March 10, 2012

Syracuse Snaps Maryland's 36-Game Home Winning Streak

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Related: Live Blog Replay

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- No. 6 Syracuse ended Maryland's 36-game home winning streak Saturday afternoon, executing a disciplined game plan and holding on for a 10-9 win over the third-ranked Terps.

It was the Orange's first victory over Maryland in 12 attempts, as well as the highest-ranked opponent that Syracuse has defeated since 2004. The Terps' run of success in College Park had been the fifth-longest active home winning streak in all of NCAA Division I sports, but ended on a Syracuse defensive stop with less than 30 seconds left.

"It's amazing. I'm nothing but smiles. We're the real deal," said junior attacker Michelle Tumolo. "We were winning by three at the half, and we kept that. I'm glad that Syracuse could do it, because we haven't really made history, and we just made school history."

Orange sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Costantino finished with 10 saves, and Tumolo led all scorers with three goals and two assists. It was the third consecutive one-goal game for Syracuse, which this season took No. 1 Northwestern to overtime and upset No. 4 Florida, 12-11, in double overtime. It didn't take extra periods to defeat the Terps, but it did take careful, patient play and nerves of steel.

"They've learned how to finish a game and that's a hard thing to learn. We finished this one even better than the last one, and we're looking to improve on that," said Orange head coach Gary Gait, a former Maryland assistant.

The Terps briefly led in the first half, going up 2-0 at 21:16 when sophomore midfielder Beth Glaros (three goals) beat Costantino with a high shot. Syracuse responded with three goals in 3:03 to take a 3-2 lead. Tumolo got the go-ahead goal with a slick dodge followed by a low shot on Maryland senior goalie Brittany Dipper (eight saves).

The Orange never trailed after that, and led 5-2 at the half. But the Terps always stayed within striking distance and scored the last two goals of the game to come within 10-9 with 3:18 remaining.

Tumolo won the final draw and the Orange held the ball for nearly two minutes until Syracuse sophomore attacker Alyssa Murray (two assists) had a good look at the cage and took a low shot that Dipper saved to give the Terps a chance to force overtime.

With 31 seconds to play, junior midfielder Katie Schwarzmann was awarded the ball near the top of the fan with a clear path to the goal, but the Orange defense collapsed on her and her shot went wide. Syracuse junior defender Linley Block backed up the shot and gave the possession to the Orange with 27 seconds to play. After a Syracuse time out, Costantino held the ball in the crease for 10 seconds and then heaved it upfield, where Murray caught it near the midfield. The clock ran out, and the Orange claimed its first victory over the Terps.

"We are here to play, and we can play with anyone," said Costantino. "It was just about being tight on their cutters, really playing our D and stopping them from taking the shots they want to take."

The win boosts Syracuse to a 3-2 overall record, as Maryland drops to 5-2. The Terps, who lost at Duke, 10-9, on Feb. 25, have not had two regular-season losses since 2007, head coach Cathy Reese's first season in College Park.

Reese was unconcerned about ending the home winning streak – "It's one less thing to worry about," she said – but hoped that her team could improve its 9-for-30 shooting performance going into its next game versus Richmond.

"We need to finish our shots. Our shooting is not where we should be right now," said Reese. "I thought it was a great game, and our kids played really hard."

Syracuse, meanwhile, has withstood the toughest stretch of its nonconference schedule and emerged with a 2-1 record against a trio of top-5 teams. The Orange will host Towson on Tuesday before opening Big East league play versus Connecticut on March 24.

"They played their guts out and worked hard for this the last couple of weeks. For them to come off Northwestern and Florida and you run into Maryland, it just shows how hard they've been working," said Gait. "They've put everything into the season. It's a great win."


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