Strong Second Half Pushes Syracuse Past Notre Dame
By Jaron May
CitrusTV Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
“I wanted to be the best goalie to ever play at Syracuse,” said SU goalkeeper Asa Goldstock. “Now that I’m older, I just think of every save as an opportunity to let my teammates down here score.”
That was Goldstock’s mindset after hearing she made her 400th career save in orange. The junior is now fourth in the SU record books with 409 saves. She passed the threshold against a top-ten team in a thrilling come-from-behind victory for Syracuse on Sunday.
Goldstock and the SU defense stepped up big in the second half, leading No. 4 Syracuse (10-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast) to a 10-9 victory over No. 8 Notre Dame (9-1, 2-1 ACC) at Christian Brothers Academy Stadium.
The first half was a back and forth affair. But, the Fighting Irish began to pull away in the last eight minutes of the first half behind Maddie Howe. The sophomore attacker was on fire, tallying three goals and three assists in the first half, thanks in large part to teammate Andie Aldave’s great work in the draw circle.
The Fighting Irish also outdueled the Orange 8-6 in the draw circle as Emily Hawryschuk and Braelie Kempney took the majority of the draws for Syracuse in the first 30 minutes of play.
Notre Dame went into halftime with a 8-5 lead, the first time Syracuse was in the negative at the break this season. So, Head Coach Gary Gait took the full ten minutes to implement some changes across the field, which proved to be the difference.
Gait decided to face guard Howe after she dominated the Orange in the first. Sophomore Grace Fahey has usually done the honors of face-guarding players this season, but Allyson Trice took over today.
“The defensive coaches really like how Ally has been playing and they wanted to use her so they did,” explained Gait. “Ally did a great job. It was a key change in the second half to face guard and change up the defense.”
Trice took on the challenge of defending one of the best scorers in the ACC and did well. She held Howe to only one goal in the second half, which came during a man-up situation.
“[Howe’s] a great player so it was a lot of fun. It was a challenge,” said Trice. “My coach is always saying don’t get backdoored, so I was just looking at her hips and trying to stay in front of her.”
With Trice taking over the face-guarding duty, Gait moved Fahey to the circle with Julie Cross and Morgan Widner, who were charged with taking the draws in the second half. The change was crucial for Syracuse’s comeback as the Orange held a 4-3 advantage in draw controls in the second frame.
“The crazy thing about the draw this year is with Braelie, Hawryschuk, Julie, and I, we all have such skill on the draw,” said Widner. “So we all work together to see who can match up best with each opponent. We’ve each had our game where we really match up well.”
Widner gave a lot of credit to Fahey being on the outside of the circle.
“Grace Fahey is genuinely one of the hardest workers on this team,” said Widner. “She works so hard every day and it’s so exciting to see all the different opportunities she’s been given and the way she is stepping up. I am so proud of her.”
Gait’s changes on the defensive side of the ball led to a 17-minute scoreless drought from both sides. SU was down three with ten minutes remaining and the Orange attack woke up.
First, Sam Swart finished an acrobatic shot, followed by Cara Quimby who scored her second of the day. Quimby had 5 goals on the season heading into Sunday’s game, but she scored twice at crucial moments in the game.
“The way they were playing defense, they were leaving the middle open for her to slip in there and Cara got two opportunities on that,” said Gait. “We need everybody on this team, whether they are on the bench or on the field to contribute and Cara got in there and got two goals today and they were big goals.”
Down by one with less than five minutes left, Syracuse looked to its leading scorer. Hawryschuk first drew a penalty in the critical scoring area and finished her free position shot to tie it up. Then, she weaved through the defense and fired a shot past the Notre Dame goalkeeper while falling to the turf with three minutes left to seal the victory.
“It got to the point where I wasn’t doing my job because I wasn’t scoring at all,” said Hawryschuk. “Whether it be a score or an assist, I needed to pick something up. Once I got one I just had to run with it and that’s what led to the two.”
The Orange held a Notre Dame team that was averaging 18 goals per game before Sunday’s matchup to half that number as the halftime changes were the key to victory for Syracuse.
SU doesn’t get too long of a break as the Orange will host Albany in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday.
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