The last time the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins women’s lacrosse team lost on their home turf was 79 games (seven years) ago against the Syracuse Orange. The No. 4 Orange (6-2, 1-1 ACC) came very close to breaking that streak on Saturday afternoon, but came up just short in a 12-11 double overtime loss in College Park, Md.
Both teams started off slow, but the Terrapins (6-0) did strike just a little over two minutes in when senior midfielder Jen Giles darted forward on a free position attempt and fired it past goalie Asa Goldstock to give Maryland an early 1-0 lead.
But the game turned into a defensive contest and both teams had a hard time getting good looks at the goal. The Terps eventually scored seven minutes later when Caroline Steele found Grace Griffin in the middle of the Syracuse zone. The sophomore midfielder pivoted and found the upper right of the cage to give Maryland a 2-0 lead 10 minutes into the game.
The Orange finally got on the board 17 minutes in when a cutting Emily Hawryschuk got a quick pass in coverage from Megan Carney on a man-up situation. The junior attacker forced her way in and managed to put the ball past senior goalie Megan Taylor to cut the Terrapin lead to 2-1.
The scoring started to pick up after that with the teams trading goals for the next eight minutes. Syracuse seemed to have an answer for each Maryland score, but couldn’t quite get enough of a run going to tie it up. Steele fired a shot in from the right fan to put the Terps back up 5-3 with 4:58 left in the half.
The Orange finally put together a run in those final minutes. Just 52 seconds later, Nicole Levy found a wide open Mary Rahal in front of the goal. Rahal buried the shot and the Maryland lead was once again cut to one at 5-4. Two minutes later, Hawryschuk charged into the middle and scored to tie the game up. Syracuse was able to take the lead with 40 seconds left in the half when Carney lost her defender behind the cage. Levy passed to the wide open freshman attacker and the latter had no problems getting the goal. The Orange were able to take a 6-5 lead into halftime.
However, a dangerous shot called on Syracuse just a couple seconds before the 1st half ended gave Maryland a man-up situation going into the second half. Meghan Siverson tied it up just a minute and a half out of the break, ushering a 5-1 Terrapin run that lasted the next 10 minutes. Erica Evans scored on a high shot off of a free position attempt at the 19:54 mark and it looked like Maryland was finally going to break the game open.
The Orange did not panic and closed the gap over the next five minutes as both Hawryschuk and Meaghan Tyrrell scored on unassisted shots to make it a 10-9 game roughly midway through the second half. Steele answered for the Terps to push their advantage back to 11-9 with 13:36 left to play. Syracuse tied it up again at 11 on Levy and Hawryschuk goals with just under 12 minutes left in the contest.
It turned back into a grueling defensive fight as both backlines and goalies locked it down. Both sides had numerous opportunities to go ahead, but were turned back each time by stingy defenses and outstanding saves. Neither team was able to score in the last 12 minutes and the game went into overtime.
Both teams had golden opportunities in the first overtime. The Orange got the opening draw and had what was probably their best chance to win. Hawryschuk had beaten her defender (who fell down) just inside the top of the fan and had a wide open shot on goal. However, another Maryland defender moved in front just as Hawryschuk was about to let it go. Hawryschuk pulled back to avoid a dangerous shot call, but the ball popped out of her stick and it was easily picked up by Taylor in goal. Interestingly enough, a shooting space violation was not called and play continued. Shortly after that, Syracuse dodged a bullet when Goldstock deflected a pass and ran after it. She corralled the ground ball, but stepped on the endline . Maryland regained possession, but the SU goalie trotted back towards goal not realizing that play had begun. The Terrapins had a chance to get an open goal, but the pass to Brindi Griffin was blocked off by two Orange defenders and the moment passed.
The Terrapins corralled the draw at the start of the second overtime and never gave Syracuse a chance to score again. Maryland was able to get a free position attempt with 17 seconds left on the shot clock. Hannah Warther had it on right side of the fan and passed it to a wide open Kali Hartshorn cutting in front of the goal. The junior attacker easily found the back of the net to give the Terps the win.
Syracuse GOAL! Meaghan Tyrrell gets her third of the day and deficit is down to one, 10-9. pic.twitter.com/FHfxsLL3Sp— Syracuse Women's Lax (@CuseWLAX) March 9, 2019
- Shots: Syracuse 27, Maryland 27
- Shots on Goal: Syracuse 23, Maryland 22
- Turnovers: Maryland 18, Syracuse 11
- Clears: Maryland 16-18, Syracuse 20-23
- Ground Balls: Syracuse 14, Maryland 10
- Draw Controls: Maryland 18, Syracuse 8
- Free Position Shots: Maryland 3-8, Syracuse 0-3
Hawryschuk (4 g, 1 gb, 1 dc), Tyrrell (3 g, 1 a, 2 gb), Levy (2 g, 2 a, 1 gb), Carney (1 g, 2 a), Rahal (1 g, 1 a), Kerry Defliese (3 gb, 2 ct, 1 dc), Sarah Cooper (3 gb, 2 ct), Ella Simkins (1 gb, 3 ct, 4 dc), Natalie Wallon (2 ct), Julie Cross (2 dc), Vanessa Costantino (1 gb), Goldstock (2 gb, 1 ct, 10 saves)
The Turning Point
In a game that had only a few dramatic swings that tipped the scales, it really came down to the endgame. Syracuse’s three goal run before halftime was offset by Maryland’s 5-1 run throughout the second half, which was in turn offset by the 4-1 Orange spurt to finish scoring in regulation.
Both teams had really good opportunities to score in the first overtime, as described above. Syracuse did have one more chance in that initial overtime with less than a minute left. The Orange did manage to regain possession following the open goal moment with Carney eventually pushing it up the near side and into the offensive zone with 28 seconds remaining. Following a clock stoppage with 22 seconds left, Hawryschuk moved it up towards the left of the fan but never saw Maryland defender Julia Braig coming up behind her. Braig knocked the ball out of Hawryschuk’s stick and both teams went after the loose ball. Levy eventually corralled it, but there were only 15 seconds left and SU’s offense had to scramble to get back into scoring position.
Levy moved it to the top of the fan before passing off to Sam Swart with just 10 seconds left who flipped it back to Levy a couple of seconds later. Levy faked a shot and flipped it to Swart again but the pass was off. Hawryschuk got the ground ball, but was well outside of the shooting arc with only a couple of seconds left and never had a chance to get a shot off. Braig’s stick check left Syracuse out of position and they never had an opportunity to shoot.
In the second overtime, Hartshorn easily got her own draw and Maryland moved to the attack. Following the SU foul, Warther lined up for the free position and found Hartshorn for the winning goal. A replay of that free position showed that both Hartshorn and Brindi Griffin were side-by-side on the other side of the fan with only Grace Fahey to defend them. Griffin was situated between Fahey and Hartshorn, which left the latter with an opportunity to move towards goal after Warther started up the free position play. Hartshorn was wide open as the SU defense realized the problem too late. Warther saw Hartshorn going in the whole time and passed it off for the winning goal.
Goalies: Both Taylor and Goldstock had fantastic games in goal with 12 and 10 saves respectively. This was particularly true in the 2nd half when Taylor had four big saves in the last 12 minutes and this probably was the difference between victory and defeat for the Terrapins. Goldstock’s almost 50% save rate was her best performance this year so far.
Defenses: Both teams came into the game averaging about 15-16 goals a game. However, both defenses played very tight throughout the game and caused a number of long scoring droughts. Maryland’s man-to-man defense caused a lot of problems early on for the Orange offense and was a big reason why Syracuse started the game with a 17 minute scoring drought. Conversely, SU’s zone defense with one or two rovers often collapsed on Maryland cutters in the middle, denying them opportunities for easy goals.
Draw Controls/Turnovers: It was another game where SU lost big in the draw circle (18-8), but made up for it by winning the turnover battle (11-18). While it would be better if the Orange could get closer to that 50/50 mark, the turnover ratio is definitely making up for the draw deficiency in several games so far.
Free positioning: The last Maryland goal has been a bit symptomatic in several games for the Orange this year. There has been an inability to see a stacking up (two players to one defender) on the opposite side of the fan (most notably in the Loyola game) and it’s cost SU some goals this year, but none more so than on Saturday. I’m unsure if they can re-position to adjust to this, but having open players routinely cut to goal in those situations has led to some pretty easy scores on the Orange this year.
This and That
Between Syracuse’s 10-9 win over Maryland back in 2012 in College Park and Saturday’s game, the Orange have lost to the Terrapins by an average of five goals per game (this is over 11 games played between the two teams between 2012 and 2019). Over the last three years, the average was much wider at eight goals per game (4 games between 2016 and 2018).
Although SU again lost on Saturday to Maryland, the game seemed different than in previous years. When Maryland went up 10-7 early in the second half, there was the potential for the Terrapins to blow the game wide open and start the rout. Indeed, this is what happened the last several years. However, the ‘Cuse dug in, got back into the game and had opportunities to win at the end. When one considers that this team with many of the same players lost 18-11 last year in the Dome, an overtime loss (as disappointing as it was) in College Park is an improvement. The regular season, as in any sport really, is a prelude to the post-season. The Orange still have improvements to make, but with roughly half a season left, they haven’t necessarily peaked yet and I don’t think we’ve seen this team at their best yet. It’s entirely possible that these two teams will meet again in the NCAAT and this game could be considered a stepping stone for success later on.
Syracuse continues its road trip with a matchup against no. 16/RV Florida (3-3) on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET in Gainesville, Fla. The Gators have struggled a bit this year, with losses to Maryland, Loyola and Navy. Florida comes into the game having won their last two games though, including a 16-15 win over a good High Point team on Saturday afternoon. The Gators will probably move up a little bit in the polls while the Orange’s close loss to Maryland shouldn’t have any impact on their current no. 4 ranking.