It has been three years since the fifth-seeded Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. Standing in their path was a Georgetown Hoyas squad that pulled off two straight upsets (over Denver and Penn) prior to this game. The Orange (16-4) were up to the task, beating the Hoyas (12-9) 14-8 on a cold, rainy Mother’s Day afternoon at the SU Soccer Stadium.
Emily Hawryschuk struck first for the Orange just two minutes in when Megan Carney found her inside for the score on the doorstep. Beyond that opening goal however, neither team could muster much offense in the initial portion of the first half. It would be another 11 minutes before someone else found the net. Georgetown’s Francesca Whitehurst scored on a free position attempt to tie the game at one with about 17 minutes left in the half. The scoring picked up following that goal. Sam Swart and Ali Diamond both had goals for the Orange and Hoyas respectively in short order and the contest remained tied at two with 12 and a half minutes left before the break.
Syracuse finally broke the game open with a three goal run. Vanessa Costantino, Carney and then Carney again scored within a two minute frame to put SU up 5-2 with 9:24 left in the half. Georgetown kept it close with a pair of Morgan Ryan goals to offset a Natalie Wallon man-up score to make it a 6-4 game with 93 seconds left until halftime. Hawryschuk answered with a rare free position drive to goal score with just seven ticks on the clock and the Orange went back up by three at 7-4 going into the break.
The second half started much the same as the beginning of the game when Carney once again found Hawryschuk on the doorstep to push the ‘Cuse lead to 8-4 about three minutes in. However, the SU offense stalled for a bit as they did in the first half with several turnovers. The Hoyas had trouble solving the Syracuse defense and when they did, Asa Goldstock was able to make big saves to keep them at arms length. Both teams could manage only three goals between them over a 17 minute stretch. Emily Ehle for Georgetown and Carney traded goals to maintain the four goal Orange advantage at 9-5 with 20:37 left.
Despite repeated attempts to cut into the Syracuse lead, Georgetown could never get any closer than three. Michaela Bruno’s goal at the 15:23 mark represented the last time the Hoyas threatened to get back into the game. However, the Orange slammed the door on Georgetown by closing out the game on a 5-2 run.
- Shots: Syracuse 27, Georgetown 24
- Shots on Goal: Syracuse 19, Georgetown 16
- Turnovers: Syracuse 18, Georgetown 17
- Clears: Georgetown 16-16, Syracuse 22-27
- Ground Balls: Syracuse 19, Georgetown 15
- Draw Controls: Georgetown 14, Syracuse 10
- Free Positions: Syracuse 4-9, Georgetown 2-5
Hawryschuk (5 g, 2 a), Carney (3 g, 2 a, 1 gb), Meaghan Tyrrell (1 g, 2 a, 3 gb), Swart (2 g), Wallon (1 g, 1 a, 1 gb), Costantino & Julie Cross (1 g each), Nicole Levy & Sierra Cockerille (1 a each), Sarah Cooper (4 gb, 2 ct, 3 dc), Grace Fahey (2 gb, 2 ct, 4 dc), Kerry Defliese (3 gb, 1 ct), Ella Simkins (1 gb, 1 ct), Alexa Radziewicz (1 ct), Lila Nazarian & Allyson Trice (1 gb each), Morgan Widner (2 dc), Braelie Kempney (1 dc), Goldstock (2 gb, 1 ct, 8 saves)
The Turning Point
Syracuse and Georgetown traded goals throughout the first half to keep it a two or three score contest. The Hoyas had just cut the lead to a pair for the third time in the half when Ryan (who would lead Georgetown in scoring for the day with a hat trick) cut towards the goal to make it a 6-4 game with just 93 seconds left in the half.
The Hoyas won the ensuing draw control and had an opportunity to hold for the final shot and whittle the Orange advantage down to a single goal headed into the break. It was a situation that would have been a huge momentum boost for Georgetown going into the second half. However, with 43 seconds left, Bruno tried to pass back out to Mary Pagano at the top of the 12 meter arc. The pass was low and just short and Pagano had to lunge forward to get it, but bobbled it. Fahey was in the perfect position to corral it and did so, sprinting upfield and into the Syracuse offensive zone. The Orange called a time out with 22 seconds left. SU passed it around the perimeter for the next 10 seconds until Carney tried to send it inside to Hawryschuk, who was double teamed. However, the junior attacker was knocked to the ground in front of the goal and given a free position attempt on the left hash mark of the 8 meter fan with just 10 seconds remaining.
Hawryschuk’s usual shot in free positions is to fire a bullet from the fan. However, the Hoya spacing left a wide gap that was too tempting for her to ignore. Hawryschuk drove in and got just inside of Whitehurst (who was trying to cut her off) to score point blank on Georgetown goalie Haelle Chomo.
The sequence turned a potential Hoya goal that would have cut the SU lead to one into an actual score by Hawryschuk that once again put the Orange up by three at the half. She would get another goal three minutes into the second half that gave the ‘Cuse their largest lead at the time at 8-4. Although the Hoyas would cut the lead to three twice in the second half, they would never get as close as they did towards the end of the first.
Emily Hawryschuk and Megan Carney: The pair accounted for over half of the Orange scoring (8 of 14 goals) on the day and both had a pair of assists each. The former’s pair of goals as written above were especially critical for Syracuse in putting Georgetown away.
Asa Goldstock: The junior goalie had a big day in the cage with eight saves, or a 50% save rate. SU needed her on Sunday as this would have been a much closer game had she not had a solid game.
Draws: Georgetown did win the draw control battle 14-10, but the Hoyas won the first four of the game. After that, the Orange settled down and did a pretty decent job in the circle. Although Fahey and Cooper had big games on the stat sheet with four and three draws each, Widner and Kempney both did a good job sending the ball out to the wings (and still managed to get three draws between them).
Defense: Goldstock had some really nice saves in goal, but the defense also did a creditable job of making life difficult for the Georgetown offense. This was a team that was averaging about 13 goals a game and managed only eight. Cooper, Fahey and Defliese had good stats, but Radziewicz, Simkins, Nazarian and Trice also quietly caused problems for the Hoyas.
This and that: Turnovers and clears were not super great for the Orange, as they had 18 and went 22-27 for the day. That’s not as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago against Boston College, but that’s something that can certainly be cleaned up. However, it should also be said that the wet, grassy field certainly had an impact on Syracuse on Sunday. The field conditions were not the best and it’s arguable that those effects actually favored the Hoyas (even though they also had some problems with the field) because it slowed the SU offense down. Couple that with the fact that the Orange had not played in over two weeks and there was bound to be some problems during the game (why was this game not played later in the day in the Dome???).
Having said that, the ‘Cuse will have to do better if they want to beat Northwestern next weekend. I don’t think the Wildcats will be as forgiving of Orange mistakes as Georgetown was.
Syracuse will head to Evanston, Ill. to face No. 4 seed Northwestern (15-4) in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals next weekend. The game date/time has yet to be established, though that should be available early this week. SU beat the Wildcats 15-14 in overtime earlier in the year at the Dome. However, Northwestern has lost only once since early March (to Maryland) and managed to win the Big Ten Tournament with wins over Michigan (who wound up with the 8 seed) and the Terrapins.
The Wildcats’ only losses have come to Syracuse, North Carolina, Boston College and Maryland. Also, SU has never won in Evanston, so they have their work cut out for them this coming weekend. Either way, it could wind up being the best game of the quarterfinals.