It was cold and snowing outside of the Carrier Dome on Tuesday afternoon, but inside the No. 4/4 Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team (5-1, 0-1 ACC) started red-hot against No. 12/14 Loyola (1-2) en route to a 15-11 win.
The Orange probably played their best half all year against a quality team. Six different SU players combined to score the first seven goals of the game. Nicole Levy started the scoring just two minutes in with a sidewinder shot from the left side of the fan. Syracuse would score six more goals over the next 11 minutes to take a 7-0 lead with 17:30 left in the half.
On the other side, Loyola had trouble trying to penetrate the Orange defense. Asa Goldstock made two big saves at point blank range to maintain the shutout during this time. The Greyhounds finally got on the scoreboard at the 13:15 mark of the half when Eli Kluegel passed off to a cutting Sam Fiedler on a free position attempt.
SU responded to the Loyola goal with another run. Levy, Megan Carney and Mary Rahal all found the back of the net over a stretch of roughly two minutes to give the Orange their largest lead of the day at 10-1 with 8:58 left in the half. The Greyhounds finally found their footing and cut into the Syracuse lead. Livy Rosenzweig and Hannah Powers would score three goals between them make it a six goal game with 4:44 left. Emily Hawryschuk answered with a pair of goals and the Orange took a 12-4 lead into the break.
Fiedler would score again for Loyola less than a minute into the second half, but SU once again pushed the lead back out to nine with back-to-back goals by Carney and Sam Swart. The Orange had a 14-5 advantage just five minutes in.
The Greyhounds made the game interesting, scoring four straight goals over a 14 minute period to cut the Syracuse lead to 14-9, but they were steadily running out of time. SU broke the Loyola streak with less than seven minutes left when Natalie Wallon relayed a Carney pass to a wide open Levy in front of the goal. The senior attacker easily scored and the Orange were back up by six at 15-9. The Greyhounds did managed to score twice more, including one with just 19 seconds to play, but it was too little, too late.
- Shots: Syracuse 30, Loyola 23
- Shots on Goal: Syracuse 25, Loyola 19
- Turnovers: Syracuse 15, Loyola 15
- Clears: Syracuse 21-21, Loyola 17-18
- Ground Balls: Syracuse 22, Loyola 19
- Draw Controls: Syracuse 16, Loyola 12
- Free Positions: Loyola 2-4, Syracuse 2-7
Carney (3 g, 2 a, 2 gb), Hawryschuk (4 g, 1 gb), Swart (2 g, 2 a, 1 gb), Levy (3 g), Wallon (3 a, 2 gb, 1 ct), Rahal (2 g, 3 gb, 1 ct), Meaghan Tyrrell (1 g, 1 a, 1 gb), Ella Simkins (2 gb, 3 ct, 1 dc), Sarah Cooper (3 gb, 1 ct, 2 dc), Kerry Defliese (2 gb, 1 ct, 2 dc), Vanessa Costantino (1 gb, 1 ct, 1 dc), Grace Fahey (1 gb, 1 ct), Julie Cross (2 gb), Allyson Trice (1 gb), Braelie Kempney (10 dc), Goldstock (8 saves)
Fast Start: The Orange have had some good starts so far this year, but this first half was definitely the best. Loyola was only able to get a couple of good shots against a smothering SU defense for much of the half and the offense was firing on all cylinders. The Greyhounds definitely looked shell shocked when the Orange scored the first seven goals of the game. Loyola did make some runs later on to close the gap, but the game was never really in doubt after Syracuse went up by nine late in the first half. Insofar as there was a turning point, this was pretty much it, as the ‘Cuse never really gave Loyola a chance to get back into the game until time was running out.
Defense (again): For all the talk about the offensive weapons that SU has (and they have many), the defense definitely deserves its share of the credit. While the offense ran wild all over the Greyhound backline in the 1st half, the defense clamped down on Loyola early on and allowed only one goal in the almost the first 22 minutes of play. In the second half where the game slowed down considerably for the Orange, the defense still managed to cause problems with Loyola. While the SU offense cooled down following the break with an almost 19 minute scoring drought, the defense kept the Greyhounds at arms length and Loyola was able to manage just two goals in the first 17.5 minutes of the second half. When the Greyhounds finally did figure out how to crack the Orange defense, there simply was not enough time to stage a real comeback.
Draw Controls: Loyola did not have much of an answer for Kempney, who came in after the first couple of draws. The freshman ended up with 10 for the game or just about two-thirds of Orange output. At one point, SU had seven straight draws and 12 out of 13 to finish out the first half. Given the fact that Loyola has a pretty good veteran draw control unit, this effort could not have come at a better time for Syracuse. The Orange have won draw control battles in several games so far, but this effort was certainly the biggest. This will be an area to key in on when Virginia comes into the Dome on Saturday.
Starting to Become An Issue
There was a lot of good that came out of the Loyola game, but there is one problem that has lingered for Syracuse for much of the season so far. The Orange have had long periods in games where they have been unable to score. They had droughts of nine, 16 and eight minutes against Boston College, 18 minutes against Northwestern and almost 19 minutes against Loyola. There’s no question that those streaks hurt against the Eagles and it could have cost them against the Wildcats. They had a large enough lead against the Greyhounds, but Loyola did make things interesting for a while. Much of the scoring drought problem is due to SU forcing shots and the offense needs to find a way to solve this problem soon with Virginia coming up on Saturday plus Maryland and Florida in a couple of weeks. The offense has a slew of scoring threats, so this should not be an issue for this team.
The Orange will back in action on Saturday afternoon with an ACC conference matchup with No. 6/7 Virginia (5-0, 0-0 ACC) at 4pm in the Dome. The Cavaliers will be at the end of a seven game homestand for SU and have solid wins against Navy and Princeton so far. Virginia won last year’s contest 17-16 in Charlottesville.