Sound the horns—the Red Storm Lacrosse team finally triumphed over a ranked team with a 13-12 road win over No. 20 Georgetown.
Sophomore Ryan Fitzgerald led a last minute push to tie the game at 12-12, and in overtime action, the attacker netted the deciding goal, giving the team its first win over a ranked opponent this season and ever since defeating then No. 5 Georgetown on Feb. 27, 2009.
“Obviously that’s a huge win for us,” fifth-year head coach Jason Miller told redstormsports.com. “It’s a Big East, top-20 win and it keeps us in the hunt for a Big East Tournament bid.”
Currently sitting at fourth in the seven-team conference, the Red Storm have only two more Big East games left on the season to make a claim for the conference’s inaugural four-team tournament, but this win was necessary to give them the chance.
“It’s great, because we’re doing better than the program has done since reinstatement [in 2006],” said Fitzgerald. “We really want to play in the Big East playoffs.”
In the victory senior Harry Kutner led the Red Storm (6-4, 2-2) with a hat trick while four other Johnnies netted two goals each and sophomore Kieran McArdle helped with four assists.
In that final minute of play the Red Storm trailed by two goals, 12-10, and was staring at another near-miss finish against a top-ranked opponent. Then, head coach Jason Miller called a timeout with 42 seconds remaining to plan the counterattack and remind the team to keep attacking.
“He kept saying don’t give up,” Fitzgerald recalled. “We’ve done it before against Rutgers.”
What they had done against Rutgers was score two goals within a minute and after the words from their coach, the Johnnies caught fire. Fitzgerald started the comeback after he connected with a goal from the right side with 21 seconds remaining.
“Right after I scored I looked at the clock and I thought, we have a chance,” he said.
On the ensuing play, the Johnnies Jordan Rothman, who had a down game in the faceoff circle (winning just 8-of-28), won the possession and Kutner launched the equalizing goal, his third of the game, after fighting through defensemen to set up the overtime.
“We stole it at the end, but I’m proud of the way our players executed at crunch time,” Miller said after the game, sounding similar to McArdle earlier in the year, who said one of their biggest goals for the season was to finish games.
Junior goalie Jeff Lowman finished the game with a season-high 17 saves, but no two saves came bigger than when he protected the cage with seconds left to play from two wide open looks to preserve the Johnnies comeback during the final seconds of regulation.
The Johnnies were defeated in possession as they lost 20-8 faceoffs and 37-23 groundball pick-ups, but nevertheless were able to respond and take the win.
The Red Storm will try to ride the momentum next week when they will travel to play against conference rival Villanova on Saturday, one of three games remaining in the regular season.