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women's lacrosse

Georgetown shuts down AU lacrosse 20-8

Hat tricks from Emma Vinall and Kendall Goldblum couldn’t hold the Hoyas back

On the last of an unusually warm pocket of February days, the American University lacrosse team hosted crosstown rival Georgetown University in the opener of the 2022 women’s lacrosse season Feb. 12. 

With a revamped roster, the Eagles looked to bounce back from a tough 1-7 2021 campaign and compete for a Patriot League title with returning fifth-year seniors Emma Vinall and Kendall Goldblum at the helm. 

Unfortunately, behind Irish national team goalkeeper Emily Gaven, a member of the Irish national team, the Hoyas made sure that the Eagles would have to wait for their first victory of the season as Georgetown took the game 20-8.

The Eagles bared their talons to open the first quarter, as Goldblum charged down the field and contorted around the Hoyas’ defense to score just 36 seconds into the game. 

Shortly after, Vinall, AU’s all-time leading scorer with 163 goals, sunk goal 164 into the back of the net, giving the Eagles a quick 2-0 lead.

A stifling defensive effort, especially from senior Haley Harkins and sophomore Jordan Mitchell, caused Georgetown to miss their first shot on goal. Still, the Hoyas quickly recovered and narrowed their deficit to 2-1.

After Georgetown scored again to tie the game at 2 apiece, senior Stefanie Walsh picked up a ground ball, eventually leading to the first career goal for freshman Maddy Spratt

Spratt shone throughout her first collegiate lacrosse game, pairing her beautiful goal with two clean assists. Every other AU goal during the game was scored by either of the fifth-year seniors, Vinall and Goldblum.

“[Spratt] is a positive force for us,” head coach Lindsay Teeters said. “I see her really helping to contribute to the offense being more spread.”

Georgetown played catch-up during the first quarter, repeatedly tying the game up and then falling back into single-goal deficits as Vinall drained career goal 165 and Goldblum recorded her second of the game.

With just six seconds left in the first, the Hoyas grabbed their first lead of the game, and the Eagles headed into the second quarter down 6-5.

Early in the second quarter, Georgetown scored their momentum-shifting seventh goal, and it was downhill for the Eagles from there.

Continued brilliance from Vinall, including her spin-into-roll goal to secure the hat trick with 166, could barely cover up the fact that the second quarter took place almost entirely on defense for AU.

Georgetown rattled off three more goals to turn a manageable 10-7 deficit for the Eagles into a near-insurmountable 13-7 hole in the last five minutes of the quarter and it only got worse from there.

The only goal the Eagles scored in the second half was a Spratt assist to Vinall for goal 167 — Vinall’s fourth of the game. Meanwhile, the Hoyas poured in goals on fast breaks, free positions and nearly every angle imaginable.

Suffering such a wide loss after dominating the first quarter led Coach Teeters to question the efficacy of an offense resting so heavily on the shoulders of Vinall and Goldblum. 

“We went back to feeling like Emma Vinall and even Kendall Goldblum had to do it all,” Teeters said. “We’re trying to get away from that, only because we know they’re capable of scoring, but we’re gonna be a more dynamic offense and not be as scoutable if we can have some others contribute.”

The key difference between the two teams came in the goalkeeping. Georgetown’s Gaven played the whole game and maintained a stellar .529 save percentage, while AU substituted multiple times between Mary Alice Collins, who had a rough .211 save percentage and Helena Morrison, who had a slightly better .286 save percentage.

Even following such a painful loss, there is still much to look forward to during this lacrosse season. 

Vinall’s countdown to 200 goals looks to be an exciting race throughout the season, and if she continues to essentially hold the keys to the Eagles’ offense, it should be a quick one.

Additionally, Spratt, who already looks like a budding star, headlines a group of 11 freshmen with tons of experience to gain on the field. Without Vinall and Goldblum next season, the young players’ development should be a focal point this season.

The Eagles returned to Jacobs Recreational Complex Jan. 19 to face off against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Correction appended.

As the semester comes to an end and one of the founding members leaves American University, Section 202 has decided to take a trip down memory lane. For our fans, old and new, who are wondering how Section 202 came to be, this episode is a must. Listen along as hosts Connor Sturniolo and Liah Argiropoulos reminisce about the beginning of Section 202 and how it got to where it is now.

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