Notre Dame Uses Second Half Run to Defeat the Orange
By Ally Heath
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – For the first time this season, it was not home sweet Dome for the Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse Team.
Returning to Syracuse after a rough 1-2 road stretch, the Orange (8-3) hoped to turn things around. Instead, it took a step backwards, losing to Notre Dame (9-4) 16-7 on Saturday afternoon.
Syracuse made a lot of mistakes in transition, frequently turning the ball over after a long defensive stand. it also frequently struggled to recover, often looking one step behind a well-prepared Notre Dame attack.
“From the opening whistle, it just looked like we lacked a little intensity, and lacked some communication and chemistry out there,” head coach Gary Gait of his team. “We dug a big hole and never really got that run we’ve had in the past where we get a spark and we make a run.”
When Nicole Levy’s stick was deemed illegal early in the second half, it did nothing to boost the team’s morale. The Orange suffered when the resulting two-minute unreleasable penalty paved the way for three quick Notre Dame goals.
The stat sheet shows that the Orange had plenty of chances to come back: both teams took 30 shots on goal, but Syracuse only converted on three of 10 free position shots. Syracuse struggled with shot placement, with many of those 30 shots were straight at Notre Dame goalie Samantha Giacolone, who had 13 saves on the day.
Unlike Syracuse, Notre Dame controlled the ball across the field, especially in the attacking zone. The Irish frequently waited to shoot until the shot clock nearly expired.
“Any momentum we could grab just affirmed the belief we had and what we came here to do,” Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny said. “It’s the first thing I said to them today, ‘We’re here to do work today, and we gotta get to work and it’s not going to be easy.’”
Halfpenny said the team took the full week to prepare for today’s game, and focused on staying organized on attack and energized across the board to be successful after three straight losses.
The Fighting Irish’s consistent energy ultimately proved to be too much for an Orange team that lacked the intensity they showed at the beginning of the season after a tough 1-2 road trip last week.
Syracuse has played 11 games in five weeks, and its upcoming schedule shows no mercy with two-game weeks scheduled for the remainder of the season. Another three-game road trip starts on Wednesday when the Orange face the Princeton Tigers (6-1) in New Jersey at 7 PM.