It looked a little like deja vu all over again on a chilly Wednesday afternoon when the No. 3/3 Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team took on no. 21/RV Virginia Tech at Christian Brothers Academy. Last year, the Orange (13-2, 5-1 ACC) gave up a four-goal lead in the final eight minutes in Blacksburg en route to a 15-14 OT loss. This time around, the Hokies (8-6, 1-3 ACC) trailed 14-9 with less than eight minutes left before they started to make a comeback. However, the ‘Cuse had just enough of a lead this year to hold off the Gobblers 14-13.
Syracuse struck first only a minute in when Megan Carney sent a pass from behind the goal to a cutting Mary Rahal. Rahal dumped the shot past Hokie goalie Morgan Berman and SU led 1-0. The Orange followed up several minutes later with three more at the 26 minute mark. Carney, Vanessa Costantino and Meaghan Tyrrell all scored in a 52 second span to increase the lead to 4-0 less than four minutes into the game. Virginia Tech eventually got on the board at the 23:14 mark on a Julia Bolte goal, but Syracuse continued maintain a steady pace and eventually pushed the advantage to five at 7-2 with 19:14 left in the half. From this point on, the teams traded scores until halftime as the Orange lead oscillated between three and four goals, taking a 10-6 lead into the break.
As with the first half, Syracuse came out firing in the second. Carney scored on an open net free position due to a foul by Berman to make it 11-6 with 27:15 left to play. Less than a minute later, Emily Hawryschuk bounced one in off of a Carney feed and the Orange had their largest lead of the day at 12-6 with 26:20 remaining. The Hokies responded over the next six minutes. Goals by Paige Petty (who would lead all scorers with five goals on the afternoon) and Taylor Caskey cut the Syracuse lead in half at 12-9 with 20:44 left. Costantino and Hawryschuk stabilized the Orange lead with a two goal run that put the ‘Cuse back up by five at 14-9 with exactly 17 minutes to play. It would be last time that SU would score for the rest of the game.
It remained the same for the next 10 minutes before the Hokies managed to make things interesting. Emma Crooks scored from the top of the fan on a free position to break the impasse at the 7:29 mark and the Syracuse lead was 14-10. However, time increasingly became a factor as neither team could score in the next five minutes. Virginia Tech made one last run towards the end. Emma Harden’s man-up goal with less than three minutes left cut the lead to 14-11. The Orange lead dwindled further when the Gobblers won the ensuing draw and pushed downfield. With just 91 seconds left on the clock, Kelci O’Donnell took a Bolte pass and found the back of the net in traffic to make it 14-12.
The Orange won the next draw control, but turned it over with less than a minute left. The Hokies wasted no time moving the ball upfield and Caskey wove through traffic to cut the Syracuse lead to just one at 14-13 with 30 seconds left. Once again, the Orange found themselves in a one goal game.
The following draw control would decide the contest. Grace Fahey finally nabbed a bouncing ball that several players from both teams fought over and drew a foul. Syracuse kept possession and were able to run out the clock to preserve the victory.
Visual Recap— Syracuse Women's Lax (@CuseWLAX) April 4, 2019
Syracuse 14, Virginia Tech 13 pic.twitter.com/SMZFRNVn9e
- Shots: Virginia Tech 27, Syracuse 26
- Shots on Goal: Syracuse 20, Virginia Tech 20
- Turnovers: Syracuse 18, Virginia Tech 16
- Clears: Syracuse 15-17, Virginia Tech 13-15
- Ground Balls: Virginia Tech 18, Syracuse 16
- Draw Controls: Syracuse 16, Virginia Tech 13
- Free Positions: Syracuse 2-4, Virginia Tech 2-7
Carney (4 g, 5 a, 1 gb), Hawryschuk (3 g, 1 a, 3 gb, 5 dc), Tyrrell (2 g, 1 a, 2 ct), Costantino (2 g, 1 gb, 1 dc), Nicole Levy (1 g, 3 a), Rahal (1 g, 1 dc), Kerry Defliese (2 gb, 2 ct, 2 dc), Sarah Cooper (2 gb, 1 ct, 3 dc), Ella Simkins (3 gb), Sam Swart (2 gb), Fahey ( 1 gb, 2 dc), Alexa Radziewicz (1 gb), Morgan Widner & Braelie Kempney (1 dc each)
With less than a minute left in the first half, Virginia Tech was starting to make a game of it after Syracuse jumped out to a five goal lead. As the clock ran down with the Orange on top 9-6, Carney sent a pass from behind the goal to Levy, who was cutting across in front. Levy took the pass, attempted a shot from her right shoulder, decided against it and pivoted back to her right. The senior attacker flicked a low shot from her right hip past Berman and the ‘Cuse lead 10-6 at the half.
Early in the second half, Carney was knocked down in front of the cage while trying to get a pass from Tyrrell. Berman was called for the foul and had go to a position behind Carney, which meant the freshman attacker had a wide open shot for the free position. Carney simply fired straight in from the right fan hash mark and the lead was back to five at 11-6. Syracuse found itself in a man-up situation following a yellow card on Jordan Tilley. Shortly after that foul, two quick passes from Levy to Carney and then to Hawryschuk enabled the latter to slam dunk a shot past Berman to give the Orange their largest lead of the day at 12-6 with 26:20 left in the game.
The 3-0 ‘Cuse run in that span of almost four minutes gave them just enough cushion to achieve the margin of victory. Although the Hokies would outscore SU 7-2 from that point on, the defense played well enough throughout the second half that the Hokies simply ran out of clock to send it into overtime.
We're an hour away from go time! pic.twitter.com/pFskSYaEne— Syracuse Women's Lax (@CuseWLAX) April 3, 2019
Megan Carney: The freshman attacker was the game MVP with four goals and five assists, which meant that she was involved in about 2/3 of the Orange scoring for the afternoon. Carney’s been quiet for the last few games and her breakout performance could not have come at a better time.
Scoring Depth: Different players on the offensive end continue to contribute in games. Against Notre Dame it was Hawryschuk, Swart and Cara Quimby who delivered the majority of the goals. In the Duke game it was Hawryschuk again who came up big, but Swart, Tyrrell and Levy also had key performances. In the Virginia Tech contest, it was Carney and Hawryschuk, but Tyrrell and Costantino were important as well. Despite some issues on the offensive end with long droughts, the diversity of scoring potential remains an important strength with this team.
The Charmed Life: For the second game in a row and for the sixth time this season, Syracuse wound up in a one goal game (the Orange are currently 5-1 in this category). It came down to a missed pass that enabled SU to get the win over Duke this past weekend and they also had some help from Virginia Tech on Wednesday. Berman had two critical errors that led to a pair of Orange goals. The first occurred in the first half, when the ball bounced out of her stick and past the goal line, leading to an own goal and giving Syracuse a 6-1 lead at the time. The other was the foul in the second half on Carney that led to the latter getting a wide open free position attempt, also a score. However, the Orange had another big scoring drought that lasted through the final 17 minutes of the game and largely erased a six goal lead. Simply put, they need to figure out a way to put teams away.
Syracuse will have a long rest of ten days for their next game. They’ll travel down to Chapel Hill to face no. 6/5 North Carolina (9-3) on Saturday, April 13 at noon ET (should be streamed on ACCN through WatchESPN). The Tar Heels have slid in the polls in the last week or so following losses to Boston College (14-8) and Notre Dame (9-7). They’ve faced a number of similar Orange foes in Maryland (13-12 OT loss), Northwestern (21-11 win), Virginia (13-12 win), Florida (11-9) and Virginia Tech (19-5). North Carolina pasted Syracuse twice last year, both by nine goal margins. They won 20-11 in the Dome during the regular season and 21-12 in the first round of the ACCT. The Orange look to avenge both of these defeats and keep their no. 3 ranking in the polls as well as secure a 2 seed in the ACCT.