Georgetown's women's lacrosse team knows a little something about playing overtime in the NCAA tournament.
After winning last year's semifinal in overtime and dropping the title game to Maryland in sudden death, the Hoyas were prepared when last night's semifinal with Cornell reached extra minutes.
The top-seeded Hoyas, who dominated possession through regulation, continued to control the ball in overtime. They won every draw, leading to goals by Erin Elbe and Elizabeth Ryan for a 12-10 victory in an NCAA tournament semifinal game at Loyola's Curley Field.
Georgetown (17-1) will go after its first national title against Princeton, a 16-2 winner over North Carolina in the other semifinal, at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Curley Field.
Last night, the Hoyas never trailed, but the Big Red (16-1), in its first final four appearance, caught up five times - the last with 17 seconds left in regulation.
An errant Hoyas pass in their attacking end carried over the restraining line where Kate Hirschfield won the ball in traffic and took off downfield. She spotted Sarah Fischer out ahead and Fischer converted the pass to tie it at 10.
Hoyas defender Kristin Raneri, a senior captain, quickly reminded her teammates that they hadn't lost and that they knew how to win in overtime.
"We'd been here before," Raneri said. "Anybody who was on the field and lost in overtime last year was not going to let that happen again. I definitely used that as a driving force."
So did Gloria Lozano, who took the center draw and won three of them herself in overtime.
"We've kind of struggled recently on the draws," said Lozano, who helped the Hoyas win 17 of 25 draws and also scored two goals. "But we talked in practice last week about really boxing out."
The Hoyas jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead, but the Big Red chipped away. Beth Calder got one back before Wick Stanwick boosted Georgetown's lead to 4-1. Then Cornell's Lori Wohlschegel finished off the half with three straight goals.
Every time Georgetown made a move, the Big Red countered, tying the game at 5, 7, 9 and 10. While the Hoyas often had long possessions usually after they controlled the draw, the Big Red's attack often struck quickly.
"Draw control was critical," said Cornell coach Jenny Graap. "It forced Cornell to be on defense quite a bit. It seemed like Georgetown often had a lot of possession time and Cornell's offense was forced to run really quickly, so I think our defense got a little bit tired and run down."
The Big Red needed two goals in the final 5:25 to make up a 9-7 deficit. A terrific save by goalie Carrie Giancola against Lozano led to a Jaimee Reynolds goal. Then a Hoyas' turnover led to a Fischer goal with 4:00 left. Melissa Ellers then ran straight to the goal off the draw, putting the Hoyas up 10-9 with 3:25 to go.
The Hoyas had eight players score, got 11 saves from goalie Chandler Vicchio and had a strong defensive effort especially against Reynolds, a Towson graduate who scored seven goals in the Big Red's 14-4 quarterfinal win over Maryland.
Reynolds, the Big Red's all-time leading scorer, scored two goals and continued her streak of scoring at least one point in every game of her college career.
Cornell 4 6 0 - 10
Georgetown 4 6 2 - 12
Goals: C-Wohlschlegel 3, Reynolds 2, Fischer 2, Hirschfield, McCorry, Calder. G-Peters 2, Stanwick 2, Lozano 2, Ahearn 2, Ryan, Ellers, E.Elbe, Bernier. Assists: C-McCorry 2, Quinn; G-Ryan, Weickel. Saves: C-Giancola 8; G-Vicchio 11.
What: NCAA Division I women's lacrosse final four
Where: Curley Field, Loyola College
Yesterday's semifinals: Georgetown 12, Cornell 10, OT Princeton 16, North Carolina 2
Tomorrow's final: Georgetown vs. Princeton, 1 p.m.