The No. 5 Syracuse women's lacrosse team (2-2, 0-0) is on the road this weekend to take on No. 16 Towson (1-3, 0-0). Both teams are looking to bounce back after losses against No. 2 Florida and No. 9 Loyola.
Syracuse's Goalies: I've taken an interest in this developing scenario. I caught up with assistant coach Regy Thorpe during Wednesday's media opportunity and asked him about the two goalie rotation:
"Neither one of them has separated themselves enough," Thorpe said. Nothing is set in stone and it's certainly an open, friendly competition."
I asked Thorpe about similarities and differences between Alyssa Costantino and Kelsey Richardson:
"They are similar in a lot ways," Thorpe said. "They are both great communicators and directors of defense. Some would say that Alyssa is better high while Kelsey is better low. They are similar and different enough that it makes it tough for our opponents."
Lessons Learned From Game Against Florida (on the defensive end): The Orange held one of the best offenses in the country to just four goals in the second half. However, on the flip side, the team gave up 10 goals in the first half.
"We've made a couple of adjustments on the d-end to hopefully put our goalies in a better position and get some saves going," Thorpe said. "The goals we have been giving up have been right in front of the net."
By The Numbers: 49 percent.
I was doing my usual lacrosse reading roundup and came across this gem of a statistic, courtesy of Inside Lacrosse Women. Through just four games, junior Alyssa Murray and senior Michelle Tumolo make up nearly half of the Orange's offense in point production. I brought this bullet point up in my Observations I Thought I saw -- Maryland vs. Syracuse article.
It will fall," Murray said. "We are just trying to look for some chemistry among the whole offense. Michelle and I developed a lot of chemistry last year and the year before, so it's basically second nature for the two of us to be working together. I think with new units on the field, it will take a couple of games to get in the swing of things. The shots will start falling...the cuts will be there... it's still early."
Another Sound Defense: In three of its four games, the Orange have faced solid goalies including the likes of Maryland's Kasey Howard, Virginia's Kim Kolarik and Florida's Mikey Meagher. On Saturday, the squad will face another in sophomore Kelsea Donnelly. Donnelly replaces Mary Teeters and currently owns .461 save percentage and 35 saves on 106 shots faced. She is backed by senior defender and third team All-American Alexa Dufault. Last season, Dufault was second on the team in caused turnovers (20) and ground balls (39).
Battle Tested: As Coach Thorpe points out, both teams have been tested very early. Towson is 1-3 overall, with its only win coming against the Retrievers of UMBC and includes losses by No. 3 North Carolina, No. 11 Georgetown and No. 9 Loyola by a combined seven goals. To say the least, the Tigers have been hanging around and refuse to give up against tough opponents.
Syracuse on the other hand, can make a case for one of the hardest schedules in Division I. The team has, if you want to call it, two "quality losses" against No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 Florida. Its 2-2 overall record may not be up to par regarding the top tier of teams, but head coach Gary Gait isn't worried about it. His squad started last season at 2-2 and the year before at 1-3.