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Syracuse women’s lacrosse beats Florida, 14-13

Orange jump out early, hold on to beat the Gators

NCAA Football: Syracuse-Dino Babers Press Conference Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Following their tough overtime loss to Maryland on Saturday, the No. 4/4 Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team had another difficult road game to deal with in Gainesville, Fla. against no. 16/RV Florida. The Orange (7-2, 1-1 ACC) jumped out to an early lead against the Gators (3-4) and managed to hold on for a last second 14-13 nail biter on Wednesday night.

Florida drew first blood a little over a minute in on a Kassidy Bresnahan goal to take an early 1-0 lead. The Orange responded with a seven goal run over an 11 and a half minute stretch and lead 7-1 with 14:16 left in the half. However, the Gators came out attacking following a timeout. Florida capitalized on a number of Syracuse errors and steadily closed the gap over the next ten minutes. Eddy Shoop’s goal at the 1:55 mark cut the ‘Cuse advantage to 8-6 with 1:55 left in the half. SU coach Gary Gait called a timeout after that goal to regroup. Mary Rahal fired a quick shot past goalie Haley Hicklen less than 30 seconds later to temporarily stop the Gator momentum and the Orange took a 9-6 lead into the break.

The first six minutes out of halftime saw both teams attack the net with no result as both Asa Goldstock and Hicklen recorded several excellent saves each. Florida broke the impasse with a pair of quick goals 12 seconds apart. Lindsey Ronbeck weaved through the Orange defense and fired one past Goldstock just inside the 8 meter line to make it a one goal game at 9-8 with 23:38 left in the contest.

The Orange ended an 11-minute scoring drought with a Nicole Levy goal at the 20:33 mark to put the ‘Cuse back up by 2 at 10-8. The Gators managed to tie the game at 10 with a pair of goals with 13:52 remaining. However, every time Florida seemingly gained enough momentum to take control of the game, Syracuse had an answer. Meaghan Tyrrell’s free position bounce shot 90 seconds later put them back up 11-10 with 12:23 left. The freshman attacker and Levy would be instrumental for the ‘Cuse in the final minutes. Following a Florida free position goal that tied it once again, Tyrrell scored off of a Levy feed to give the lead back to the Orange with 9:06 left. Levy extended the Orange advantage with a free position rocket in the bottom left of the net roughly four minutes later. Syracuse was up 13-11 with just 5:11 left and it looked like they finally had some breathing room.

However, the Gators did not go away. Ronbeck scored on a man-up free position shot less than a minute later to cut the Orange lead to 13-12 with 4:27 to go. With less than a minute left, Grace Haus found the senior attacker cutting inside and game was knotted up again at 13 with just 44 seconds left to play.

SU got the ensuing critical draw control that gave them a chance to win in regulation. They took full advantage of the opportunity when a Florida foul with 10 seconds left put Tyrrell on the top of the free position fan. Tyrrell raced in and fired it into the high part of the net to give the Orange the lead with just 8 seconds left. Although the Gators did get the final draw control, they could not get a shot off and Syracuse escaped with the win.


  • Shots: Florida 38, Syracuse 24
  • Shots on Goal: Florida 25, Syracuse 22
  • Turnovers: Syracuse 15, Florida 7
  • Clears: Syracuse 18-19, Florida 13-13
  • Ground Balls: Florida 29, Syracuse 19
  • Draw Controls: Syracuse 16, Florida 13
  • Free Positions: Syracuse 5-9, Florida 5-14

Emily Hawryschuk (4 g, 1 a, 2 gb, 3 dc), Tyrrell (3 g, 1 a), Levy (2 g, 2 a), Rahal (2 g, 3 gb, 1 ct), Sam Swart (2 g, 2 gb, 1 ct), Vanessa Costantino (1 g, 1 dc), Grace Fahey (3 gb, 1 ct), Natalie Wallon (2 gb, 1 dc), Cara Quimby (2 gb, 1 ct), Ella Simkins (1 gb, 2 dc), Sarah Cooper (1 gb, 1 dc), Kerry Defliese & Alexa Radziewicz (1 gb each), Morgan Widner (6 dc), Megan Carney (2 dc), Goldstock (1 gb, 12 saves)

Key Factors

The Good

Draw Controls: Syracuse won the draw control battle 16-13 on Wednesday night, including a huge one with less than a minute to go. This was a big improvement over last year’s contest in the Dome, where Florida went 23-11 in this category. Widner’s season high six draw controls was a major factor in limiting Florida’s momentum throughout the game. Without the junior’s contribution, the Orange probably would have lost the draw control battle and possibly the game.

Offensive efficiency: Syracuse had nine goals on 11 shots in the first half and 14 on 22 overall. Given that they had only 24 shots for the game, it meant that Syracuse was very selective on where they wanted to put the shot in. It especially paid off early as the ‘Cuse opened up a 7-1 lead midway through the first half.

Asa Goldstock: The junior goalie has been on fire the last two games against Maryland and Florida. She had 10 saves against 12 goals versus the Terrapins which was her season best up to that point. She brought her A game once again to Gainesville, getting 12 saves against 13 goals. If she did not have that stellar performance on Wednesday night, the Orange do not win this game.

When the Chips Are Down: As with several games this year, the ‘Cuse has shown a tendency to bounce back at critical moments late in the game. Although the Gators tied the contest three times in the 2nd half, the Orange found a way to keep Florida from gaining the lead. The draw control with about 40 seconds left could not have come at a better time and as stated above SU took full advantage.

The Bad

Jekyll and Hyde 1st half: While Florida did take an early 1-0 lead (the only lead they would have for the game), Syracuse arguably played some of their best lacrosse in the first 15 minutes in the first half against Florida. The defense stuffed the Gator offense and the offense was regularly churning out goals at a rate of roughly one every two minutes in the first 16 minutes and it looked like it was going to be a rout. Then the Gators took a time out at the 14:16 mark and everything started to fall apart.

Part of it was due to the Florida ride causing problems, but a lot of it was also due to the Orange making a plethora of mistakes that looked a lot like the 2018 team: missed passes, fouls, lack of field awareness that led to several stick checks for turnovers and poor decisions on shot selection. Syracuse had a 10-3 turnover ratio in the first half (compared to 5-4 in the second half). To add perspective, Syracuse is averaging about 13 turnovers a game. Syracuse was outhustled in the ground ball department 29-19, but the Gators had a 17-8 advantage by the end of the half (2nd half was much closer 12-11 advantage for Florida).

It turned a 7-1 game into a 8-6 situation towards the end of the half. Syracuse re-focused a bit after a time out with just under two minutes left in the half, but the damage was done and Florida was back in the game. It would teeter back and forth for the rest of the contest.

Another opposing goalie goes red hot in the 2nd half: Hicklen had eight overall saves for the Gators against 14 goals, but six of those came in the 2nd half (against five Orange goals). She kept Florida within striking distance with several nice saves at the end of the 1st half and during the scoreless first six minutes after the break. At a time when Syracuse was already up 9-6, one or two goals puts the Orange up by four or five and pretty much could have finished the Gators off as it would have entirely negated their momentum that they built up.

Fouls/Cards: Syracuse came into the game with 17 cards (two minute man-up opportunities for opposing teams) or about two a game. It was out of control Wednesday night as the Orange racked up a lot of fouls and seven cards. It led to 14 free position shots for Florida. Three of the five free position goals came off of man-up situations due to cards. Goldstock was a major reason why the Gators went only 5-14 and this could have been potentially very costly for the ‘Cuse.

Up Next

Syracuse finishes their three-game road trip on Sunday afternoon against ACC foe Louisville (4-6, 0-2 ACC) at 12pm EST in Louisville, KY. The Orange won last year in the Dome 19-8 in what was a make or break game to get into the NCAA Tournament. The win eventually led them to finish .500 and qualify for NCAAT. Syracuse does have a considerable talent and experience advantage over the Cardinals but are on the tail end of a week long three game road stretch that has taken them to Maryland, Florida and now Kentucky so fatigue could play some part in this game. The contest will be televised online via ACCN Extra/WatchESPN.