Syracuse Stays Hot and Rolls Past Virginia
By Jaron May
CitrusTV Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
“Woo! There it is, three games, ranked opponents in seven days, 3-0,” Head Coach Gary Gait said. “Extremely happy, we saw throughout the week some great stuff out of this team, some real potential, and amazingly we got 3-0 out of it.”
Gait and his team were pleased with another win against a top-20 opponent on Saturday afternoon, but it was visibly evident that the players were exhausted. It is expected after playing the No. 4, No. 13, and No. 7 teams in the country in a seven day span. But Syracuse (6-1, 1-1 Atlantic) did not allow that to slow them down against Virginia (5-1, 0-1 ACC) as it comes out with its first conference win, 16-11, in the Carrier Dome.
The game began the same as always with SU scoring the opening goal and getting out to a quick lead. Emily Hawryschuk, who was named to the Tewaaraton Watch List this week, began the surge, scoring the first goal just a minute into play. Megan Carney found her cutting right to left in front of the goal, where Hawryschuk did what she does best with a fake high and rifled a shot low past the Cavaliers’ goalie.
Hawryschuk was also named the ACC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for her play last week, but she made an argument for herself to go back to back. She would finish with four goals and four draw controls. In this week’s three games, Hawryschuk scored four times in each game while tallying eight draw controls and four ground balls overall.
Another Syracuse player that made a name for herself on Saturday was Mary Rahal. The redshirt junior had one of her best games while wearing a SU uniform. She tied her career-high with 5 points, including a career-high 3 assists.
“Honestly, I didn’t know that. When I’m out there, I just play,” Rahal said. “It’s so much fun playing out there with everyone on the team because we’re all so talented. This year is a really special year for us because we’re all clicking so well together. So our chemistry out there is unbelievable and its helping us achieve a lot of success.”
That chemistry showed on Saturday as eight different Syracuse players found the back of the net. Sam Swart, Cara Quimby, Natalie Wallon, and Nicole Levy all finished the game with two goals each.
“Any single one of us is able to step up and score,” said Hawryschuk. “For other teams to look at that and see we had so many different people score, it’s going to be very difficult to defend us going forward.”
Additionally, what seemed like it should be a defensive show coming into the game, ended up being one-sided. Syracuse’s defense caused 15 turnovers compared to Virginia’s mere five and snatched 21 ground balls.
“Having that mindset of going out there and knowing what we are capable of and sticking to our fundamentals, that is what comes of it,” said defender Kerry Defliese.
“Her sister made her get caused turnovers… no I’m just kidding,” Gait said with a smile on his face after the game. Defliese’s sister, Caitlin, serves as an assistant coach for Syracuse.
The defensive battle may have been so lopsided because of UVA’s defensive scheme. Syracuse has struggled to score against zone defenses this year, but the Cavaliers came out in a man-to-man defense and stuck with it throughout the entire game. It worked for some of the second half as SU went into a slump that it is accustomed to by now.
“We did what we needed to do on offense. We had our usual little lull in the second half,” Gait said. “We didn’t play our best for a full 60 minutes. I think that shows that we have some more potential and things we can do to get better.”
Syracuse was pleased with the win and even more happy to have six days off until its next matchup with No. 2 Maryland next Saturday.
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