In last year’s game, the Syracuse Orange held a 14-8 lead against the Harvard Crimson with around 17 minutes left in the game. The Crimson would go on to outscore SU 8-2 for the rest of the second half before the Orange would pull off a 17-16 overtime win.
The situation was similar this year at around the same time of the second half as No. 8/8 Syracuse lead 16-9. However, it would not be deja vu all over again as the ‘Cuse would easily hold onto the lead en route to a 20-13 victory over Harvard on a chilly Friday afternoon at Tierney Field in Sparks, Md. Sparks is the headquarters of US Lacrosse, the national governing body for the sport.
The Orange (5-2) jumped out to a 7-3 lead midway through the first half, but could not increase the lead. The Crimson (3-3) managed to cut the advantage in half until Emily Hawryschuk scored off of a Riley Donahue pass with 12 ticks left to put SU up 10-7 at the break.
Harvard would cut it to two again at the 26:22 mark of the second half when Julia Glynn scored an unassisted goal to make it 11-9. However, Syracuse would use a strong second half draw control performance to maintain their tempo. The Orange reeled off six straight over the next 12 minutes to increase the lead to 17-9. After Harvard finally broke the scoring drought, Nicole Levy scored a pair of goals to give SU its largest lead of the game at 19-10 with just 6:41 left. Cara Quimby would finish the scoring for the Orange with a goal from a Bella Recchion pass with eight seconds left.
Offensive leaders: Levy led SU with four points (3 g, 1 a), Hawryschuk, Sam Swart and Kelzi Van Atta all had three goals each, Donahue had three points (2 g, 1 a) and Molly Carter had two points (1 g, 1 a).
Defense: Ella Simkins had a pair each of ground balls and caused turnovers, Asa Goldstock had two ground balls and a caused turnover and Carter had two ground balls.
Draw Controls: Julie Cross had a good game in the draw circle with seven draws, Kerry DeFliese had four, Alexa Radziewicz added three and Neena Merola finished with two.
Team: Syracuse outshot Harvard 36-30 overall and 31-20 on goal. The Crimson had more turnovers at a 14-11 margin but won the ground ball battle 17-15. The Orange went 17-20 on clears while Harvard was 12-14. The Crimson won the overall draw control battle 18-17 (more on this below). SU went 6-11 on free positions and Harvard was 3-7.
There were two of them. With time winding down in the first half and trailing 9-7, the Crimson had a free position and an opportunity to cut the lead to one with just 1:27 left. Madison Conklin’s shot was saved by Goldstock and the Cuse was able to clear it. After a Syracuse timeout, Hawryschuk was able to score from a Donahue feed with just 12 seconds left to push the lead back to three. This sequence was crucial as Harvard was nipping at SU’s heels through much of the first half and it would have been a big boost for them to trim the lead to one before the break.
Harvard had another chance early in the second half. The Crimson trailed 11-9 when Nicole Baiocco had a shot stopped by back-up goalie Hannah Van Middelem at the 24:06 mark. Syracuse cleared it and Donahue scored 45 seconds later to end the Harvard threat to get back into the game. A Crimson goal there would have broken up the Orange momentum that was slowly building up at that point.
Draw Control Story: Harvard did win the overall battle 18-17, but led in this category 11-7 at halftime. The ‘Cuse was able to turn this around in the second half and outdrew the Crimson 10-7. Given the problems that Syracuse has had with draw controls this year, I’d call this a victory for the Orange.
Substitute goalies: Neither starting goalie performed well in this game. Harvard senior Olivia Gundrum had only one save against seven goals before she was pulled at the 12:11 mark of the 1st half. Fellow senior Meredith Brown made her first appearance of the year and had a good game with 8 saves against 10 goals.
Goldstock had just two saves against eight goals before she was pulled just two minutes into the second half. Van Middelem came in and also had a great performance with five saves against four goals.
Syracuse will travel to Ithaca on Wednesday to face off with the Cornell Big Red (3-2). The Orange won last year’s game 11-8 in a tough defensive contest in the Dome. Game time is at 5pm ET. There is a Nor’easter expected to hit around early/mid week, so that is something to keep an eye on.