The No. 5/2 Maryland Terrapins (5-1) came into the Dome sporting a 21-1 all-time record against the No. 8/8 Syracuse Orange (4-2). They left the Dome with one more mark on that win tally as they cruised to an 18-11 victory on Sunday afternoon. Draw controls and offensive turnovers were the keys for SU in this loss.
Despite the final result, it looked like a defensive battle early on as neither team could gain an advantage for the first eight minutes. However, SU opened up the scoring at the 22:05 mark of the first half when Sam Swart took a feed in front of the goal from Molly Carter to bounce it in, giving the Orange its first and only lead of the day at 1-0.
It would not last long. Just 45 seconds later, Maryland attacker Taylor Hensh found the back of the net to knot it up at 1. This sparked a quick series of goals for the Terrapins as they scored two more in the next minute to take a 3-1 lead with 20:03 remaining in the half.
Syracuse closed the gap two minutes later when Nicole Levy weaved through a couple of Maryland defenders to bounce it in with the shot clock ticking down. The Orange cut the lead to 3-2 with 18:09 left in the half.
The Terrapins extended the lead once again after a four minute scoring drought for both teams, picking up three straight goals to take a 6-2 lead with 12:29 left in the half. They would trade goals the rest of the way as Maryland took an 8-4 lead at the break.
The Terrapins opened the flood gates in the second half with four straight goals to take a commanding 11-4 lead just three and a half minutes in. The Orange cut into that advantage shortly after when Swart and Carter scored back to back goals to cut Maryland’s lead to 11-6 with 24:09 left.
The Terrapins slammed the door shut on the brief SU comeback with a five goal run that expanded their lead to its largest of the game at 16-6 with 16:57 remaining.
Syracuse attempted a comeback late in the game and while they trimmed the Maryland lead to six at one point, it was too little, too late as the Terrapins had an answer for a couple of Orange mini runs.
After Levy had scored her only goal of the day to cut Maryland’s lead to 3-2 at the 18:09 mark of the 1st half, Syracuse actually had several opportunities to tie it up. After a long scrum for the draw control that lasted about 20 seconds, Taylor Gait finally snagged the ground ball and looked to push it upfield. However, her errant pass to Swart was easily intercepted by Maryland’s Kali Hartshorn, who raced towards the Syracuse goal. SU defender Alexa Radziewicz tried to cut her off but knocked Hartshorn down, setting up a free position. Maryland failed to convert as Radziewicz scooped up a ground ball and the Orange had possession again. Syracuse cleared it and moved into the Maryland zone. Levy tried to cut in for the shot, but incurred a crease violation for stepping over the line.
The Terrapins regained possession and missed a free position opportunity when Asa Goldstock made a big save. SU had another opportunity to score. Swart raced upfield and passed to Levy. Levy thought about a long range sidewinder, but backed off and passed it to Gait. Gait slipped while trying to avoid a Maryland defender and lost control of the ball. The Terrapins brought the ball back upfield again to set up a play. Hensh was granted an opportunity for a free position when she was shoved down in front of the goal. This time, she bounced it past Goldstock for the score. Maryland went up 4-2 with 14:37 left and never looked back.
Maryland outshot the Orange overall 33-25 and 28-19 on goal. Syracuse lost the turnover battle by the slimmest of margins 13-12. SU went 17-19 on clears while the Terrapins went 12-15. The ‘Cuse had a 15-10 edge in ground balls. Maryland won handily in the draw circle 22-9. The Orange went 1-3 on free positions while the Terrapins went 5-9.
On the offensive end Swart and Emily Hawryschuk both had three goals. Carter finished with three points (2 goals and an assist), Riley Donahue and Alie Jimerson both had a goal and an assist, Levy had a goal while Vanessa Constantino and Mary Rahal both had an assist.
On the defensive end, Radziewicz had three ground balls and a caused turnover. Ella Simkins had two ground balls and two caused turnovers. In goal, Goldstock had just six saves on the day while Hannah Van Middelem saw some significant time in the second half and posted four saves against five goals (which included several nice saves late in the game).
Kerry Defliese led the Orange in draw controls with five and picked up a ground ball.
There were two major factors that decided this game.
Draw Controls: Maryland won this battle 22-9 for the game, held a 10-3 advantage at the half and picked up the first five of the game. This led to a lot of time for the Terrapins being on the Syracuse end of the field. But it was the draw control run in the second half that put the game away for good. Five straight draws, five Maryland goals and it turned an 11-6 game into an insurmountable 16-6 lead. The ‘Cuse defense did what it could and for a while they played well and caused turnovers, but it led to the second factor...
Offensive miscues: The Orange offense committed a plethora of turnovers throughout the game with errant passes, lost groundballs and fouls. While Maryland’s defense in general and goalie Megan Taylor were partially responsible for this (she would finish the day with eight saves), much of it was just due to Syracuse not executing very well on the offensive end and making poor decisions. The sequence of events described above in the turning point section typified what happened all afternoon. It’s possible that SU might have stood a chance in this game if they could have done better in either of these factors described. But the combination of draws and lost offensive opportunities doomed the Orange effort to keep this game close.
Syracuse has some breathing room for a few days before traveling to Baltimore to play Harvard on Friday afternoon on a neutral site (note: I said that this game would be in Florida in the preview article a while back because they had played this contest the last couple of years there. I was off on that assumption). The Crimson are currently 3-2 on the season. Game time is at 2 p.m. ET.