-7 lead, forcing another Georgetown timeout. Bruno fired low past Gregg once play resumed, but as the Hoyas pushed to cut the lead to three, Denver’s defense held firm and came up with big stops.
Ryan would eventually get her hat trick for Georgetown with a consolation goal, but the damage was already done as the Hoyas slumped to a fourth defeat in six games. The game ultimately finished even on shots with 24 apiece, but it was the Pioneers that were more clinical.
“We’ve got to finish the opportunities we’re given and execute to what we’re capable of doing,” Fried said.
The Hoyas take a break from conference play as they host Navy (9-2, 4-0 Patriot League) on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. ET. For live coverage of that game, as well as coverage of all Georgetown sports, follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter.