Maryland Dominates on the Draw to Beat Syracuse
By Nicole Weaving
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 4 Maryland came into the Carrier Dome Sunday afternoon leading the nation in draw controls. The Terrapins grabbed 18 DCs per game, thanks to Kali Hartshorn and Meghan Siverson.
Thus when No. 8 Syracuse head coach Gary Gait saw that Julie Cross was not getting the job done early on in the draw circle, he turned to Kerry Defliese.
Defliese was lined up against Siverson throughout the second half. Although both are listed as 5’7”, it appeared as though Siverson was towering over Defliese. When the referee blew the whistle, Siverson would snag the ball out of the air easily, leaving Defliese in the dust.
“I think they had a great first step on the ball and boxing out on the draw circle,” Defliese said.
When Siverson couldn’t self-draw, she would rely on her wingers, especially Hartshorn or Meghan Whittle, to be scrappy on ground balls. They succeeded as the two combined for 12 draw controls.
In the end, Maryland grabbed 22 of 30 draw controls in their 18-11 victory over Syracuse. Oregon is the only opponent this season that the Orange has held the advantage on the draw, which happened before Morgan Widner suffered a season ending injury.
“We are just trying to figure some things out, just throwing people in,” Defliese said. “Just working together and finding a good option. We are still working on it.”
Gait believes this reoccurring problem comes from simply not being aggressive enough.
“The draws are about really competing around the circle, and that’s the area where we are being dominated,” Gait said. “We may get to some balls first, but then there are players there from the other team to check us, to cause turnovers. We don’t maintain that possession and we don’t get that ground ball.”
Not getting the draw then caused a lot of problems all over the field for Syracuse.
“I think the players were feeling pressure from the lack of possessions,” Gait said. “What happens is if you are getting one possession to the other teams every two, you feel like you got to make it up really quickly. That’s what happened. We didn’t settle down and play our offense.”
This rushed play was apparent in the first half. The Orange shot 11 times, but only scored four goals. SU also turned the ball over seven times.
“We were trying to catch up right away. Players wanted to make a play instead of sticking to our game plan,” Gait said. “You are not going to have success, one against seven. You need to stick to the game plan and play as a team.”
SU was able to play more productively in the second half, but it was too little, too late. Playing the defending national champions after two Top 10 opponents was too much for Gait’s squad.
“We left a little bit in the gas tank. It was a little empty,” Gait said.
Syracuse will have a little less than a week to rest before starting a five-game road trip. The Orange will travel to the U.S. Lacrosse Headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland to take on Harvard on Friday at 2 p.m.