Last year, against then-No. 10 Cornell, Syracuse Orange freshman goalie Asa Goldstock had arguably one of her best performances, with 11 saves in a 11-8 upset of the Big Red in the Dome. This year, the sophomore turned in a career-high game, with 16 saves for a 76% save rate as No. 7/9 Syracuse pulled away in the second half to knock off unranked Cornell 14-7 on a chilly Tuesday afternoon in Ithaca, N.Y.
The Orange (6-2) used a five-goal run starting in the middle of the first half to break open a 3-3 tie to take an 8-3 lead with 7:35 remaining. The Big Red (4-3) answered with a pair of goals to cut the SU advantage at the break to 8-5.
The game turned very sloppy throughout the first 14 minutes of the second half with no scoring as both teams committed half of their respective turnovers during this time period. Sam Swart finally broke the scoreless stretch with an unassisted goal with 16:33 left. This ended a 21 minute scoring drought for the Orange and sparked a six goal run to put the game out of reach.
Despite the score, Cornell actually outshot the Orange 31-25 overall and 25-21 shots on goal. The Big Red won the ground ball battle 16-11 and committed 12 turnovers to SU’s 16. Syracuse won the draw control battle 12-11. There weren’t a lot of free positions this game with the ‘Cuse going 1-3 while Cornell was 2-4. SU went 19-23 on clears while the Big Red was 19-21.
Emily Hawryschuk had another impressive performance with six points (5 g, 1 a) and added two ground balls and a draw control. Nicole Levy had four points (3 g, 1 a) and had a ground ball. Swart had two goals and a caused turnover while Riley Donahue added another pair of goals to go along with a pair of ground balls. Ella Simkins had three ground balls and draw controls each to go along with an assist. Neena Merola also had three draw controls as well as an assist. In a backup role for the last six and a half minutes of the game, goalie Hannah Van Middelem had another solid effort with two saves against two goals for a 50% save percentage.
The Turning Point
With the game still relatively tight at 8-5, neither Syracuse nor Cornell could gain any clear advantage in the first 14 minutes of the second half and there was an overall average of a turnover a minute. Syracuse managed just two shots in this time frame with one on goal. Conversely, the Big Red had four shots, with three on goal. The defense in general and Goldstock in particular managed to hold off Cornell until the offense was finally able to get a run going. Swart’s goal at the 16:33 mark was the spark the offense needed to blow the game open. The Big Red would not score again until two minutes after Goldstock left the game (she left at the 6:26 mark).
Big Factor? How about a Huge Factor. Goldstock had, statistically speaking, her best performance to date in goal with 16 saves against just five goals for an astounding 76% save percentage. With the offense able to muster just two goals between 13:36 of the first half and the 16:33 mark of the second (or 27 minutes and change), Goldstock registered almost half of her total saves during this time period (seven). Cornell scored their last goal on her at the 3:38 mark of the first half, which means from that point on, Goldstock kept the Big Red scoreless until she left the game for Van Middelem with the contest out of reach with just 6:26 remaining in the game.
Goldstock came into the game with a 40% save percentage average. Even with a 50% save rate (which is good in women’s lacrosse), that’s about five more goals for the Big Red and could have at least made it a much closer game. At the worst, given the amount of turnovers that the Orange had in this game, it could have led to a devastating loss. Without a doubt, she was the MVP for the game.
Turnovers: SU had a lot of turnovers on Tuesday and it was the most they’ve had in a game this year (they averaged around 13 going into the Cornell game). Barring Goldstock’s shutdown of Cornell’s offense, this stat could have potentially been much bigger than it was. Although it ended up being a relative non-factor, a similar occurrence in a future game against a stronger opponent could spell the difference between winning and losing.
Draw Control Watch: For the first time since the Oregon game on February 18 (their second game of the season) the ‘Cuse won a draw control battle. Although 12-11 might sound like the slimmest of margins, Cornell’s last two came against SU backups long after the game was decided. The Orange held this advantage throughout the entire game with the exception of the Big Red evening it out at 2 early in the first half. It’s definitely an improvement over what has happened so far in the draw circle, although we’ll have to see how far they’ve really come in this category next week when they play three top 20 teams. But for now, it looks like things are starting to gel here.
Syracuse will embark on another crazy schedule run on Saturday, March 24, 1 p.m. ET when they travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame (5-5) in an ACC matchup. The Orange will play four games in eight days that will see them travel to Indiana, then Illinois to take on No. 11/11 Northwestern on Monday, back to New Jersey on Thursday to face No. 17/16 Princeton and finish next Saturday in the Dome against ACC foe No. 19/20 Duke.