Ten goals in 10 minutes. The Syracuse Orange (14-5) kept their NCAA-seed hopes alive, outscoring Virginia Tech 10-2 in the final 10 minutes in a game where no less than a dozen Orange players scored. With the 20-13 win, Syracuse advances to the ACC semifinals where they will face No. 3 seed Virginia on Friday at 8pm ET.
Despite the finish, it was the Hokies who started out hot, scoring the first four goals of the game before Coach Gary Gait called a timeout at the 20:07 mark of the first half. Up to that point, SU's offense could manage only two missed free position shots.
The timeout settled the Orange down and they went on a four-goal run of their own. Riley Donahue, Natalie Wallon and Alie Jimerson (twice) would score in just a three-minute period to tie the game at four goals apiece with 15:45 left in the half.
The game became a defensive battle for the rest of the half, with both Asa Goldstock and Meagh Graham making some nice saves at goalie. The two teams would trade a goal each as Kristine Loscalzo put the Hokies back on top briefly before Taylor Gait responded a half minute later with a little over 10:07 remaining in the half. Loscalzo (who would lead all scorers on the evening with five goals) broke the tie again when she got it past Goldstock on a free position attempt with one tick remaining. It was 6-5 Virginia Tech at the half.
As with the beginning of the contest, the second half became a game of runs by both sides. Syracuse would knot it back up at six less than 30 seconds in, when Wallon took a Gait feed and put it low past Graham. The Orange followed that up a couple minutes later and took their first lead of the game when Donahue also took a Gait feed and dumped it over Graham's shoulder. The Hokies made another run over the next nine minutes, tying the game and then opening the lead back out to 9-7 with 18:38 to play.
Some back and forth on both sides led to several lead changes. The Hokies had their fifth and final advantage of the game at 11-10 with 11:27 left.
The Orange response was what could only be described as a barrage. At the 10:05 mark, Cara Quimby tied the game for the seventh time when she worked her way right to left across the goal and fired it past Graham. Mary Rahal attacked the net on a man-up opportunity, and scored to give the Orange the lead for good at 12-11 with 9:22 left. Emily Hawryschuk and Nicole Levy chipped in a goal apiece within a minute. Virginia Tech Coach John Sung saw enough and called a time out with SU leading 14-11 with 8:27 remaining.
It didn't matter. The Hokies continued to reel from the Orange assault. Two minutes after the time out, Hawryschuk struck again, almost from the exact point where she had scored before. Donahue followed this up on a free position attempt about a minute later and found Parker undefended just to the left of the goal. Parker took advantage of her height and just dumped it past Graham. Quimby added another goal on a free position shortly after. Virginia Tech called another timeout with Syracuse up 17-11 with 4:43 to go.
Other Orange players got into the scoring avalanche as well. Kelzi Van Atta and Vanessa Constantino would score on back-to-back free position goals within 25 seconds of each other to extend the SU lead to 19-11 at the 3:28 mark. Tori Wehner had the final Orange goal with 1:11 left when she got the pass from Constantino over the middle, made the cut and put it in. Virginia Tech would finally end the deluge with a pair of goals in the last minute to finish the scoring.
The Hydra offense loomed once again as 12 different Orange players scored in this game. Jimerson (3 g, 1 a), Donahue (2 g, 2 a) and Quimby (2 g, 2 a) all had four points each. Wallon had another big evening offensively with three goals. Hawryschuk added a pair of goals and an assist, while Gait had a goal and two assists. Parker ended up with another pair of goals. Levy and Constantino both had a goal and an assist each. Rahal, Van Atta and Constantino had a goal apiece.
Defensively, Goldstock played the vast majority of the game, exiting in the last 90 seconds. Although she had seven saves against 11 goals, several of those saves were huge. She also added a caused turnover and three ground balls. The Orange won the battle of draw controls 20-14 with Cross leading SU with a half dozen.
The Turning Point
In a game where both teams traded runs, Virginia Tech had just finished one with a pair of goals to take the lead at 11-10 with 11:27 left. Quimby's free position goal at the 10:05 mark started a streak that led to four Orange goals in a span of just 98 seconds. This opened the flood gates which saw Syracuse score 10 straight goals overall and never looked back.
The Orange had another slow start, not scoring for the first 11 minutes of the game and spotted the Hokies four goals.
But Syracuse proved once again that they can score in bunches. They scored four goals in three minutes to tie the game at 4 in the first half. The second half saw a pair of goals within 45 seconds of each other at the midway mark. The 10-goal run at the end included the Orange scoring four goals in 98 seconds and another five goals within three minutes.