Women’s LAX avoids defeat after Hokies’ second half run

Women's LAX avoids defeat after Hokies' second half run

Virginia Tech scored four straight goals in the last seven and a half minutes of the game to bring the Orange within one.
Published: April 4, 2019

Despite a four-goal lead at the half, the Syracuse women’s lacrosse team finished with a goal advantage over Virginia Tech Wednesday evening, defeating the Hokies by a narrow 14-13.

It might have been a home game for the Orange, but that was not reflected in the turf. The purple and gold of the Christian Brothers Academy field in nearby DeWitt took the place of the familiar orange in the end zones.

The weather at the outdoor venue: 44 degrees Fahrenheit, clouds overhead and plenty of wind by the time Emily Hawryschuk and her Hokie counterpart took the opening draw. The conditions were less than ideal, especially when compared to the comfort of the Carrier Dome, where the temperature can be controlled and wind is nonexistent.

None of this seemed to matter, though, once the game began, as the Orange jumped out to a 4-0 lead within the first four minutes of the game. The first goal came just 58 seconds into the game after Mary Rahal found the back of the net. Even after Virginia Tech got on the board with its first couple of goals, the Orange continued to pile on the scoring, going up 7-2.

At this point, the game seemed to be a blowout. Syracuse was scoring at will, Virginia Tech looked uncomfortable with the ball, and it didn’t appear anything would be changing any time soon. The Orange had even locked down defensively on multiple occasions, forcing two shot-clock violations against the Hokies in the first half.

But for some reason, the Orange just could not shake this pesky Virginia Tech team. Even after heading into halftime ahead four goals and adding another two on top of that early in the second period, the game was far from over.

With 17 minutes remaining in the game, the Orange were five goals ahead following a perfectly-timed cut to the goal by Hawryschuk, who muscled her way to the cage and somehow found the back of the net. The lead was sizable considering how much time was left, but not insurmountable for the Hokies. Enter a scoring drought – for what felt like an eternity – considering the type of rapid-fire scoring from Syracuse that took place in the first half.

That drought would eventually be broken by Virginia Tech nearly ten minutes after Hawryschuk scored the goal at the 17-minute mark to pull the Orange within four. Despite an impressive defensive stand during this time, the Orange had lost its rhythm on the other side of the field, and that Hawryschuk goal was the team’s last of the evening.

Virginia Tech would go on to score four straight goals, one of which was scored with only about two and a half minutes left in the game. Then, the Hokies scored again just over a minute later. The Orange were now only up two goals and looked rattled. They just needed to stall to pull out the win.

But with 30 seconds remaining, the Hokies found a way to score yet another goal, cutting the lead to one. After the Orange controlled the final draw of the game, and there just was not enough time for Virginia Tech.

“We hung on, and we did what we needed to do to get the ‘W’ and made it exciting for the fans again,” Syracuse head coach Gary Gait joked after the game.

Games like these need all 60 minutes to play out. At the beginning of the game, it appeared Syracuse would wipe the floor with these visitors from Virginia. Such a long game creates many opportunities for a team to go on a run.

This was very much the case at the very end of Wednesday’s game. The Orange were able to fend off the Hokies just long enough to keep the game from going into overtime.

Syracuse heads to Chapel Hill, North Carolina Saturday to take on UNC in its final road game of the regular season. The Orange will draw against the Tar Heels at noon.