For the fourth-straight year, the Syracuse Orange earned their spot in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. For the third year in-a-row, they faced the Maryland Terrapins. This year's game at PPL Park was played in front of a crowd of almost 6,000 and the contest was as close as ever. The biggest lead, four goals by the Terps, didn't last very long.
Maryland scored three goals within the first six minutes of play to jump out to a very fast 3-0 lead. Syracuse's Kayla Treanor and Halle Majorana, the two leading scorers on the team, answered with a goal each of their own. After the Terps scored again, the Orange got three more to grab their first lead of the game with 5:24 to go in the half. That lead was brief as Maryland three more goals to send the game into halftime.
At the start of the second half, Syracuse was able to win the draw, which led to a quick goal by Erica Bodt. The Terps went back up by two off of a goal by Erin Colins. Kristen Lamon scored her third of the game putting Maryland back up by three. Then, a little over a minute later, Brooke Griffin gave her team their largest lead of the game with her second goal of the game. Just when it looked as though the Orange had taken their last breath of offense, Treanor won two draw controls that resulted in two quick goals to cut the deficit back to two. It would be the last time Syracuse would see the back of the net, as Maryland secured the ball and fended off the attack for the final 7:18 of play.
For the third-straight year, Syracuse had fallen at the hands of the Terrapins.
One of the most consistent players for the Orange year in and year out, Kayla Treanor had a hattrick, bringing her 2015 total to 60 goals. She also added two assists, three ground balls, and won three draw controls, doing everything in her power to keep Syracuse's season alive. Taylor Gait scored two goals, her second giving the Orange their only lead of the game. Fellow junior attacker, and Maryland transfer, Halle Majorana also put two in net against her former team. In what would be the final game of her career, senior goalkeeper Kelsey Richardson had seven saves on 10 goals allowed, never letting the Terps run away with the lead.
For Maryland, Kristen Lamon had a hattrick of her own, as well as two ground balls. Leading goal scorer, midfielder Taylor Cummings, scored two goals, had four assists, and won five draw controls. Attacker Brook Griffin added two goals to the team total. Between the pipes, Alex Fitzpatrick had four saves on eight goals allowed, keeping Syracuse at bay.
The biggest difference between the two teams was the amount of draw controls won. Kailah Kempney, a usual force on the draw, won absolutely none of them for the first time all year. Instead, Kayla Treanor carried the bulk of the work with her three wins off the draw, half of the six for the entire team. Meanwhile, Maryland won 14 total draw controls, easily being able to then hold the ball for the bulk of the second half. It's the reason they were able to close out the game without a blemish after Treanor's third goal of the game.
Despite the loss, there is nothing else for the Orange to hang their heads on. They won the ACC Tournament Championship, beating three teams that they had lost to earlier in the season. That's quite an accomplishment on its own, as the favorites to win were Duke or North Carolina, the sleeper being the sleeper. Five-straight Final Fours is not something to scoff at, either. So many teams have not even had a taste of "Championship Weekend."
The team graduates nine seniors, six of them regular contributors, but that only makes way for the underclassmen to step up next season. Kayla Treanor and Halle Majorana return as seniors, another year to be the 1-2 offensive punch. Kaeli O'Connor will have room to become Kailah Kempney's successor on the draw, now a junior. A spark on offense all throughout the season, Riley Donahue will have plenty of room to grow even more. In short, all is never lost with this team.
Until next lacrosse season, G'Orange!