The 2022 college lacrosse regular season has been an absolute thrill to watch. We have been treated to excellent lacrosse week after week coming out of multiple conferences. With playoffs and the NCAA tournament approaching, it is time to really consider who will be the major threat in the brackets this year. The team to beat this year in the tournament is going to be the Georgetown Hoyas.
Almost everyone this year wants to point the finger at the dominant, Maryland lacrosse team who has yet to take a loss on the season. But Maryland is no stranger to the tournament, historic regular seasons, and heartbreaking postseason endings. For that reason, I expect a similar end to this season as well.
Recapping the regular season to this point, the Hoyas have put together an extremely impressive run and have shown that they have all the tools to make a deep run at the tournament. When taking a deeper look, three things come to mind for why Georgetown will be tough to beat; out of conference schedule, experience, and defense.
Strength of Schedule and Dominance
Georgetown undoubtedly had the best out-of-conference schedule performances in NCAA lacrosse this year. During their out-of-conference schedule, the Hoyas won 4 out of 5 different games they had against ranked opponents with the lone loss coming against Princeton in a tight 8-10 battle. Georgetown has wins against ACC, Big 10, and IVY league opponents. Knowing how to play against these kinds of teams will be extremely beneficial for Georgetown down the stretch compared to teams who have not played other powerhouse programs.
Additionally, the Hoyas have been extremely dominant within their conference which is not surprising. However, they are still beating their less skilled opponents with strong conviction. They have beat every opponent in the conference by at least 7 points or more.
This kind of consistency and dominance is extremely important and valuable coming down the stretch heading into the tournament.
Experience on the Field and in the Locker Room
Georgetown has been in every NCAA lacrosse tournament since 2018 and in each year following they have done considerably better. In 2021, the Hoyas found their comfort on the big stage when they knocked off Syracuse in the first round.
Over those years they have amassed a team of senior leadership that was bred in-house, along with some more senior leadership from the transfer portal. The Hoyas joined players like senior attackman Dylan Watson, graduate goalkeeper Owen McElroy, with other older leaders like Alex Trippi (North Carolina), Connor Morin (Notre Dame), and Will Bowen (North Carolina). All of these players have been able to come on and make an immediate impact and contribute to the success we have witnessed this year.
With this amount of tournament experience on this team, it is hard to imagine that they will not thrive in the high pressure situations the tournament inevitably brings.
Defense Wins Games
On the defensive end, the Hoyas are ready to compete and have been a force all season. This defensive effort is still being led by their Graduate goalkeeper, Owen McElroy.
Owen McElroy opened the season hot and has stayed hot. McElroy currently sits at 62% save percentage while still average less than 9 goals per game. His in-net presence has proved to be a true asset to Georgetown and is expected to continue to be one going forward.
Additionally, the defense as a whole, is playing well rounded ball and are limiting teams shots and furthermore, limiting teams scoring ability. In their last four games, the Hoyas have held all of their opponents to 10 goals or less, and held other opponents earlier in the season to similar goal totals as well.
The defense is moving like a well oiled machine and the chemistry looks as solid as ever. Defense has always won championships in sports and if Georgetown is looking to secure a lacrosse championship, the defense will have to be strong.
Overall, there are a lot of great teams in the tournament who could make a run in the tournament this year if they get in. But when you look at the overall seasons and what Georgetown is bringing to the table, I fully expect them to be the team to beat.