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Monday, Feb 27, 2017 at 10:58 pm

Syracuse WLAX Defeats Albany 13-12 in a Thriller

By Ally Heath

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — For the first time this season, the Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse team entered the final minute of play not knowing who the game’s winner would be.

Fast-forward 49 seconds and junior captain Riley Donahue scores on a free position shot to push the Orange to a 13-12 victory over Albany, keeping their perfect 5-0 record intact and alleviating some of the tension on the field.

In those 49 seconds, Syracuse turned the ball over twice and Albany committed three fouls, one of which resulted in a yellow card. Much of the game was like this: back and forth play with numerous dropped passes and fouls.

“Albany is coming here to give you a dog fight, and they did,” said Syracuse head coach Gary Gait. “They played very well today – very aggressive, very physical.”

Fouls were the reason tensions ran high in the press room after the game. John Battaglino, Albany’s head coach, was visibly frustrated that Syracuse received 15 free position shots to Albany’s one.

Referees handed out three cards, two to Albany; the latter came at a critical moment for Syracuse: it had just turned the ball over and 18 seconds were left on the clock in a tie game.

“It’s just all about forgetting the last play…and moving forward to capitalize on their mistakes and capitalize and win the game for us,” said freshman goalie Asa Goldstock, who gave up an empty net goal before making the game-saving stop with just under one minute to go.

Even though Syracuse had its fair share of mistakes (14 turnovers and 25 fouls), it turned Albany’s fouls into positive notes. Albany’s 35 penalties paved the way for Syracuse: nine of the 15 free position opportunities resulted in goals. All but one of Syracuse’s goals in the first half were free positions. Riley Donahue’s last-minute shot was set up by an Albany foul, when SU was playing man-up.

Syracuse will be challenged over the next three days to continue correcting technical mistakes and adjusting to running a man-to-man offense instead of the zone offense that was used in the first four games.

The Orange travel to a neutral site in Hempstead, N.Y. to face No. 10 Northwestern on Friday. The opening draw is scheduled for 6 p.m.