With their third game against a ranked opponent in a week, the No. 4/4 Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team finished a seven game homestand on a high note. The Orange (6-1, 1-1 ACC) slowly opened up a seven goal lead early in the second half en route to a 16-11 win over the No. 6/7 Virginia Cavaliers (5-1, 0-1 ACC) on Saturday afternoon.
SU jumped out to a 2-0 lead four minutes into the game off of Emily Hawryschuk and Mary Rahal goals. The Cavaliers would keep it within one or two goals throughout much of the first half and trailed only 5-4 with 8:48 left when Avery Shoemaker scored on a man-up situation.
Syracuse broke the game open after that Cavalier goal by going on a 5-1 run for the rest of the half. This was punctuated by a pair of bullets fired off by Nicole Levy off of free position shots towards the end of the half, the latter coming just 13 seconds before halftime. The Orange led 10-5 at the break.
The ‘Cuse extended the lead throughout the early part of the second half, taking a 13-6 lead with 22:12 left in the game.
The Cavaliers would eventually respond and took advantage of a 14 minute Orange scoring drought, getting a trio of goals over the next nine minutes. Syracuse got a little sloppy during the stretch and Virginia cut the lead to 13-9 with 13:40 left. But the Hoos would remain scoreless for the next nine minutes.
The clock continued to be a factor for the Cavaliers as neither team scored for the next five minutes. SU finally ended the drought when Meaghan Tyrrell found a seam in the Cavalier defense and drove in for a goal. SU was back up by five at 14-9 with 8:23 left to play.
Virginia finally broke their scoring drought with a quick pair of goals within 22 seconds of each other. The Cavaliers were within striking range at 14-11 with just four and a half minutes left in the game.
However, SU once again made critical plays down the stretch. Hawryschuk chased down her own draw control and the Orange patiently whittled away at the clock. With the shot clock winding down Tyrrell found Megan Carney behind the goal. Carney swung around the goal circle and buried the shot past Cavalier goalie Charlie Campbell to give Syracuse a 15-11 advantage with 3:01 left. The Orange continued to work the clock and deny any easy shots for Virginia. Rahal stuck the exclamation point on a transition feed from Sam Swart with 33 ticks left to finish the scoring for the day.
- Shots: Syracuse 31, Virginia 25
- Shots on Goal: Syracuse 21, Virginia 17
- Turnovers: Virginia 21, Syracuse 11
- Clears: Virginia 16-17, Syracuse 21-25
- Ground Balls: Virginia 24, Syracuse 21
- Draw Controls: Virginia 16, Syracuse 13
- Free Position Shots: Syracuse 2-2, Virginia 3-8
Hawryschuk (4 g, 1 gb, 4 dc), Rahal (2 g, 3 a, 2 gb), Levy (2 g, 2 a, 1 gb), Swart (2 g, 1 a, 1 gb, 1 dc), Natalie Wallon (2 g, 1 ct, 2 dc), Cara Quimby (2 g), Carney (1 g, 2 a), Tyrrell (1 g, 1 gb), Kerry Defliese (4 gb, 3 ct), Alexa Radziewicz (3 gb, 3 ct), Sarah Cooper (2 gb, 3 ct, 1 dc), Ella Simkins (1 gb, 3 ct, 2 dc), Alyssa Costantino (2 gb, 1 ct), Grace Fahey and Julie Cross (1 gb each), Lila Nazarian (1 ct), Braelie Kempney (3 dc), Asa Goldstock (1 gb, 6 saves)
The Turning Point
Syracuse kept the lead the entire game and it was never tied outside of the 0-0 start. The Orange had a seven goal lead at 13-6 about eight minutes into the second half and it looked like SU would cruise to an easy win. Virginia had other ideas and went on a 5-1 run over a roughly 18 minute period. The Cavaliers chewed up a lot of time to make that comeback and trailed 14-11 with only 4:29 left in the game.
Virginia had been doing well at the draw circle and scored their last two goals within 22 seconds of each other. Given the fact that SU was down by a pair with a little over five minutes left against Northwestern the weekend before and forced it into overtime, the possibility of a Cavalier comeback was not out of the question, particularly if they could get the ensuing draw control.
Following a Syracuse timeout, Hawryschuk and Virginia’s Anna Hauser (who finished the day with four of the Hoos’ 16 draws) went back to the circle for the ensuing crucial draw. Hauser had used her height advantage to cause problems for Kempney in the draw circle for much of the afternoon and Coach Gary Gait decided to go with the junior attacker instead. Hawryschuk scooped up the draw off of a bounce and pushed it into the attacking zone. The Orange patiently worked the ball around the perimeter, steadily draining the clock. With the shot clock running down, Tyrrell worked it inside and then passed it off to Carney behind the goal. With about six seconds left on the shot clock, Carney swung around the left side and pulled the trigger, sending a high shot into the upper left of the cage.
It was the worst possible scenario for the Cavaliers’ comeback hopes as Syracuse pushed the lead back to four with 3:01 left and used up almost 90 seconds of precious time. Virginia did manage to corral the following draw, but wasted over 30 seconds trying to set up a shot. Radziewicz got a piece of a pass inside in front of the goal and picked up a critical ground ball. The Orange were able to clear it out of the defensive zone and use up more time. Although the Cavaliers would eventually get the ball back with a minute left, time had effectively run out for them and Rahal would score one more time with 33 seconds remaining to complete the win.
Defense, defense and more defense: The backline has been a major part of the Orange success so far this season and this game wasn’t any different. They held the Cavaliers scoreless for the first 11 minutes of the game and allowed only one goal during a crucial 15 minute stretch at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. They also held Virginia scoreless for nine minutes during the SU scoring drought later on. While there were a number of players involved in this, Defliese, Radziewicz, Cooper and Simkins caused all sorts of problems for the Cavaliers by picking up 10 of SU’s 21 ground balls and 12 of the 15 caused turnovers (Virginia had 21 overall turnovers in this game).
Diverse scoring: Six Orange players had at least two goals against Virginia. Hawryschuk led the team with four goals, with Swart, Levy, Rahal, Wallon, and Quimby all getting two each. Carney and Tyrrell’s single goals came at major moments late in the game that broke up Cavalier runs. With so many potential scoring threats, this team will see a lot of success throughout the rest of the year if they can limit the...
Scoring Droughts: Syracuse had an eight-minute stretch in the first half (26 to 18 minute marks) and a big one in the second half of 14 (22 to 8 minute marks). So far, the problem has been partially negated due to the defensive play, but the Orange face very potent offenses in the near future (in a week or so) against Maryland and Florida. If SU wants to win either or both of those games, they cannot be off the scoreboard for 15-20 minutes at a time.
Draw Controls: Virginia won this battle 16-13, but considering the problems Syracuse had last year against this team, it was a marked improvement. Kempney had a fair performance against the Cavaliers, pulling down three draws but Hauser’s height advantage caused her some problems. Hawryschuk (who had four draws for the day in the circle) fared a bit better. However, it’s clear that the two will continue to complement each other as the season continues.
This and That
The Virginia game finished off what was a seven-game homestand for the Orange that included four ranked teams (Boston College, Northwestern, Loyola and Virginia). Syracuse now has a week of much needed rest before they head off on a big road trip that includes Maryland, Florida and Louisville. This week’s stretch of ranked opponents was a serious boost for the Orange as they came out of it with flying colors, particularly since two of those teams were ones they had problems with last year. These are the types of games they need to win if they want to get to Memorial Day weekend.
Syracuse will travel to College Park to face No. 2/2 Maryland (5-0) on Saturday at noon ET in a huge top-ive matchup. The Terrapins have beaten Florida (17-12) and No. 3 North Carolina (13-12 in OT) so far this year. Maryland beat Syracuse 18-11 last year in the Dome.