WASHINGTON – All season, Georgetown Prep (Bethesda, Md.) has been stuck in tight games with four victories coming by two goals or less.
On Sunday in the quarterfinals of the GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals against The Woodlands (Spring, Texas), things were more of the same.
The Little Hoyas defeated the Highlanders, 11-9, and will face top-seeded IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) at 7 p.m. ET Monday.
This was only the team’s second win in six games after struggling to close out the season and falling in the conference semifinals.
“I think I may have mentioned that at one point during the game, that we’re fairly used to this,” Georgetown Prep coach Scott Urick. “Whether we like it or not, we’ve been in a bunch of close games this year. With that, comes experience.”
Georgetown Prep was able to dominate possession, limiting the Highlanders’ offensive opportunities, Woodlands coach Keith Tintle said. In addition to forcing the Highlanders into 17 turnovers, the Little Hoyas had the edge in ground balls.
The Little Hoyas were energized in the second half by attacker T Ridgeway. Ridgeway scored two goals in the third quarter, including a nifty inside-out move that he bounced past the Highlanders goalkeeper to give Georgetown Prep a one-goal edge entering the fourth quarter.
The hometown team would begin to pull away in the fourth quarter, with Ridgeway orchestrating the offense from behind the net. He finished with four goals.
“I think we started moving the ball and moving our feet which coach has preached all year,” Ridgeway said.
Tintle credited the Little Hoyas offense for swinging the ball around and catching the Highlanders’ defenders leaning. Despite The Woodlands’ last-ditch effort, including a goal with 1:39 remaining, the Little Hoyas clung to victory.
“We know how to just win it at the end,” Ridgeway said.
The Woodlands also praised Georgetown Prep’s strategy around the net for their success. When the Little Hoyas danced behind the net, they left Highlander defenders alone in front of the goal. That opened space on offense for Georgetown Prep to work on offense, attacker Brandon Baty said.
After watching IMG dismantle Christ School just before their game, the Little Hoyas got a bit of their scouting done. Now, though, they have about 24 hours before they face one of the elite high school lacrosse programs in the country.
“I’ll chat with a couple of their opponents from this year, for sure,” Urick said. “Not to oversimplify it, but if we play as well as we can play and do what we do best, we can be competitive with any team in this field, IMG included.”