Unnecessary Fouls Lead to First Loss Against Virginia
By Nicole Weaving
CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. — No. 7 Syracuse’s 10-8 lead at halftime was not safe against No. 11 Virginia, who is known as a strong second half team. The Cavaliers beat No. 16 Princeton earlier this season by outscoring them, 7-4, after halftime.
It happened again on Sunday when UVA scored three more goals than the Orange in the second half to win, 17-16, in Charlottesville.
SU head coach Gary Gait contributed the problems in the second half to his team’s unfocused play.
“I think we just had few mental lapses. We made some mistakes,” Gait said. “We had opportunities. We just got to stay more focused and ready to make the plays when the opportunity presents itself.”
Syracuse’s mental lapses were illustrated by the 26 fouls it committed during the game, which gave Virginia unnecessary advantages everywhere on the field.
This translated to eight free position shots on the SU’s defensive end. UVA scored on five of its chances, including on Daniela Kelly’s FPS opportunity that came in the last three minutes of the game.
Gait recognized that in an offense-driven game, goalie Asa Goldstock was bound to be challenged.
“It was a tough day for both goalies,” Gait said. “A lot of shots, a lot of great opportunities. Hopefully she will be focused… ready for the next game.”
The aggressive game was capped off by eight yellow cards, four awarded to each team. But the Cavaliers capitalized on all four chances while the Orange only scored on three.
Virginia Midfielder Lilly DiNardo explained the key to their success was intensity and composure.
“We always talk about playing our own game and not playing the other team’s game,” DiNardo said. “We focused on our little details and didn’t play down to their fouls, just played tough.”
Kasey Behr was an absolute thorn in the Orange’s side. She scored four goals, had one assist and caused two turnovers. UVA head coach Julie Myers credits her play on the field and her role as a leader.
“She was everywhere on the field today,” Myers said. “[She] has led with hardwork and determination, and again, just heart and soul. It has been huge for us.
Behr, along with Maggie Jackson and Sammy Mueller, dominated on the draw. Virginia grabbed 20 draws to Syracuse’s 14. Myers was proud of the strength her midfielders played with against the Orange.
“To just see us battle for those balls, and I mean, it was a lot of hard work,” Myers said. “It was a stat we comfortably won, but it is because we battled that hard and were resilient with it.”
On the other hand, Gait knows that his team is still making adjustments since losing Morgan Widner to injury against Albany.
“We need to continue to battle on our draw controls,” Gait said. “We are struggling in that area. We need to get after ground balls and pick it up.”
Emily Hawryschuk continues to lead the Syracuse attack as she scored four goals for the third time this season. Sam Swart also netted a career-high four goals.
There is no break for Syracuse: The Orange face another test in the No. 6 Florida Gators Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m.