Before Connecticut (6-1,0-1) and No 5. Syracuse (4-2, 1-0) took to the field Friday afternoon, both teams and the raucous crowd came together for a moment of silence in remembrance of Seton Hill's women's lacrosse head coach, Kristina Quigley, her unborn child and the bus driver that lost their lives in the tragic bus crash on Saturday, March 13. Syracuse was one of countless collegiate lacrosse schools playing with crimson and gold ribbons in their hair.
Despite the somber introductions, the Orange kicked off BIG EAST play with a dominating performance over the Huskies. The 18-7 win propelled the Orange to 6-0 in conference openers.
In what was a sloppy start to the beginning of the first half, the Orange still managed to get their offense going, rattling off seven goals, starting with senior Bridget Daley's free position goal just 24 seconds in.
In the post-game press conference, Syracuse head coach Gary Gait said he thought his came out a little bit rusty after a couple weeks off. (The Orange's last game was against Towson on March 9). The Orange shot an absymal 28 percent on 7-of-25 in the first half, but turned it around in the second, hunkering down on its shot selection and converting on 11-of-17.
Junior Alyssa Murray had her way with Connecticut again, leading all scorers with five goals and three assists. Last season, Murray had a breakout game, registering seven goals and one assist. Murray alongside senior Michelle Tumolo (2 goals, 4 assists), were two of 10 players that found the back of the net.
Tumolo, Murray and freshman Kayla Treanor followed with goals to put Syracuse up 4-0 with 10:30 left in the first half. The Orange scored three times in the final 2:23 of the half to take a 7-0 lead into the locker room.
"I thought (assistant coach) Regy Thorpe put a great defensive plan together," Gait said. "It was two teams playing the same defense and I think our team did a little better job. We really made it tough for them to score."
Gait continued, "We are definitely getting more comfortable with our zone defense and ride. We have caused a ton of turnovers and limited the amount of opportunities other teams have."
The Orange forced 21 turnovers -- 15 of them in the first half -- and disrupted numerous passes in the midfield with its swarming double teams.
Sophomore Devon Collins notched Syracuse's first two goals at the start of the second half before Connecticut's Morgan O'Reilly would temporarily stop the Orange's nine-goal run at the 25:28 mark. O'Reilly's goal would be Syracuse's first in 67:31 of play.
The Orange offense would prove to be too much for the Huskies down the stretch as the squad would go up as much as 15 goals.
Syracuse goalkeeper, Kelsey Richardson, got her second consecutive start in the net for the Orange and recorded six saves. Junior Alyssa Costantino came in for relief at the 15:49 mark of the second half and turned away one.
The Orange will face the Eagles of Boston College on the road Wednesday.