With three seconds left in the game, No. 16/15 Georgetown (9-8) held the ball behind the Syracuse goal. Trailing by one goal, all the Hoya’s needed to do was score to send the Big East women’s lacrosse semi-final matchup against No. 2/2 Syracuse’s (16-2) to overtime. Midfielder Hannah Franklin received the pass, but failed to get a shot off as the Orange outlasted the Hoyas in a defensive grudge-match, 7-6 in the Carrier Dome on Thursday.
The last time these two teams met in mid-April, a combined 33 goals were score. This time around, offense took a backseat and the defense prevailed for both teams.
“We didn’t have our best offensive game today,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “I thought the defense was our strongpoint today. They were under a lot of pressure.”
Usually boasting a high-powered, fast-paced offense, the Orange failed to score a goal until the 8:03 mark in the first half. Georgetown jumped out to an early 3-0 lead off multiple patient offensive possessions.
“I think we kind of got lost in the beginning," said sophomore Alyssa Murray. "They would hold it for long periods of time and then we would just go right away and not give our defense a break. But after awhile I think we got the hang of it.”
The Orange needed something to ignite them, or risk losing to a team they annihilated less than a month ago. Murray offered the perfect lightening rod, scoring with 8 minutes left in the half off a free position play.
“Sarah Holden did a really good job of drawing the double team and dumping it back out towards me so when they turned I was ready to shoot and that's how they drew the foul,” Murray said. “After that it was just time to bury it and put it in the back of the net.”
A minute and a half later, the Orange scored again, this time from junior Bridget Daley, who also scored off a free position play.
Forty-one seconds later, junior Michele Tumulo recorded SU’s third goal in under two minutes. Suddenly, the three goal deficit that the Orange had fallen into had been erased before the first half even ended.
“I don’t think we were too concerned about three goals,” Gait said. “We score in runs and throughout the year we’ve scored a lot of goals so we knew we could put some goals on the scoreboard and we did that.”
The Hoyas responded and broke the tie with 2:51 remaining in the first period. They would go into halftime leading the Orange 4-3.
While the opening of the first half was all Hoyas, the opening of the second half was all Orange. After Holden scored with 25:17 remaining in the game, Murray tallied her second goal of the night at the 23:24 mark to give the Orange their first lead of the game. Katie Webster then tallied another goal to shift the momentum to SU, who was now up 6-4.
Both teams traded goals as the game progressed, but Georgetown was able to come within one of the Syracuse lead with 1:24 remaining in the game. With Syracuse up 7-6, all the Orange needed to do was keep possession until the clock ran out.
But with 50 seconds left in the game, SU turned the ball over to the Hoyas, who were unable to score before time expired, leading to the 7-6 win for the Orange and chance to play Loyola in the Big East Championship.
“I thought our players responded well when it was a close game,” Gait said. “Mistakes were made both ways, but we made the plays when we needed to. We stuck together and held on for a nice W.”