After entering the second half without a single score and down four goals, No. 9 Maryland women’s lacrosse had finally cut No. 4 Syracuse’s lead to one.
But just as the Terps were starting to find their stride in the middle of the period, Orange senior attacker Emily Hawryschuk fired in a shot from the left side of the crease into the bottom corner of the goal to help fend off the comeback effort.
Hawryschuk’s goal ignited a four-goal run for Syracuse, which distanced itself from the surging Terps in a 10-5 defeat for head coach Cathy Reese’s squad.
Last weekend, Maryland lost its second consecutive game for the first time in Reese’s tenure, and with the loss Saturday, the program has reached a new low with three straight defeats.
“Our team needs to refocus on details,” Reese said. “We need to be able to play 60 minutes and not have these burst of great play and then lows as well.”
The game was originally scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. at the Carrier Dome, but the weather conditions in upstate New York prompted a change in venue.
Head coach Gary Gait had some choice words for having to change course.
“You feel a little bit disrespected,” Gait said. “It doesn’t make you feel good, but it gets you excited to come down here and play well.”
Reese responded to the situation, saying, “We were told by our University of Maryland DOTS transportation that they didn’t feel comfortable for the safety of the student athletes traveling up to New York.”
Maryland failed to effectively penetrate the crease in the first 30 minutes, discombobulating the communication of the offense and leaving the team with no momentum.
“We weren’t attacking the cage,” Reese said. “It’s against a defense that sits in the 8-meter and just clogs space ... it took us a while to make those adjustments.”
The Terps committed a whopping 11 turnovers in the first half — six of which were a result of miscommunications on their end. These early turnovers led to opportunities for Syracuse, which the team capitalized on twice in the first half.
About three minutes into the contest, Syracuse freshman midfielder Meaghan Tyrrell scored the first goal of the contest off a pass from senior attacker Emily Hawryschuk following an early turnover from senior attacker Kali Hartshorn.
With 17:56 remaining in the first half, sophomore midfielder Sierra Cockerille took advantage of the Maryland turnover misfortunes as well, ripping a shot into the back of the net to give her team a 3-0 advantage.
The physicality trend of the contest translated to the opposite side of the field as well, as the Orange tested Maryland’s defensive poise by methodically winding down the shot clock on multiple possessions.
With the defense on the ropes early and often, sophomore goalkeeper Maddie McSally — who had previously started every game this season before Reese elected to go with freshman Emily Sterling against No. 1 North Carolina last game — responded well, saving seven of Syracuse’s 14 shots in the first half to keep the Terps in the game.
“Honestly, I just said I was a badass,” McSally said. “I was just gonna go out there and save the ball.”
With the decision to give McSally the start in the cage, the Terps were able to stay within striking distance of the Orange despite producing a goose egg on the scoreboard in the first 30 minutes.
Coming out of halftime, the Terps had been held scoreless for 30:47. That was until junior midfielder Hannah Warther continued her strong offensive output this season with a shot from the left side of the crease to finally put one on the board for Maryland.
Following another goal from Tyrrell, midfielder Grace Griffin found the back of the net for the first time this season, as the Terps shortened the deficit to 5-2 with over 25 minutes remaining in the game.
The tide began to shift in the favor of the Terps, as the Orange attack committed five consecutive turnovers early in the second half.
Griffin responded to Syracuse’ struggles with her second goal of the outing, cutting a wrist shot through heavy traffic in the middle off of an assist from Hartshorn.
The junior captain then found a cutting Brindi Griffin for the team’s fourth goal of the afternoon as the Terps began to show some life on the cold afternoon.
But Syracuse’s leader silenced the Terps comeback however, as Hawryschuk sparked a four-goal run with 12:30 left that put the game out of reach in another deflating defeat for Maryland.
Three things to know
1. Turnovers continue to haunt the Terps. Maryland’s new look squad has had some major growing pains thus far this season. The obvious 1-3 record is something coach Reese wishes to put on the upscale, but turnovers figure to become a major point of emphasis as the season drags on. Maryland had 20 turnovers against the Orange — 11 of which came in the first half.
2. Maddie McSally showed up. The carousel in goal continued for Maryland, with McSally rejoining the starting lineup after giving way to Sterling the past two games. The sophomore really shined in this one, making save after save and keeping the Orange at bay — despite the loss. McSally finished with 13 saves, including a great save off of her foot to stifle a two-on-one fast break from Carney and Hawryschuk.
“She came out and did exactly what she needed to for us to be successful,” senior captain Meghan Doherty said.
3. The Terps showed some fight. The Terps looked lost early on, but despite being down for the majority of the game, Maryland showed some tenacity in the second half. The team cut down on the turnover woes from the previous half and got the ball moving well on offense.
The defense stepped it up even more, causing 11 turnovers in the latter half of the game to really put the pressure on the Orange. But the unit couldn’t fully slow down the Syracuse run.
“It’s not about the outcome for us,” Doherty said. “It’s about getting better each play and executing our game plan.”