On Monday night against a top-15 opponent, the No. 4/4 Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team had the first of a number of important games in which to make a statement. Unfortunately, it was definitely not the message that the Orange wanted to convey, as they fell to No. 12/12 Stony Brook, 17-16 in the Dome.
The Seawolves struck first just 63 seconds into the game when Taryn Ohlmiller sent a shot past goalie Asa Goldstock on the top left side of the net to take a 1-0 lead. Syracuse responded over the next couple of minutes with a pair of Mary Rahal goals to put the Orange on top 2-1 four minutes in. Ohlmiller tied the game at two with a transition pass from Ally Kennedy with 23:47 left in the half.
The ‘Cuse started to take control over the next 14 minutes. Emily Hawryschuk, Meaghan Tyrrell and Sierra Cockerille (twice) all found the back of the net as Syracuse slowly built up a 6-2 lead at the 9:28 mark. It looked like the Orange would start to break the game open.
However, several miscues by Syracuse led to three quick Seawolves goals in under three minutes and it was a 6-5 game with 5:22 left in the half. Following an infraction call on Stony Brook, Hawryschuk took advantage of the open space by darting to goal from the left side and put it past goalie Kameron Halsall. The Orange had some breathing room at 7-5 with less than five minutes to go.
Stony Brook would not go away and about two minutes later, Ohlmiller had another goal, this time a free position shot. Kennedy added another free position goal with just 37 seconds left to knot it up at seven at the break.
The Seawolves continued to attack out of halftime and it did not take long for them to score. Ohlmiller and Jesse Arline had back to back goals in the first two minutes and Stony Brook had its first lead since the beginning of the game.
Ella Simkins and Tyrrell briefly stemmed the tide for Syracuse over the next few minutes. Simkins took a ground ball from the ensuing draw control and raced downfield, eluding defenders along the way. She fired the ball past Halsall before two Seawolves defenders could converge. It was the senior defender’s first goal of her career. Tyrrell added another score about three minutes later and the game was once again knotted up at nine with 24 and a half minutes left.
Kennedy’s score at the 20:11 mark gave Stony Brook the lead again at 10-9. Outside of thsy lone goal, both teams struggled with turnovers for the next four minutes while the defenses locked it down. It was at this point that things turned south very quickly for the Orange. The Seawolves scored a half dozen straight goals over a five minute period to take a big 16-9 advantage with just 10:30 left to play. The game was in danger of becoming a rout.
But Syracuse finally woke up. Hawryschuk led a fierce ‘Cuse comeback, scoring three of the next four goals over a two and a half minute stretch to cut the Seawolves’ lead to 16-13. Stony Brook answered when Kennedy scored off of a free position shot to push the lead back to four with just three and a half minutes left.
Despite the momentary setback, the ‘Cuse was not finished yet. Grace Fahey (twice) and Bianca Chevarie gave some hope by grabbing the next three draw controls, all of which led to Syracuse scores. Rahal’s free position goal at the 1:08 mark brought the Orange back within a single score at 17-16. Could they make it four draws in a row?
Alas, it was not meant to be. Rayna Sabella pulled down the draw and raced upfield for the Seawolves. Syracuse tried frantically to force the turnover, but Stony Brook was able to keep possession and run out the clock for the upset.
In case you missed it, our defenders can snipe too pic.twitter.com/frYtFsutED— Syracuse Women's Lax (@CuseWLAX) February 10, 2020
- Shots: Syracuse 36, Stony Brook 33
- Shots on Goal: Stony Brook 27, Syracuse 26
- Turnovers: Syracuse 12, Stony Brook 9
- Clears: Syracuse 15-16, Stony Brook 20-22
- Ground Balls: Stony Brook 16, Syracuse 12
- Draw Controls: Syracuse 21, Stony Brook 14
- Free Positions: Stony Brook 5-9, Syracuse 3-8
Hawryschuk (6 g, 1 a, 1 gb, 1ct), Rahal (3 g, 1 a, 1 dc), Cockerille (2 g, 2 a), Tyrrell (2 g, 1 a, 1 gb), Sam Swart (1 g, 2 a, 1 gb, 1 ct), Simkins (1 g, 1 gb, 4 dc), Chevarie (1 g, 1 dc), Fahey (1 ct, 5 dc), Morgan Widner (8 dc), Sarah Cooper (3 gb), Vanessa Costantino, Lila Nazarian & Allyson Trice (1 gb each), Braelie Kempney (1 dc), Asa Goldstock (1 gb, 10 saves)
Draw Control: Syracuse did a pretty good job in the draw circle on the night, winning 60% (21-14) over a good Seawolves DC unit. Simkins had a solid night on the wings, while Widner and Fahey were instrumental in the Orange’s attempted comeback late in the game.
Miscues: However, the draw control advantage was partially negated by a number of errant passes at very inopportune moments (mostly to the tune of forcing passes into a crowded Stony Brook defense). The shot selections on goals did lead to some easy saves by Halsall and led to a number of lost chances for the SU offense to score.
Free Positions: Stony Brook finished a little over 50% for the game and this was one of the differences. Syracuse free position woes continue as they went 3-8. Again, if they shot as well as the Seawolves here, it would have been enough to turn their fortunes around. The Orange are now 3-14 on free positions for the year.
Scoring Droughts: To be fair, Stony Brook did go about 15 minutes at the beginning of the game without scoring. In the preseason article, I stated that this was one of the issues the ‘Cuse had throughout last year and that it needed to get cleaned up. Syracuse scored just three goals in a 30 minute period between the ten minute mark of the first half and with ten minutes left in the game. At a critical moment between the 25 and ten minute marks of the second half, Syracuse could not score at all. Although the Orange did mount a comeback at the end, the seven goal deficit was just too much to overcome.
Speed Scoring: The Orange scored seven goals in ten minutes, which shows just how potent their offense can be when running on all cylinders. Unfortunately, they waited far too long to get things going. If they could have played with that intensity and urgency at the beginning of the game, things might have turned out differently.
The Turning Point
Despite a quick goal to start the game, Stony Brook was largely stalled through a 20 minute stretch through the early and mid first half. Syracuse slowly built a 6-2 lead and at the ten minute mark, they were poised to break the game wide open. However, as had happened numerous times last season, they let their opponent off the hook and back into the game.
The Orange won the draw control and moved into the offensive zone. An errant pass by Carney was forced by the Seawolves who regained possession and able to successfully clear. At the other end, Kennedy was fouled by Fahey as she went to goal, setting up a free position attempt. The senior midfielder drove in and shot low past Goldstock and Stony Brook trailed 6-3.
Syracuse got the next draw control, but Hawryschuk’s eventual shot went wide and the Seawolves were able to back it up and clear. On the other end, a pass inside went awry and Goldstock was able to pick the ball up. Closing on midfield, she tried a long pass into the offensive zone, but she overshot her target. Stony Brook regained possession and a transition opportunity opened up. Ohlmiller found Sarah Pulis behind the Orange defense and the latter easily found the back of the net.
Third time was not a charm at the draw circle and Sabella was able to corral the ball. Sabella passed it to Kennedy, who found Pulis inside the fan. The SU defense was once again caught off guard and tried to converge on Pulis. In doing so, Ohlmiller was able to slip inside. Pulis saw the opening and dumped it to Ohlmiller, who scored.
Three goals in 150 seconds. It was enough to swing momentum heavily in Stony Brook’s favor. The Seawolves eventually rode that through that and tied the game by halftime. Although the seven goal run late in the game was the difference in the win, it was this short stretch in the first half that enabled Stony Brook to change the game.
The Orange will be back in action against Albany on Saturday at the Dome. Game time is at 10 am and will be live streamed on ACCNX.