Aggressive Defense Leads Syracuse in Upset over Florida
By Nicole Weaving
SYRACUSE N.Y. – Coming into No. 8 Syracuse’s matchup against No. 4 Florida, SU head coach Gary Gait had a plan.
“One of our focus points for the game was if they get a couple goals, let’s get a stop, and let’s not let them get a four or five-goal run,” Gait said.
Sophomore Asa Goldstock and the defense did just that in their 17-15 victory over Florida in the Carrier Dome this Wednesday afternoon.
In the first half, the Orange and Gators always remained within striking distance of each other.
Then, SU opened the second frame on fire. After letting up a goal in the first minute, the Orange went on a 17-minute 7-0 run, with six different players finding the back of the net.
“Honestly, I didn’t even realize that we were up by seven and on a 7-0 run until we did look up at the scoreboard,” junior Nicole Levy said. “It’s just kind of like heat of the moment. And the momentum, when it shifts towards us, is just exciting.”
During that time, Goldstock made three free position saves, but Florida hurt itself. The Gators committed four turnovers, missed a free position shot, earned a yellow card and fouled the Orange 10 times.
Following Syracuse’s run, the Gators ran off five straight goals of their own.
“It stings a little that they went on that run there, Goldstock said. “When it came back down on us, we definitely need to focus a bit more, stay in the game, and stop those late runs because that’s how we will keep winning.”
Since Syracuse’s first loss of the season to Virginia on Sunday, Gait credited how Goldstock and the defense have progressed. The sophomore recorded 14 saves and the SU defense forced 7 Florida turnovers.
“Asa stepped up her game, and our defense when we needed them,” Gait said. “After the first five minutes and all the way till the last 8-9 minutes.”
Once again though, Syracuse struggled on the draw. Florida held the advantage 23-11 in the circle. Kerry Defliese was the stand out on the wing this time, snagging three draw controls.
“We will keep grinding through that until we figure it out,” Gait said. “We’ll keep making adjustments and we’ll find the group where the chemistry comes along.”
Through this constant endeavor, Gait was able to take away one positive.
“We use a bunch of people and I think that helps us,” Gait said. “A lot of teams use one draw group. They use them the whole game and it gets tiring. May not win them all but using a couple different groups keeps us fresh.”
The Orange will face its third top-10 opponent in a row when Syracuse plays host to Maryland Sunday at 1 p.m.