Dominant Second Half Lifts Syracuse to First ACC Win
By Nicole Weaving
Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Louisville decided to use a face guard in their defensive strategy Sunday afternoon. But rather than using it on Nicole Levy, as North Carolina and Duke had done, they face guarded Emily Hawryschuk.
But that didn’t stop her as Hawryschuk tickled the twine twice during Syracuse’s eleven-goal scoring run in the second half. No. 19 Syracuse (9-8, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) thrashed unranked Louisville (6-10, 0-7 Atlantic Coast), winning 19-8 in the Carrier Dome and finally achieving its first ACC win.
This was the first time this season a team decided to face guard Syracuse’s leading scorer. But Hawryschuk wasn’t fazed by having a defender on her all game.
“You just get used to it,” Hawryschuk said. “You know she is going to be there no matter what you do, so you just got to work through it.”
She was able to take advantage of her defender, getting the ball on multiple occasions. Hawryschuk and Syracuse head coach Gary Gait chatted near the sidelines before her first goal.
“I was challenging her to ride, to stay on the outside,” Gait said. “She then said, ‘I’ll just score a goal instead. Then I won’t have to play defense.’”
Hawryschuk received the ball and plowed through her defender, putting Sarah Blalock on her back. The sophomore then lowered her shoulder through two other Cardinal defenders and fired the ball in the back of the net.
Gait chose to use a similar strategy with Hawryschuk being face guarded as he had when Nicole Levy was in prior games.
“We pulled myself out, so we had the 6 v. 6, leaving more room for the other offensive players to work,” Hawryschuk said.
This made Molly Carter’s role as a facilitator much easier, who finished the day with a career-high five assists.
“Once we started moving our feet and moving around more, we found a lot of the open spaces,” Carter said. “Our girls were really good at cutting right to the open space, so that made it easy for me to pass to them.”
Nicole Levy could play her game and get creative while Hawryschuk was being face guarded. Levy completed a hat trick with a between-the-legs goal. With her back to the cage, she bounced the ball through her legs and past Louisville goalie Lexie Ball with seven minutes left in the second half.
“We were up by a lot, so we were having fun with it,” Levy said. “Figured why not have more fun.”
Her team ran up and hugged her following the remarkable goal.
Besides this win being a strong showing of his team’s offensive power, Gait knew this final regular-season matchup had larger implications for their postseason hopes.
“It’s about the NCAA tournament and trying to get into it,” Gait said. “If you go in 8-9, it puts you in a position where you have to win, or you’re done.”
The postseason starts with the ACC Tournament. The Orange will face North Carolina down in Durham on Thursday at 5 p.m.
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