WASHINGTON - As No. 6 Georgetown ran up an early, three-goal lead in yesterday's women's lacrosse showdown with Maryland, the Terrapins' prospects for upholding their new No. 1 ranking looked a bit shaky. They looked even shakier a few minutes later when starting goalie Alexis Venechanos went down with a knee injury.
But backup keeper Cara Gorman came on to save the day - and the game - with 10 second-half stops that held off the Hoyas while the Terps' offense got back in sync en route to a 13-10 victory at Georgetown's North Kehoe Field.
"To come off a three-goal deficit at the half and win the game is just huge," said Terps attacker Kelly Coppedge, who scored two of her three goals in the second half and set up Laura Warren for the winner. "A good team is one that can face adversity and come through it. We really want to show everyone that we can do that."
Venechanos took a step back on the grass field after making a clear and felt her right knee buckle. The goalie, who had been enjoying a terrific senior season, said she could not move laterally. She went back into the game for a while, but the knee buckled again.
Maryland coach Cindy Timchal said the knee was sprained and that Venechanos would have an MRI today to determine whether it is any more serious than it appears.
Gorman, who stepped in with several strong efforts last season, played the entire second half, allowing only two goals to the Hoyas, last season's NCAA Division I runners-up.
"It was like a dream come true," said Gorman, a senior. "I've worked for four years for this, to get the chance to go in and play in such an important game. It was incredible."
For the Terps (11-0), who assumed the No. 1 ranking this week for the first time since the 2002 preseason poll, the rebound from an 8-5 halftime deficit started 53 seconds after the half when Delia Cox used her speed to drive down the middle of the arc.
After Jessica Dorney rolled the crease to pull her team within 8-7, Coppedge tied the game with a nifty spin move through the left side of the arc.
Cox then blew past Hoyas defender Melissa Biles at the 12-meter mark to give the Terps their first lead of the game. The freshman showed off her blistering first step again, giving the Terps the lead for good at 10-9 with 12:58 left in the game.
Maryland's top scorer in the game, Cox hit all four of the shots she took, leading an efficient offense that scored eight goals on 10 second-half shots. Despite being outshot, 32-19, the Terps made up for it by hitting 13 of those 19 attempts.
The Hoyas (6-3), with two goals each from Wick Stanwick and Anouk Peters, controlled the pace early, showing patience on offense, but all that changed in the second half as Georgetown started rushing and taking few high-percentage shots. The Terps, who looked sloppy at times in the arc in the first half, tightened their passing and became the more patient team.
"The result was what happens when you only play one half," said Georgetown coach Kim Simons, whose team beat the Terps last season for the first time in 12 tries. "In the second half, we allowed Maryland to control the tempo, which is what we did in the first half, and when you let Maryland control the tempo, they win."
Maryland 5 8 - 13
Georgetown 8 2 - 10
Goals: M-Cox 4, Coppedge 3, Collins 2, Dorney 2, Warren, Leggio; G-Peters 2, Stanwick 2, Oliphant, Chambers, Lozano, Ryan, Bernier, Polk-Williams. Assists: M-Walker 2, Warren, Leggio; G-Oliphant, Weickel, Ryan, Polk-Williams. Saves: M-Venechnos 4, Miles 0, Gorman 10; G-Robinson 4.