The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team went into the Louisville game with their backs literally against the wall. Sitting at 8-8, the No. 16/19 Orange needed a win to avoid going into ACC Tournament later this week below .500 and a mathematical elimination possibility for selection into the NCAA Tournament. SU took care of business on Sunday, and closed out the game with an 11-goal run to beat the Cardinals 19-8 on Senior Day in the Dome.
Syracuse (9-8, 1-6 ACC) jumped out to a 6-3 lead about 13 minutes into the game with some solid play. However, the Orange got a little sloppy for the rest of the half, scoring only once more when Cara Quimby reached high on a cut to take an Alie Jimerson pass. The redshirt sophomore midfielder leaped up and dumped it past Louisville goalie Lexie Ball to give SU a 7-5 lead, which was the score they ended up taking with them into the half.
Following a quick Mary Rahal goal just 34 seconds into the second half, Louisville (6-10, 0-7 ACC) went on a three-goal run to tie the game at 8 with 25:15 left. But a pair of goals by Emily Hawryschuk and Riley Donahue within 19 seconds of each other put the Orange back up to stay at 10-8 at the 21:31 mark. This started an 11 unanswered goal parade by Syracuse to end the contest.
Shots: Syracuse 36, Louisville 26
Shots on Goal: Syracuse 33, Louisville 20
Turnovers: Syracuse 15, Louisville 13
Clears: Syracuse 16-for-20, Louisville 16-for-20
Ground Balls: Syracuse 23, Louisville 13
Draw Controls: Syracuse 18, Louisville 11
Free Position Shots: Louisville 3-8, Syracuse 2-8
Fouls: Syracuse 24 & 1 yellow card, Louisville 19 & 1 yellow card,
Molly Carter led the team in points with five assists. Nicole Levy (3 g, 1 a) and Jimerson (1 g, 3 a) had four points each. Sam Swart finished with three goals. Neena Merola, Hawryschuk and Rahal had a pair of goals each. Taylor Gait and Vanessa Constantino both had a goal and an assist. Donahue, Quimby, Julie Cross and Rilea Fusco all had a goal apiece and Casey Duff ended up with an assist.
Ella Simkins had a pair of ground balls and a caused turnover. Kerry Defliese had a ground ball, a pair of caused turnovers and three draw controls. Alexa Radziewicz and Mia DiBello each had a ground ball and a caused turnover. Lila Nazarian had a ground ball and a draw control. Ella Hogan had a caused turnover. Emily Amell, Defliese, Merola and Cross had three draw controls each while Hawryschuk led this category with four. Asa Goldstock had another big day in goal, with 11 saves against eight goals. Erin Coleman also registered a save in her final Dome game for the Orange.
After Emily Howell scored a free position goal for Louisville at the 25:15 mark to tie the game at eight apiece, both teams made solid defensive stands over the next several minutes with Goldstock and Ball getting big saves on both ends of the field. Carter elected to pass off to Hawryschuk on a free position attempt. The sophomore attacker took the pass near the top of the arc and tried to push around Louisville midfielder Sarah Blalock. Hawryshcuk then reversed to the right, pivoted back to her left and found an opening between Blalock (who was now just behind her) and sister/fellow midfielder Caroline Blalock. She split the seam, swung around Howell (who was in front of her) and fired it past Ball to give Syracuse the lead back.
Amell picked up the ensuing draw and passed back to Goldstock. The Orange goalie found Donahue downfield with a long pass. The senior attacker raced downfield past one Louisville defender and moving from right to left and took a difficult shot (from the replay it seems like she looked at the goal after she shot it) as two other Cardinals closed in on her. It sailed past Ball for another goal. All of this happened in the space of about 30 seconds of game time and gave the ‘Cuse a 10-8 lead. Louisville would not find the back of the net for the rest of the day as SU delivered nine more goals to complete the rout.
Draw Controls: Given what’s happened in the last two games (almost 50% of the draws against BC), does this mean that the Orange are starting to solve this problem? Although Syracuse has done well against weaker teams in the draw circle this year, this was by far the most dominant performance to date going 18-11 against the Cardinals. Perhaps it’s just me, but it does seem like SU is doing a much better job at tracking these down in the last couple of games than before. If so, it could not have come at a better time with the ‘Cuse headed into the post-season.
Miscues: Although Syracuse did have 15 turnovers on Sunday, several were made by reserves late in the game and can’t really be counted against the starters. Although there were several bad passes made at times, it was nowhere near as bad as it has been lately. I also noted that the Orange players weren’t trying to fight through double and triple teams on transitions and clears in this game, which is also a good sign. Instead of charging headlong into a mob and losing the ball, they either backed out of problem or found an outlet pass. I can’t emphasize how big this is as it’s led to a lot of very avoidable turnovers in other games this year.
Goalies: Both Goldstock and Ball did a good job of fending off shots on both ends of the field. Goldstock finished with 11 saves for a 58% save rate. While it is true that the Orange scored 19 on the day, Ball kept the game from getting even more out of hand with 14 saves.
While Quimby, Hawryschuk and Donahue had really nice shots for goals as noted above, it was Levy’s goal at the 7:05 mark of the 2nd half that was easily the highlight of the game. Levy, just to the left of the goal, took a pass from Jimerson inside. She then moved in and with her back to the goal and off balance, bounced the ball between her legs past Ball as she was falling down. It was unique enough for the crowd of Syracuse offensive players to watch it on the replay screen above them as they huddled after the score.
Today was likely the last day for eight Orange players in the Dome, even with a shot at the NCAA Tournament. Donahue, Merola, Jimerson, DiBello, Coleman, Kelzi Van Atta and Zoe Recchion were honored before the game and today’s win was a nice sendoff to those players who put in a lot of effort for this program.
With the regular season wrapped up, seventh-seeded SU will travel to Durham, N.C. for the ACC Tournament where they will face No. 2 seed North Carolina (12-3, 6-1 ACC) on Thursday, April 26 at 5 p.m. ET. Syracuse faced the Tar Heels just a little over a week ago in the Dome, where they lost 20-11. I will be doing another update regarding the NCAAT and where the Orange and the rest of the ACC figures into all of this later in the week.