Women’s Lacrosse OT Thriller Against Northwestern
By Jaron May
CitrusTV Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
Emily Hawryschuk was face guarded the entire first half of the game against Northwestern, but she still was able to score three goals. So, the Wildcats decided to change their game plan for the second half and not have pressing defense on the junior attacker. The change proved to be successful as she was held scoreless in the second.
Nevertheless, two minutes into overtime, Hawryschuk received a pass 15 yards away from the goal, moving left to right. Despite a swarm of NU defenders, she finally found an opening where she could rip a shot back across her body. The shot deflected off a defender’s stick and into the top left corner of the net, sealing the win for the Orange.
No. 7 Syracuse had its hands full on Sunday afternoon when they hosted No. 5 Northwestern in the Carrier Dome. It was a back and forth affair that needed extra time to decide it, but Syracuse (4-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) defeated Northwestern (3-1, 0-0 Big 10) with a final score of 15-14.
“Be calm and stay composed,” Hawryschuk said while explaining her mindset going into that final play. “From the beginning of the game and in the pregame speech ‘composure’ was one of the words and to stay poised the entire time, so that’s what I tried to do.”
Hawryschuk led all scorers with four goals and an assist in Sunday’s matchup, but the Orange wouldn’t have had the opportunity in OT without Megan Carney. The freshman was responsible for another thrilling play just a few minutes earlier.
With 35 seconds on the clock, Sam Swart went end to end, blowing past any NU defender that tried stopping her. She finally got stood up at the ten-yard line, but not before she was able to dish the ball off to Carney, who was cutting in front of the net. Carney caught the pass, turned, and quickly fired a shot right past Northwestern’s Julie Krupnick. The goal knotted up the game at 14 apiece with just 25 seconds remaining and eventually forced the overtime period.
It was the late game thrills that stick in the minds of SU fans, but the Orange played a strong game from the first draw. Syracuse’s defense proved to be a big factor in the game, holding Northwestern to only 14 goals. The Wildcats entered the game first in the country in scoring offense, sporting a 21 goals-per-game mark.
The usual cast of defensive standouts performed well with Kerry Defliese and Ella Simkins each causing three turnovers and Sarah Cooper tallying two of her own and snatching two ground balls. The key for the SU defense, however, was Grace Fahey. The sophomore was tasked to face guard Northwestern’s Selena Lasota for all 62 minutes of Sunday’s game.
“This is my second time face guarding and basically I have a job, and I do that job and the defense works around that,” Fahey explained. “I was having a lot of energy from the bench to do my job and do well.”
Fahey did her job extremely well, holding Lasota, who has 257 career points and was on the 2018 Tewaaraton Watch List, to just two goals and an assist on Sunday. The defense also had a lot of help from goalie Asa Goldstock. The junior made 9 saves, her second highest mark of the season.
On the other end, the Northwestern defense also performed well. The Wildcats are known for their physical defense, and lived up to their reputation against the Orange. By the final whistle, both teams tallied a combined 63 total fouls.
“Northwestern plays so hard and aggressive. We play pretty aggressive as well. So you have two physical teams, so it’s going to be a physical game,” said head coach Gary Gait. “The physicality added to the excitement of the game.”
Swart can personally testify to the physical nature of the game as she was knocked down almost every offensive possession for Syracuse. The sophomore didn’t allow that to phase her, however, finishing with three goals and an assist.
“They were a very physical team and we were expecting that,” Swart explained. “When you’re just in the game… I know I can give the ball and take a little breather.”
It was a back and forth game from start to finish with neither team pulling too far away. Northwestern only took its first lead of the game with 8 minutes remaining in the second half when the Wildcats went on a 5-0 run. Sierra Cockerille stopped NU’s momentum with a goal, which led to the late game thrills by Carney and Hawryschuk.
Those fireworks lifted Syracuse past a Northwestern team who has hoisted the national championship trophy 7 of the last 14 years. The Wildcats still have a commanding 13-5 lead in the all-time series against the Orange, but SU has come out on top three of the last four times.
With the win, Syracuse improves to 4-1 on the season. Now the Orange will shift their attention to Wednesday as No. 17 Loyola-Maryland visits the dome. It will be the second of three top-20 matchups in just a seven day span.