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Syracuse women’s lacrosse solves Stony Brook’s defense to survive upset bid in 7-6 win

first_imgNEWTON, Mass. — Taylor Gait lined up for the free-position shot with a chance to give her team a lead it hadn’t yet had in nearly 50 minutes of play.Syracuse had struggled to find any offensive rhythm and had played its worst offensive first half of the season.SU last played at Newton Campus Lacrosse Field on March 19, falling 13-8 to then-No. 16 Boston College. It was SU’s only loss to a team ranked outside the top three.It’s the only field Syracuse played on and hadn’t won on this season.Two months later it was the same setting, but a different resolution. Taylor Gait stepped in, seemingly unfazed by the turned ankle she’d grabbed in pain seconds earlier, and rifled a shot past Stony Brook freshman goalie Anna Tesoriero. The bench erupted in what seemed like relief more than anything.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We didn’t get a good start,” Taylor Gait said. “We weren’t used to their zone (defense). But we found our opportunities and we came through.”Taylor Gait’s goal was the third in a four-goal run that keyed No. 4 seed Syracuse’s (18-5, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) 7-6 win. The run helped SU survive an upset bid by unseeded Stony Brook (17-4, 6-0 America East) in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday afternoon. Despite Syracuse star Kayla Treanor not recording a single point for the first time all season, and the team scoring a season-low seven goals, the Orange solved the Seawolves’ zone defense in time to pull off the win.“They weren’t prepared to play us without (Treanor),” SBU head coach Joe Spallina said. “It took them a while to get in sync and to figure it out.”Spallina decided on the game’s third possession that he didn’t want SU’s offense running through its career points leader. He had a defender faceguard Treanor wherever she went. He thought SU might be unprepared, because the Seawolves had only done it once, he said, on Feb. 28 against Northwestern. Jessica Sheldon | Photo Editor Yet the Orange had practiced for this situation, Taylor Gait said. SU countered by taking Treanor out of the play, having her stand almost at the restraining line. Syracuse bet on the rest of its offense, which has eight other double-digit goal-scorers. Moving Treanor played into SBU’s plan because the team had practiced that scenario, SBU sophomore Kylie Ohlmiller said.The Seawolves feature the nation’s second-best defense, allowing just 6.1 goals per game. SBU excels at playing man-down defense with six players back, Ohlmiller and Spallina said.Despite averaging 13 goals per game this season, Syracuse’s offense sputtered. At the break, the Orange had missed two free-position shots, allowed Tesoriero to make three easy saves and scored just three goals on nine shots — both first-half season lows.SU head coach Gary Gait told his team at halftime to work the extra space by drawing defenders, making quick passes and cutting. And Syracuse did just that, chipping away at the 5-3 deficit by converting its higher-quality opportunities.Halle Majorana found Kelly Cross on a cut to cut the lead to 5-4. Stony Brook defenders struggled as SU worked the ball faster around the cage looking for spaces to dodge and cut.“We stuck to our game plan,” Gary Gait said. “We were playing frantic in the first half, and we weren’t dodging anybody. It took us a while to figure out (Stony Brook’s defense), but we did in the second half.”Late rotations led to fouls — Stony Brook was whistled 28 times to SU’s 16 — and the Orange earned three free-position shots that way in the second stanza. Gabby Jaquith tied the game with 12:11 remaining, Gait untied it moments later and Erica Bodt gave SU a cushion with six minutes to go. In the first half, Syracuse went 0-for-2 on free position shots. In the second half, a perfect 3-for-3.Once SBU’s defense was solved, SU used its attacks to spread the field and allowed its midfield to go inside. Lisa Rogers, a redshirt junior who hasn’t started this year, scored her fifth goal of the season in the first half. None of the three midfielders who scored to give SU the late lead is among the team’s top five scorers.“We opened up the field (when Stony Brook went zone),” Treanor said. “It helped us get easier shots. We had a lot of people step up today. They made their shots when it mattered.” Comments Published on May 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TRcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Gallery: Syracuse women’s lacrosse advances to NCAA tournament quarterfinals with win over Stony BrookKayla Treanor named 1 of 5 Tewaaraton Award finalists for 3rd straight yearlast_img read more