Riding high on a five-game win streak, the No. 3/4 Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team headed to Durham for a key ACC matchup with No. 13/12 Duke, who has one of the best draw control groups in the country. The Orange (12-2, 4-1 ACC) were able to hold off a late Blue Devil (8-4, 2-2 ACC) rally to escape with a 15-14 win on Saturday afternoon.
Mini-runs and turnovers dominated the entire game from start to finish. The ‘Cuse drew first blood by taking advantage of several Duke miscues with a pair of goals in the first three minutes of the game. Emily Hawryschuk and Meaghan Tyrrell’s goals put SU up 2-0 at the 26:54 mark.
However, Duke settled down and in turn took advantage of Orange errors. A three goal run by the Blue Devils within a four minute stretch gave them a 3-2 lead just about 10 minutes into the game. Syracuse responded by getting a pair of goals two minutes apart by Mary Rahal and Sam Swart to regain the lead at 4-3 with 16:45 left in the half. The see-saw battle continued as both teams went on two goal runs that kept the Orange advantage at 6-5 with 10:45 remaining.
The Blue Devils threatened to break open the game late in the half, scoring three straight to give Duke their largest lead of the game. Scores by Abby Landry, Olivia Jenner and Ellie Majure put the Blue Devils up 8-6 at the 6:12 mark. A pair of goals by Levy and Sierra Cockerille within a minute of each other knotted the game back up at 8 with 4:12 left.
Syracuse went back up with just 26 seconds left in the half when Hawryschuk wound her way across the cage and sidewinded a shot past Gabbe Cadoux in the lower left corner. Up to this point, Duke had dominated the draw circle (and would continue to do so for the game) and with very little time left before halftime, it paid handsome dividends after the Hawryschuk goal. Jenner grabbed her draw single handed and drove straight downfield past an unprepared Orange defense. The senior attacker/draw specialist wove slightly through a pair of Syracuse defenders and got a shot past Asa Goldstock (also in the low left corner) to tie the game just 10 seconds later. The ‘Cuse did have a chance to retake the lead as they won the ensuing draw control, but Cara Quimby’s shot was blocked by Cadoux as time expired.
Duke started the scoring shortly after the break when Jenner’s feed to Landry broke the 9-9 tie just two minutes in. The Blue Devils had regained the lead, but the Orange defensive adjustments at halftime came into play. Much like the Notre Dame game last weekend, the backline stifled the Duke offensive attack. The Blue Devils’ main scoring threat in Charlotte North who had averaged five goals a game going into this match, was face-guarded all day and could manage only one assist for the day. However, the focus on the sophomore attacker opened up opportunities for other Duke players. Jenner, who was second on the team with three goals a game, had a field day in the first half with five. However, she would manage just one more for the entire second half and that did not come until late.
Despite numerous execution issues on the offensive end, the Orange slowly turned the game to their advantage. Swart, Tyrrell and then Swart again scored over a seven minute stretch that put Syracuse back in the driver’s seat at 12-10 with 19:45 left in the contest. Duke stayed in the game by closing the advantage to one twice, but the ‘Cuse took the largest lead on either side when Tyrrell and Hawryschuk got a pair of goals to put the visitors up 15-12 with just 5:03 remaining. It looked like SU finally had some breathing room.
As had happened all afternoon, Duke made a final comeback. Katie Cronin answered a minute later on a free position shot from the center hash of the fan to cut the lead to 15-13 with 4:06 left.
With time running out, North had arguably her best chance to score with a free position attempt with just 2:43 left. Goldstock dropped down and deflected the low shot and temporarily kept it a two goal contest. Syracuse could not make the successful clear and after a foul, the Blue Devils regained possession. Goldstock made another critical free position save, but after another Orange foul Jenner took advantage of an unsettled SU defense and scored with just 1:50 remaining. The game had turned once again into a one goal nail-biter at 15-14.
Duke won the ensuing draw control and had a chance to tie the game. The Blue Devils patiently passed around as the clock wound down. However, with 52 seconds to go, Duke made a critical error when a missed pass crossed the end line. The Orange regained possession and ran out the clock.
- Shots: Duke 29, Syracuse 26
- Shots on Goal: Syracuse 22, Duke 20
- Turnovers: Duke 20, Syracuse 14
- Clears: Syracuse 19-21, Duke 12-15
- Ground Balls: Syracuse 16, Duke 9
- Draw Controls: Duke 21, Syracuse 10
- Free Positions: Syracuse 3-6, Duke 3-8
Hawryschuk (4 g, 1 a, 1 ct, 1 dc), Swart & Tyrrell (3 g, 1 a each), Nicole Levy (2 g), Rahal (1 g, 1 a, 1 gb, 1 ct), Cockerille (1 g, 1 a, 1 gb), Julie Cross (1 g), Vanessa Costantino (1 a, 1 gb, 2 dc), Sarah Cooper (2 gb, 2 dc), Ella Simkins (1 gb, 2 ct), Alexa Radziewicz ( 1 gb), Kerry Defliese (3 ct), Grace Fahey (1 ct, 2 dc), Morgan Widner (3 dc), Goldstock (9 gb, 1 ct, 6 saves)
In a game that saw numerous turnovers (both teams had roughly equal amounts of unforced and caused turnovers), it ultimately came down to a missed pass in the final minute that secured the victory for the Orange.
With 1:50 left in the game, Duke had regained the momentum after scoring twice to cut an Orange three goal lead down to one at 15-14. Maddie Jenner (freshman and younger sister of Olivia and is a draw control threat in her own right) managed to corral the draw and the Blue Devils had a chance to tie the game up for the ninth time in the afternoon. With a 17 second difference in the shot clock, Duke patiently passed the ball around, looking for a scoring opportunity. Syracuse was playing their typical zone but had both Olivia Jenner and North face-guarded tightly.
Just inside around the top of the 12 meter arc, midfielder Veronica Hineman passed to Majure, who was cutting in from the top left side of the 8 meter fan. Majure had pulled Radziewicz and Simkins to her and quickly stopped, passing off to a now open Catherine Cordrey, who had swung around the left side of the goal circle. The pass sailed just behind Cordrey, who fell as she tried to turn back to grab the pass. The ball quickly bounced across the end line and the Orange gained possession with just 52 ticks on the clock. The execution of the play was actually sound as Cordrey would have had a one on one with Goldstock and a reasonable chance to tie the game. However, the pass was not on target and Syracuse was able to escape with the win.
Draw Control/Turnovers: The Olivia/Maddy Jenner combination accounted for 18 of Duke’s 21 draw controls and the Blue Devils out drew the Orange 21-10 for the game. Duke does have a very good draw control unit overall and it’s probably not surprising that they were able to win this battle handily. That was part of the reason why they were able to stay in the game. However, their 20 turnovers largely counteracted that advantage and enabled SU to start pulling ahead in the second half. However, the Orange also had 14 turnovers for the game and that in turn nullified numerous opportunities to put this game away much sooner. Overall, it was a sloppy game that could have gone either way. With an upcoming contest against UNC in a couple of weeks, SU cannot afford to have that many turnovers as the Tar Heels are unlikely to commit as many as Duke had on Saturday.
2nd Half Defense: While the backline gave up nine goals in the first half, they tightened up after halftime. As stated above, Jenner and North were mostly non-factors in the final 30 minutes and the Blue Devils were able to score only a pair of goals between their go ahead goal at the 28:05 mark and their comeback with 4:05 left to play. Goldstock, who had just two saves in the first half, had four saves against five goals in the second, which includes the pair of huge free positions saves towards the end of the game.
Offensive Diversity: Although the offense struggled a times throughout the game, the multiple scoring threats ultimately proved to be a difference. While Duke had two major scorers in North and Jenner coming into the game, neither one had a big impact in the second half (and North didn’t have any impact through the contest). While North and Jenner did pull SU faceguards which opened up some scoring opportunities for other players, it’s obvious that the loss of their two major scorers had an impact. By contrast, Hawryschuk and Levy, though faceguarded, combined for a half dozen goals between them. However, it was Swart and Tyrrell who came up big today with a hat trick apiece. In any given game, most of the Orange offensive players can have a big day. In short, it is very difficult to completely shut this offense down.
Syracuse heads back home for a mid-week ACC matchup against No. 21/RV Virginia Tech (8-5, 2-2 ACC). The game will be at CBA on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET. The Hokies beat the Orange last year 15-14 in double overtime. Common opponents this year for Virginia Tech are Duke (11-10 OT loss) and Louisville 17-16 win).