Syracuse women’s lacrosse opens season with dominant game over Connecticut

Syracuse women's lacrosse wins home opener 23-11

The Orange broke away from the Huskies in the second half.
Published: February 11, 2018
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Julie Cross with the ball for Syracuse vs. Connecticut.

No. 7 Syracuse women’s lacrosse began its season with a 23-11 victory over former Big East Conference rival Connecticut.

The Syracuse offense tore the Huskies’ defense to shreds from the opening draw. The Orange had 12 different players score in the game. Syracuse sophomore Emily Hawryschuk led the way with four goals while junior Nicole Levy, sophomore Vanessa Costantino and senior Neena Merola each finished with three goals.

Emily Hawryschuk, who ranked second on the team in goals (38) last season, thinks Syracuse’s depth was not only key for the team in this game, but also scary for opposing teams when scouting Syracuse.

“I think the best teams in the country are the ones that have a bunch of (offensive) threats. When you just have one goal scorer, it’s easier to shut that girl down. But when you have seven people on the offense and even more on the bench that can step in and make plays, it’s really hard for a team to scout us,” Hawryschuk said.

Connecticut players with the ball
Connecticut players with the ball vs. Syracuse.

Despite the final score, Syracuse struggled to get breathing room in the first half. The Orange led by one goal, 9-8, at halftime largely due to missed opportunities on draws. With about 12 minutes left in the first half, Syracuse had won only one draw while the Huskies had won nine.

“It seemed in that first 20 minutes, every time the ball came flying out of that (draw) circle, it was going right to them. And that’s because you’re not understanding where it’s coming out. You’re not reading it well,” said Syracuse Head Coach Gary Gait.

The second half was a completely different story for Syracuse. And it all started with getting the ball back to the offense. Gait noticed that in the first half his team was scoring on its opportunities, but there just weren’t that many.

In the second half, Syracuse was able to rely on its depth to expand its lead. The Orange put several lines in the game, especially in the midfield. This depth helped Syracuse outscore Connecticut 14-3 in the second half.

“Being able to have two lines going and actually getting that third line in there … really allowed us to pick up the pace and keep it going in that second half,” Gait said.

With the win over Connecticut, Syracuse remains undefeated against the Huskies in the all-time series at 18-0. When speaking about his team’s overall offensive performance, Coach Gait did not mince his words. “I thought it was one of the best efforts by our attack I’ve seen in a long time,” said the 2017 ACC Coach of the Year.

Syracuse travels on the road for its next matchup against the Oregon Ducks. The Orange looks to replicate its explosive offensive from tonight on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Avatar for Marcus Gronauer

is a contributor to The NewsHouse at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.