Marquette‘s defense held Georgetown to just two goals in the final 37 minutes of Saturday’s game, but unfortunately one of those goals came during overtime, giving the Hoyas the 9-8 win over MU. The Golden Eagles are now 9-7 on the season overall and 5-3 in Big East play, and thus still somehow short of clinching a conference tournament berth.
MU actually had possession first at the start of overtime thanks to Grace Gabriel’s game-high fifth draw control of the game. It seemed that the Golden Eagles were intent on being careful with the ball and using as much of the 90 second shot clock as they needed to advance the ball within shooting range of the net. That led to Georgetown being able to trap up Alex Gambacorta and force a turnover. They got a clearance, they got a foul for a clean restart, and Taylor Gebhardt spun away from a Marquette double team to find a clear shooting lane to the near post to beat Horning.
Taylor Gebhardt scores the OT golden goal to punch the postseason ticket for @HoyasWLax #BIGEASTwlax pic.twitter.com/ibEa2Hb5pC— BIG EAST Champs (@BIGEASTchamps) April 21, 2018
That, kids, is a bummer of major proportions. It was a great shot in a hard to stop spot, and even if it wasn’t, blame can not be put on goalie Julianna Horning here. When you make 19 saves, including 11 in the second half while allowing just one goal in regulation after halftime, you are absolved from letting in the overtime game winner. We don’t even get to overtime if not for Horning making all those saves, none more important that this free position stop with just seconds remaining in regulation:
WHO ELSE?!? With 6 seconds left, @jules_horning makes the stop on the Natalia Lynch FPA for her 19th save and we're heading to OVERTIME in D.C.! pic.twitter.com/JS1wHgLCwN— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteWLax) April 21, 2018
Natalia Lynch had the shot coming straight down Broadway, but Horning made the stop look easy to preserve the tie.
The first 20 minutes or so did not make this game look easy for the Golden Eagles. The Hoyas jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes as Lynch recorded a goal and an assist, and before another four minutes went by, GU was up 4-1. Caroline Frock’s unassisted goal with 10:05 left before halftime made it a 6-2 ballgame, and things were not looking very shiny for Marquette.
This is lacrosse, though, and sometimes things change quickly. Marquette answered with goals from Logan Dobratz, Allison Lane, and Charlotte McGuire over the next four minutes, and suddenly it was a one goal game. Much tighter than people were expecting at that point, even though Georgetown got one back with 5:30 left in the half to mark the score at 7-5 at the break.
It seemed like we might have been in for a shootout to a certain exten5 after 30 minutes of action, but that’s when both teams went into lockdown mode. The second half shot totals matched the first half exactly — 14 for Marquette, 18 for Georgetown — but both goalies were resolute in their tasks. Horning had the aforementioned 11 saves to shove her to a program record and the best saves mark in the Big East this season, while Halle Chomo, her GU counterpart, made three saves while letting in three goals to allow MU to tie the game on this goal from Megan Menzuber with 7:21 to go.
ALL TIED AGAIN! @catesoc kept the play alive with the groundball and found Menzuber, who buried it! #WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/KWrMMqJ5E2— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteWLax) April 21, 2018
That goal woke up the Georgetown defense in a big way, as Marquette managed just one shot the rest of the way. As was the case against Denver on Wednesday, turnovers were a major point of concern. MU gave up 19 turnovers in the game against just nine even from Georgetown, and 10 of those giveaways came as Marquette was outscoring Georgetown 3 to 1. I don’t mean “at a rate of 3 to 1,” like it’s actually 9-3 or something. The first two came quickly, with Lane knotting the game at seven goals each with 24 minutes left to play, and a goal from GU’s Michael Bruno set the stage for Menzuber’s tying goal later on.
While Horning’s play was the most notable defensive stand of the game, we can’t really ignore what the Hoyas did to shut down Grace Gabriel. Georgetown held the most prolific goal scorer in the Big East without a point in this one, even though Gabriel did fire off eight shots along the way. She now has just one goal in her last three games, although that does include getting disqualified due to yellow cards in the first half against Florida.
It wasn’t just denying good looks at the net that went well for Georgetown’s defense. For the second time in as many games, the Golden Eagles struggled with ball control, turning it over 19 times against just nine giveaways for the Hoyas. Even worse, it was mostly unforced errors by Marquette as Georgetown recorded just six caused turnovers in the game.
Up Next: I hope y’all like drama. Marquette closes out the regular season on Saturday by hosting Connecticut. The Golden Eagles will lock up the first Big East tournament bid in program history with a win over the Huskies. There’s still a path to the tourney with a loss, but I believe that would require UConn to lose their game on Sunday against Vanderbilt. Connecticut is 7-8 on the season and 3-4 in Big East play pending their Sunday result. One final ominous note: Marquette has never beaten Connecticut in five previous tries, four of which were in Storrs and not Milwaukee.