The Syracuse Orange field hockey team won its third and fourth consecutive games over the weekend, beating the Louisville Cardinals, 3-1, on Saturday and the Cornell Big Red, 5-0, on Sunday.
Syracuse's win against Louisville was its first in ACC play in 2014 and, for all intents and purposes, it was the first time this season that the Orange have at all resembled the team that finished last regular season ranked second in the country.
Laura Hurff, a freshman midfielder, scored on a deflection in the 28th minute to open the scoring. Four minutes into the second half, Emma Russell added her eighth goal of the season before Hurff scored again, giving Syracuse a 3-0 lead.
Louisville's Lotta Kahlert scored a garbage time goal, but the Orange held on for the relatively easy win.
"I am really proud of our kids," head coach Ange Bradley told cuse.com. "They worked really hard. The last couple of weeks, we have been growing. I am just so happy for them to get a result."
Before Saturday, Syracuse had played and lost to three ACC opponents -- at North Carolina on September 12, vs. Boston College on September 20, and at Virginia two Fridays ago.
[Some context: this season, Lousville has won games against North Carolina (No. 1 overall), Northwestern (No. 4 overall), and Duke (No. 11 overall).]
On a quick turnaround, the Orange traveled 52 miles on Sunday to Ithaca, where they cruised past the Big Red.
By halftime, Syracuse had jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead, thanks largely to Analeesa Ulbrich, Hurff, and Russell, each of whom tallied first half goals.
The downpour continued in the second half, as Ulbrich scored her 10th goal of the season and Lieke Visser added her seventh.
Junior goalie Jess Jecko made six saves and recorded her second shutout of the season.
Syracuse next plays this Saturday, when the team travels to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to battle the 13th-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons.