March 17, 2012

Black's Kick Save Preserves Georgetown Upset of UNC

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com

WASHINGTON — A strong defensive effort capped by an amazing kick save from sophomore goalie Barb Black lifted the No. 15 Georgetown women's lacrosse team to a 9-8 comeback win Saturday over previously undefeated No. 2 North Carolina.

"At that point, it was all or nothing," Black said. "Free positions haven't been a strong subject for me this season, but I knew we had a one-goal lead. At that point, we had nothing else to lose. What else can you do but play your best?"

Trailing 8-5 midway through the second half, the Hoyas (3-3) clamped down defensively and went on a four-goal run, capped by an unassisted goal from Sophia Thomas with 2:46 remaining to take a 9-8 lead. Sophomore midfielder Kelyn Freedman grabbed the final draw, and Georgetown held the ball for more than two minutes in its defensive end.

Black attempted to heave the ball upfield with about 30 seconds to play, but North Carolina broke the clear, and with just 13 seconds to play, Tar Heel senior attacker Becky Lynch got a free position with the chance to force overtime. Lynch shot low but Black (six saves) got a foot on it, sending the ball bouncing off the goal post and then out of the goal circle to seal the Hoyas' first win over a ranked program this season.

"The defense was not conservative – it was just smart," said Georgetown head coach Ricky Fried. "We made them earn the goals they got."

The Tar Heels entered the game scoring an average of 15.75 goals per game. Sophomore attacker Abbey Friend (three goals) opened with back-to-back goals to put North Carolina up 2-0 early. Both came off fast breaks, which the Georgetown defense set out to disrupt.

"We're usually more of a fast-paced offense. We usually double team a lot, but they're so fast that today we wanted more of the one-v-one, and to force girls to their weak hands and wide-angle shots," said Hoyas junior defender Ashley Hunter, who led the team with four ground balls.

Georgetown got on the board at the 20:31 mark when sophomore midfielder Hannah Franklin scored on an assist from Kristen Coleman. Coleman, a grad student using her final year of eligibility after a record-setting career at Fairfield, then briefly gave the Hoyas a 4-3 lead on an unassisted bounce shot with 14 minutes remaining in the first half.

After a timeout, North Carolina rallied and went on a three-goal run to take a 6-4 halftime lead.

Georgetown had lost three in a row going into the game, most recently a 16-12 loss to Johns Hopkins. "It was a big game, confidence-wise for our players," Fried said. "We've been telling them they can play with top programs, but we can only tell them so many times. They needed to actually do it."

In the second half, the Hoyas' defense allowed just two more goals and gave the offense time to hit its stride. Georgetown scored two goals in less than a minute to cut the lead to 8-7, and then Jackson scored the equalizer on a beautiful left-handed shot with 5:36 remaining in the game. Thomas added the go-ahead goal at 2:46, and the Hoyas hung on for the win.

Franklin had a career day with a team-leading four goals for Georgetown. North Carolina took just 21 shots and put just 14 of them on goal. It marked the first time the Tar Heels failed to score at least 10 goals this season. Lynch and Friend led the Tar Heels with three goals each. Laura Zimmerman was held one goal on four shots, while Kara Cannizzaro was held scoreless.

When the final buzzer sounded, moments after Black's final save, the Hoyas mobbed their goalie and piled on top of her to celebrate the win.

"It was a defense that we've practiced, but we haven't run it that often," Black said. "But everyone was so confident that it worked."


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