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Syracuse women’s lacrosse falls to Virginia Tech, 15-14 in double overtime

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Hokies capitalize on a multitude of Orange mistakes to win.

2014 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

For the second year in a row, the regular season contest between the No. 14/18 Syracuse Orange and no. 17/14 Virginia Tech Hokies headed into overtime. However, unlike last year’s overtime win at SU Soccer Stadium, this one had a different ending for the Orange. The Hokies (11-4, 4-1 ACC) managed to capitalize on a cornucopia of Syracuse miscues to come from behind and pull off a 15-14 double overtime win at the Virginia Tech Indoor Facility on Saturday afternoon. It was the first win ever for a Hokie team in 10 tries against SU.

The Orange (8-6, 0-4 ACC) looked like they would break the game open in the first half as they went on a four goal run to take a 6-3 lead with just 3:25 left in the half. They would take a 6-4 advantage into the break.

A pair of Nicole Levy goals three minutes into the second half extended the ‘Cuse advantage to its largest of the day at 8-4. Virginia Tech took advantage of SU miscues and stormed back to tie the game at nine apiece with less than 16 minutes to go. Syracuse responded with another four-goal run to regain a 13-9 lead with eight minutes left. The Hokies made yet another four goal run over a five minute period, once again capitalizing on Syracuse mistakes. Paige Petty’s man-up free position goal knotted the game at 13 with 3:30 remaining. Emily Hawryschuk put the Orange back on top once again with a man-down free position goal of her own at the 2:11 mark. The Hokies gained the draw control and once again tied the game at 14 when Taylor Caskey scored on a free position shot to send it into overtime.

Turnovers by both sides characterized the first overtime and both had big opportunities to score. Virginia Tech’s chances came twice at the 1:48 and 1:22 marks but the shots were wide to the left and just over the crossbar respectively. The Cuse’s golden opportunity came with 20 seconds left. Hawryschuk split the seam between two Hokie defenders and had a chance right in front of the goal but lost control of the ball as she took the shot. The ball lazily popped up and over the crossbar.

Virginia Tech took the draw control in the second OT and wasted no time. Just 30 seconds in, Julia Bolte found Tristan McGinley cutting in front of the goal. McGinley took the pass and fired it past Asa Goldstock for the win.

Stats

Shots: Virginia Tech 33, Syracuse 27

Shots on Goal: Virginia Tech 26, Syracuse 18

Clears: Syracuse 14-15, Virginia Tech 14-16

Ground Balls: Virginia Tech 20, Syracuse 14

Draw Controls: Virginia Tech 17, Syracuse 16

Free Position Shots: Virginia Tech 7-17, Syracuse 7-10

Fouls: Syracuse 36, Virginia Tech 20

Yellow Cards: Syracuse 3, Virginia Tech 3

Levy led the scoring with seven points (6 g, 1 a), Sam Swart and Hawryschuk had three goals each. Alexa Radziewicz had a pair of ground balls, a caused turnover and a draw control. Lila Nazarian also had a pair of ground balls. Hawryschuk also had seven draw controls, Neena Merola added five and Kerry Defliese finished with three. Goldstock had 11 saves against 15 goals and three ground balls.

Turning Point

The whole sequence of events after Levy’s goal put Syracuse up 13-9 with a little over 10 minutes left to play. SU managed to get the ensuing draw control but turned the ball over twice, leading to the first goal of Virginia Tech’s comeback. The Hokies gained the draw control and scored the next off of a free position goal due to an SU foul. Syracuse gained the next draw but gave the ball up again due to an ill advised shot on goal. Virginia Tech took advantage of this opportunity to score again at the 4:32 mark.

A yellow card on Ella Simkins during that goal gave a free draw to Virginia Tech. Three fouls and a yellow card by Merola led to three free position opportunities for the Hokies. They converted on the last one to tie the game up at 13 with 3:30 remaining. Despite being a man down, Syracuse managed to get the draw and take the lead again when Hawryschuk scored on a free position goal with 2:11 left. A Hokie draw control and another Syracuse foul enabled Virginia Tech to get yet another free position goal with just 89 ticks left to send it into overtime to win. By that point, momentum had clearly shifted to the Hokies.

Big Factors

Self inflicted wounds: This was pretty much the only factor in this game. Let’s recap:

  • 16 turnovers, of which only four were forced.
  • Losing the ground ball battle by six (which includes two that the SU defense should have had but led to a pair of second chance Hokie goals).
  • 36 fouls which lead to 17 free position attempts. Virginia Tech scored seven off of these.
  • Three yellow cards: Virginia Tech scored one off of a free position listed above, but that particular yellow card gave the Hokies an automatic draw which enabled them to get the tying goal at the end of regulation.

That’s just the stats talking. The Orange missed passes all afternoon in almost every conceivable way. Passes were dropped, somewhat off the mark forcing a player to reach and get it, completely missed by the receiver or even just the passer completely missing the mark. This issue has been a serious problem all year long, but nowhere more evident than today’s game. With the talent that this team has, there’s no reason why SU should be having these kinds of problems with simple passing.

Virginia Tech had a pretty sloppy game as well:

  • 17 turnovers, five of which were forced.
  • 20 fouls which led to 10 free position attempts — Syracuse scored on seven of these.
  • Three yellow cards. Syracuse scored on all three man-up opportunities (two of these were free position goals).
  • Gave up a man-down goal (which was one of the free position goals for SU).
  • Hokie goalies getting only four saves all day

Syracuse was the more efficient team with their shots even though they were outshot. Of 33 Virginia Tech shots, 26 were on goal and this led to 15 goals or 58%. Syracuse, on the other hand, had 27 shots, 18 of which were on goal for 14 goals or 78%. As stated above, both teams scored seven goals off of free positions. Virginia Tech went 7-of-17 at a 41% rate. Syracuse was 7-of-10 with a 70% rate. Clearly, the Orange were shooting much better on goal and the higher efficiency was more than offset by an inability to execute. That was the difference on Saturday afternoon.

Up Next and Where do we go from here?

The Orange will get a week off before they tackle No. 5/5 North Carolina (9-3, 4-1 ACC) next Saturday in the Dome. Game time is at noon ET. This one is looking pretty crucial with only three games left. Boston College continues to roll with their win over Duke on Saturday in Durham, easily winning 18-8 in a rainstorm. Louisville was hammered by North Carolina on the same day 16-6, which will give the Tar Heels some momentum going into the Syracuse game. I’ll be putting up an updated NCAAT report later on in the week.