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Friday, Feb 23, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Syracuse Rides Dominant First Half to 19-12 Win Over Albany

By Nicole Weaving
Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse started fast, jumping ahead with a 7-1 scoring run in the first 15 minutes against Albany. In that span, five different SU players scored. This diverse, high-powered attack defines Syracuse head coach Gary Gait’s game plan.

“I think it’s just the depth, the quality of players,” Gait said. “You know, almost ten scorers a game out of 20 goals is pretty good.”

Against Connecticut, 12 different people scored 23 goals. Against Oregon, 9 different scorers on 17 goals. This Thursday in the Carrier Dome, 12 members of Gait’s squad tickled the twine in the 19-12 victory.

“We have played our entire bench all three games, so that’s pretty good,” Gait said.

Three SU players scored for the first time this season. Emily Resnick, Natalie Wallon and Julie Cross all netted goals against the Great Danes.

Syracuse dominated the first half on both sides of the ball. While its offense attacked the Great Danes from every angle, its defense held firm.

“I think the defense did a great job of watching film and understanding what they were going to be trying to do,” Gait said. “I thought we had good matchups and when we needed help, we were there.”

The Great Danes coughed up 11 turnovers before halftime, seven caused by the Orange. SU forced two in the midfield because an aggressive offensive ride from Alie Jimerson and Riley Donahue. The other five came in the defensive end. Ella Simkins led the Orange with three of those five turnovers. At the end of the first half, the Orange led 11-2.

“Ella has been working really hard,” SU defender Kerry Defliese said. “I think that communication on defense is the biggest thing, knowing when to slide, where to slide. She is really good at that.”

The one negative of the first half for the Orange: Morgan Widner left the game with an injury. After grabbing a draw control with just over five minutes left to play, she went down, clutching her knee. Crying out in pain, Widner had to be helped off the field by trainers and was on crutches by the time the clock ran out in the first half.

Gait had no specifics in the postgame press conference, but Defliese expressed how difficult it was to see her like that.

“To see one of our players go down like that,” Defliese said, “is heartbreaking.”

Albany actually outscored the Orange in the second half 11-8, against much of SU’s bench rather than its starters, but to no avail, as SU still won by seven.

Following this victory, Syracuse has three ranked opponents on its slate. Gait knows the team will not be able to play the entire bench as it has in these first three.

“We are going to have to use the experience we got this year. We have had the opportunity to evaluate all the players,” Gait said. “We will probably shorten up the bench and go up and play against a very good UVA team followed by a Florida team and a Maryland team. The next three-game run is probably the toughest run in the country.”

The Orange will open up conference play down in Charlottesville on March 4 when it takes on the Virginia Cavaliers.

@nicki_weaves | nlweavin@syr.edu