The Syracuse women's lacrosse team had their first real test of the season when No. 5 Northwestern visited the Carrier Dome on Sunday. The second-ranked Orange took care of business, defeating the Wildcats 16-12 to improve to 5-0 on the season. However, Northwestern kept it close all game.
This season Syracuse has been dominating it's opponents, especially when its starters play. Even against No. 12 Loyola, the Orange handled them ease. But today the Orange were knotted in a close one. The two teams battled through four lead changes in the first half. Syracuse closed out the half on a 5-1 run to go into the locker room with an 8-6 advantage.
There were major complications at the start of the second half that delayed the start for about 15-20 minutes. The referees were gathered around checking two of Syracuse player's sticks. After a lot of deliberation between each other and both coaches on the sideline, Syracuse was assessed two non-releasable penalties for illegal sticks. The players that served the penalties were Kayla Treanor and Devon Parker.
This potentially could've been a turning point in the game, as Syracuse was not only down by two players but without its best player. After a Northwestern yellow card made it only a one player advantage for two minutes, Syracuse's defense buckled down and only allowed one goal.
"I thought the defense played well. There was a lot of pressure on them and it's a very good team that had two weeks to work against our zone and figure out what they were gonna do," said head coach Gary Gait.
The failure of the Wildcats to capitalize on the pivotal situation gave Syracuse a chance to break free. After one even man goal by Northwestern to tie the game 8-8. But the Orange scored buckled down and scored five consecutive goals to raise the score to 13-8.
"We weren't turning the ball over and we were finishing shots. We were getting good looks all game, it was just about taking our time and finishing them. We really executed that in our 5-0 run," said Treanor.
Although she was forced to sit for two minutes, Treanor played a key role in the win. She scored four goals, one assist, and 14 draw controls. But many others were involved as well. Halle Majorana and freshman Nicole Levy both recorded hat tricks. In total, eight Orange players had goals today.
"It's just an awesome team win... The defense played well, offense played well, our middies played well. It was an overall team effort, it wasn't just one person," said Treanor.
Syracuse can celebrate for now, but they have to get back to work right away. They have an even tougher matchup tomorrow against No. 3 ranked Florida at 12pm. The game will be broadcast on Time Warner Sports Channel and live streamed on ESPN3.
For live game updates and stories about the SU women's lacrosse team, follow me on Twitter @NickPetraccione.