WASHINGTON - The Georgetown University women’s lacrosse squad held on in the second half to defeat the No. 13/13 University of Denver Pioneers (12-3, 6-2 BIG EAST), 9-7, on Saturday at Cooper Field in GU’s home finale. With the victory the Hoyas improve to 9-7 overall and 7-1 in BIG EAST Conference play with one game remaining. Georgetown has already clinched a BIG EAST Championship berth.
“This was our first Top 20 win in a while, but the biggest thing for us is that we’ve improved even from just last week,” said Georgetown Head Coach Ricky Fried. “We’re going to take a lot of confidence into next week at Florida, but we can’t get too caught up in one win. We have to make sure we’re progressing if we want to continue to play.”
Sophomore attacker Morgan Ryan (Maplewood, N.J./Oak Knoll School) led the way with four goals and one assist, sophomore midfielder Francesca Whitehurst (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park Country School) managed one goal and four assists. Sophomore attacker Taylor Gebhardt (Baldwinsville, N.Y./C.W. Baker) rounded out the top three with two goals and one assist.
Georgetown outshot Denver, 24-21, and pulled in 12 draw controls to the Pioneers’ six. The Hoya defense forced 16 Denver turnovers and both keepers made eight stops apiece in the contest. Senior goalkeeper Maddy Fisher (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron) took the win in the cage for the Blue & Gray.
The Hoyas jumped out to a 3-0 lead as Ryan connected in the middle of the crease on the pass from Whitehurst. Minutes later, Whitehurst knocked down one of her own on a free position shot. Whitehurst continued to be involved feeding Gebhardt to make it 3-0 at 26:42.
Denver answered back with a pair of scores, but GU held the slight advantage for much of the first.
Following a scoring lull for both squads, junior midfielder Hannah Seibel (Hanover, N.H./Hanover) and Ryan managed back-to-back goals within less than a minute to move the Blue & Gray back ahead by three.
There was another drought as strong keeper play kept it scoreless until freshman attacker Michaela Bruno (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City) found junior midfielder Georgia Tunney (Towson, Md./Notre Dame Prep) with five minutes remaining in the half to make it 6-2. In the final minute of play, Ryan forced a turnover in the middle of the field, and found Gebhardt near the goal to add one more and make it 7-2 at the break.
Denver found the back of the net first scoring 10 minutes into the second half. They followed that up with another goal just a minute later to cut the lead to three, 7-4.
Despite a lack of scoring, the Hoya defense held onto the advantage. At 11:51, the GU offense added another as Whitehurst found Ryan in the middle and she buried it to make it a four-goal game. Whitehurst pulled in the ensuing draw control, and a foul on Ryan gave her the free position attempt. Ryan got past Denver keeper Maddy Stevenson to disrupt the Pioneers’ momentum.
Denver chipped away with three-consecutive goals to make it 9-7 with 7:39 remaining. With the Pioneers mounting a comeback, the Hoya defense stood strong for the remainder of the contest to hold on for the victory.
The Hoyas will close out the regular season on Saturday as the squad travels to Gainesville, Fla., to battle the No. 2/2 University of Florida Gators at 1 p.m. Live stats and a webstream will be available at www.GUHoyas.com.