THE RUNDOWN: Sports Stories for April 24

Cross Country

COURTESY GEORGETOWN SPORTS INFORMATION

COURTESY GEORGETOWN SPORTS INFORMATION

Katrina Coogan does not remember finishing her first cross-country race.

A dual-sport athlete in high school, the now collegiate All-American in both cross-country and track and field came to Georgetown having never run an event longer than the 3000 meters. But on a fall day three years ago in Pennsylvania, Coogan toed the line at the Paul Short Invitational Meet, ready to take off for her first time as a Hoya — on a 6000m course. For the freshman runner, who at that point had spent just as much time on the soccer pitch as she had on the track, the result was predictable.

“It was not fun,” Coogan said, remembering the race with a wavering smile. “I ended up falling short.”

 

Softball

It has been a tough season for the Georgetown softball team (13-28, 3-10 Big East), that recorded another loss on the diamond on Tuesday against George Washington (22-20, 4-11 Atlantic 10).

The Hoyas could not hold off the Colonials, losing 4-2 in their last non-conference game of the season and extending their losing streak to five games.

George Washington scored off a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead, but Georgetown evened things up in the top of the fourth when junior shortstop Grace Appelbe scored on an error.

 

Men’s Lacrosse

Men's Lax GARF 424Changes in coaching staff are never easy. Neither are losing seasons, changes in conference rivalries or regular-season schedules brimming with ranked opponents. But for senior attack and co-captain Reilly O’Connor and senior attack Bo Stafford of the No. 13 Georgetown men’s lacrosse team (8-5, 3-1 Big East), experiencing major changes and taking them in stride has been fundamental in shaping their senior year into their most successful season on the Hilltop.

O’Connor and Stafford began their Georgetown careers under the leadership of former Head Coach Dave Urick, a Georgetown coaching legend who posted winning records in all 23 seasons that he was at the helm of the program. Urick retired after the 2012 season, and current Head Coach Kevin Warne took over in August of 2012 with big shoes to fill.

 

Tennis

After rollercoaster seasons that included a variety of results on both the men and women’s sides, the Georgetown tennis teams will travel to Indianapolis, Ind. for the Big East Tournament from April 23 through April 26. The women (11-4, 2-1 Big East) finished the season strongly with a three-match win streak, while the men’s team (8-9, 1-2 Big East) has fallen in four of its last five matches.

The women earned a victory over University of Maryland, Baltimore County (5-2) on April 14, providing a huge momentum boost –  the victory was the third-straight win for the Blue and Gray. Freshmen Daphne de Chatellus and Casey Marx have both been huge contributors this season, and this trend continued when they played against their opponents from the America East conference. Marx and de Chatellus won their singles matches in straight sets, while de Chatellus and sophomore Victoire Saperstein won their doubles match 8-1. Saperstein recorded her fifth-straight victory at the No. 1 singles spot on Wednesday over UMBC sophomore Mariami Dolashvili.

 

Men’s Basketball

FILE PHOTO: CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA

FILE PHOTO: CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA

College Park, Md., home to the University of Maryland, sits less than nine miles from the front gates of Georgetown. If a Hoya fan hopped on the Metro after a 7 p.m. game at Verizon Center, he or she could take the green or yellow line to Maryland’s Xfinity Center in time to catch the second half of the Terps’ nightcap.

But for much of the last 35 years, College Park might as well have been Beijing. Despite competing as the two premier college basketball programs in the talent-heavy Washington, D.C. metro area, Georgetown and Maryland have played each other only three times since 1980.

 

SANTAMARIA: Saxa Synergy

Chris Paul is the best point guard to ever play the game. That sounds insane, especially for someone with zero MVPs, zero NBA Finals appearances, zero championships and yes, zero conference finals appearances. But beyond the stats, Chris Paul really is the best to ever play the position, and this year, he and the Los Angeles Clippers have a legitimate shot at the NBA Finals.

Granted, it has only been two games, but Paul’s dismantling of the San Antonio Spurs in game one showed exactly what the Clippers can do when their offense is firing on all cylinders; Los Angeles had an offensive rating of 112.4 in the regular season. If the Clippers continue to play well offensively and prevent the Spurs from getting open looks, then Paul and his star running mate, forward Blake Griffin, may very well topple the defending champs.

 

Baseball

FILE PHOTO: MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA

FILE PHOTO: MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA

With its walk-off 8-7 win Wednesday night, Georgetown’s baseball team (20-17, 3-3 Big East) extended its win streak to four games by sweeping the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (13-26, 11-7 MEAC) in a doubleheader. The team now sits three games above .500, exactly where Head Coach Pete Wilk wanted it to be.

“I hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way, but we’re a good baseball team. I expect to be over .500 with this squad and the talent that we have on the field,” Wilk said. “Any time you put a four-game winning streak together is good. I don’t care who you’re playing.”

 

IPPOLITO: The Water Cooler

If you took the historical success of the New York Yankees franchise, the continual hubris that Dallas Cowboys fans have despite nearly two decades of mediocrity, and the love that Notre Dame fans have for living in and reminding others of their unparalleled history, then you have a relatively decent idea about how the rest of the NHL, and Canada in particular, views the Montreal Canadiens. Just for good measure, they are the champions of French-Canadians, too. Unfortunately for the rest of our friends up North, Montreal is the team most capable of bringing Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Canada.

Montreal’s name is already engraved on the Stanley Cup 24 times, over double the amount of the second place Detroit Red Wings. The Habs are also the last Canadian team to have its name engraved on the Stanley Cup – they won the title in 1992-1993. Currently, the Habs’ quest to end Canada’s 22-year Cup drought could not be going better; they hold a three-games-to-one lead over the Ottawa Senators and are in prime position for a first-round victory.

 

Women’s Lacrosse

FILE PHOTO: CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA

FILE PHOTO: CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA

While the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (6-9, 5-1 Big East) suffered from inconsistencies earlier on this season, the Hoyas have a chance on Saturday to redeem themselves with a Big East regular season title.

If the Hoyas beat the Temple Owls (10-5, 2-4 Big East) on the team’s senior day, they will earn a share of the Big East title — their first since 2011 — drawing level with No. 13 Florida at a 6-1 conference record.

 

 

 

 

Georgetown and Maryland to Meet Next Year

The Washington, D.C. metro area has long been one of the top basketball regions in the country, but the two premier local programs – Georgetown and Maryland – have not played each other consistently since the late 1970s. There have been occasional meetings between the teams in various tournaments since then, but none that have been scheduled. That changed on Tuesday afternoon when the local CBS affiliate reported that Georgetown and Maryland will play this upcoming season in College Park, Md.

The matchup will be the highlight of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, a series of contests that will pit opponents from the Big East and the Big Ten. 2015 will mark the first edition of the games, which are scheduled to run through the 2022-2023 season. The inaugural match-ups have yet to be formally announced, but individual games have been reported since last week and Brian Snow of Scout.com tweeted out what appears to be a complete schedule on Tuesday afternoon:

Georgetown vs. Maryland

Xavier @ Michigan

Creighton @ Indiana

Rutgers @ St. John’s

Illinois @ Providence

Nebraska @ Villanova

Penn State @ DePaul

Iowa vs. Marquette

From an interest standpoint, the meeting between Georgetown and Maryland could hardly have come at a better time, as both teams are projected to be among the best in the country next season.

Maryland, led by talented freshman guard Melo Trimble, returns the bulk of the talent from a team that spent much of the past season ranked in the top-20, received a five seed in the NCAA tournament and lost in the round of 32 to West Virginia. The Terps are bringing in a consensus top-10 recruit in center Diamond Stone and will likely be ranked in the preseason top-five, if not higher.

Georgetown, buoyed by the return of junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, brings back an incredibly talented group of freshmen to go along with a strong recruiting class. The Hoyas will expect to fall somewhere in the 15 to 20 range of the preseason polls.

The last meeting between the two programs came in the 2008 Old Spice Classic, where Georgetown rolled by a score of 75-48. Prior to that, the teams had not met since the 2001 Sweet 16, when the Terps beat the Hoyas 76-66 on their way to the Final Four.

This is a game that college basketball fans not only in D.C., but also around the country have been waiting a long time for. Along with a matchup against archrival Syracuse, it will be one of the most anticipated games of Georgetown’s season.

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THE RUNDOWN: Sports Stories for April 21

Women’s Lacrosse

FILE PHOTO: JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA

FILE PHOTO: JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA

Despite inconsistent play, the Georgetown women’s lacrosse team (6-9, 5-1 Big East) clinched the second seed in the Big East tournament with Saturday evening’s 8-7 win over Marquette (4-12, 0-6 Big East), the team’s final road conference game of the season.

“Getting the second seed puts us in a really good position to get a shot to keep playing with each other. … In close games it’s been a test to how resilient we can be and battling back. This weekend and Wednesday were really good tests for us,” senior defender Megan Marinelli said.

 

Golf

Spearheaded by freshman Jacquelyn Eleey, the Georgetown women’s golf team finished its season strong, placing second at the Big East Championship. The Hoyas narrowly missed taking home first place, finishing one stroke behind champion Seton Hall.

“Overall it was an awesome event. We played great, and it was competitive the entire way,” Head Coach Katie Brophy said. “We handled everything really well, but in the end, we came up just one shot short, which was a bit heartbreaking.”

 

Men’s Lacrosse

FILE PHOTO: CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA

FILE PHOTO: CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA

Slow starts and early deficits plagued the No. 13 Georgetown men’s lacrosse team (8-5, 3-1 Big East) during its first few games of 2015. Throughout the season, the team has worked to reverse the trend and has succeeded in doing so; recently, first-half leads over then-No. 9 Marquette (10-4, 3-1 Big East) and Villanova (6-6, 1-3 Big East) have helped Georgetown clinch wins over its conference rivals.

However, a quick start against No. 9 Virginia (9-4, 0-4 ACC) on Saturday was not enough to propel Georgetown to another victory. The Hoyas scored the first three goals of the game and maintained the lead through the beginning of the second quarter, but an unanswered seven-goal run from the Cavaliers stretching between the second and third quarters proved fatal.

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Jeff Green and Otto Porter Made the Playoffs. Can Their Teams Win It All?

And then were 16. In a crazy regular season finale, the playoff picture finally came together.

The seeding is as follows.

West

  1. Golden State Warriors (67-15)
  2. Houston Rockets (56-26)
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26)
  4. Portland Trail Blazers (51-31)
  5. Memphis Grizzlies (55-27)
  6. San Antonio Spurs (55-27)
  7. Dallas Mavericks (50-32)
  8. New Orleans Pelicans (45-37)

East

  1. Atlanta Hawks (60-22)
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers (53-29)
  3. Chicago Bulls (50-32)
  4. Toronto Raptors (49-33)
  5. Washington Wizards (46-36)
  6. Milwaukee Bucks (41-41)
  7. Boston Celtics (40-42)
  8. Brooklyn Nets (38-44)

Of the former Hoya stars, only Otto Porter and Jeff Green remain. Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers was eliminated with a loss to Memphis and Jeff Green on Wednesday evening. Still, the Pacers’ season should be considered a success given their bleak outlook at the start of the season after Paul George’s horrific injury.

Porter and the Wizards’ nearly beat the Cavaliers despite resting John Wall, Bradley Beal and Paul Pierce. Thankfully, Porter found himself receiving quality minutes once again after playing nearly 35 in the previous game. Though the Raptors are favored in the Wizards’ first round series, DC’s finest may have the edge with John Wall leading the charge. Last year the Wizards dispatched an injury-riddled Bulls’ squad, and the Raptors are limping into the playoffs this season. Moreover, star guards Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan have not looked the same on defense since the All-Star break. No pressure, but this is John Wall’s series to lose. Wizards in six.

The Memphis Grizzlies and Jeff Green ended Indiana’s playoff hopes and solidified themselves as the fifth seed out West, giving them a favorable first round matchup against the injured Portland Trail Blazers. Wes Matthews and Dorrell Wright are out for the season, and there are no signs that the Blazers’ will improve upon their 20th ranked defense. It feels wrong to discount what Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge can do on offense, however, and the Blazers have an extra gear for the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies just lost chemistry on the offensive end as the season wound down, and, with Marc Gasol nursing an injury, this series could be going the distance. And at the end of the race, not many finish better than Damian Lillard. Blazers in seven. Continue reading

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Dos a Cero Magic Continues in Bizarre Match

The US – Mexico rivalry dominates North American soccer, and Dos a Cero defines the relationship between the teams. Meaning 2-0, Dos a Cero refers to a series of 2-0 wins by the USMNT over El Tri.

The first true Dos a Cero came in 2001 during World Cup qualifying. The game took place in Columbus, Ohio on a frigid February night. The Mexican team was so affected by the cold that it did not take the field for pregame warm ups. With American soccer still in its infancy, the game also saw one of the first pro-American crowds and home field advantages for the United States. By winning 2-0, the USMNT announced its presence as a North American power.

World Cup qualifying occurs every four years, and each cycle the United States hosts Mexico in Columbus. Every single time, without exception, the Americans have won Dos a Cero. From Oguchi Onyewu stare-downs to a classic Donovan-to-Bradley strike, the United States has made a tradition of thrilling games, filled with bad blood, ending in that famous 2-0 score. Forward Clint Dempsey even intentionally missed a penalty kick to preserve Dos a Cero in 2013.

The most famous Dos a Cero game of all, however, came on an even bigger stage. The two CONCACAF powers met in the Round of 16 of the World Cup. American legends Brian McBride and Landon Donovan scored. Rafael Marquez’s late challenge and subsequent sending off made Mexico look like the villains of a telanovela. The United States advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the only time since 1934.

Last night’s friendly was the latest and most bizarre addition to the Dos a Cero legacy. In San Antonio, Tex., the Alamodome’s field was in terrible shape before the game. The decision to lay grass over an artificial turf surface was almost as bad as the decision to play a match between Mexico and the United States in a venue named after the Alamo. It clearly affected the game. Players had serious difficulty controlling passes, first touches were often poor and play seemed sloppy much of the night.

Then the United States announced its starting lineup. One of the forwards in the XI was Jordan Morris, who currently is a sophomore at Stanford University. After a handful of token, last minute appearances in recent USMNT games, Morris became the first amateur to get a start for the national team in decades, and, in the 49th minute, scored. Presumably, he is going back to classes today or tomorrow. Also, this happened:

Then forward Juan Agudelo made it 2-0 in the 72nd. Agudelo, 22, spent the last year out of professional soccer after getting his application for a British work visa denied. His last goal for the USMNT came back in 2011.

Dos a Cero 2015 may not go down in history as the most dramatic or important entry in the rivalry. But with an amateur star, redemption story and one of the worst fields in recent USMNT history, the game will certainly count as one of the most memorable.

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THE RUNDOWN: Sports Stories for April 14

Men’s Lacrosse

FILE PHOTO: CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA Senior attack Reilly O’Connor matched his career high by scoring five goals in Georgetown’s 19-7 win over conference rival Villanova. As a result of his strong performance, he was named the Big East Men’s Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA

Continuing his role as a key offensive player, senior attack Reilly O’Connor matched his career high of five goals as he led the No. 13 Georgetown men’s lacrosse team (8-4, 3-1 Big East) to a 19-7 victory over conference rival Villanova (5-6, 0-3 Big East).

O’Connor added one assist to his effort to tally a game-high six points. He was named the Big East Men’s Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance.

“Reilly O’Connor today was awesome,” Head Coach Kevin Warne said. “[But] across the board, [the team just had] a really good effort. We have a bunch of guys getting a bunch of goals, and I think it’s pick your poison with our team on the offensive end.”

 

Outdoor Track & Field

Unfortunately for the rest of the nation, Georgetown’s stable of middle-distance runners keeps improving on a week-to-week basis.

Although Georgetown’s track and field program already boasts one of the deepest groups in the country, this week, two Hoyas — one each from the men and women’s teams — stepped up to add even more depth to the unit.

 

Softball

FILE PHOTO: JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA Senior pitcher Megan Hyson pitched four innings and allowed one run in Georgetown’s extra-inning 5-4 win over DePaul.

FILE PHOTO: JULIA HENNRIKUS/THE HOYA

When the Georgetown softball team (13-24, 3-7 Big East) took the field this weekend, it played against a DePaul team (15-18, 7-1 Big East) that had beaten Georgetown in each of the last 10 meetings between the two sides.

DePaul continued its winning ways in the first matchup of the three-game series, defeating Georgetown 2-0. But in Saturday’s second contest, Georgetown emerged victorious, winning 5-4 in two extra innings.

“[Saturday’s game] was our first win over DePaul in 11 games,” senior pitcher Megan Hyson said. “Our energy level was really high that entire game and we definitely needed that [win].”

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