Syracuse Remains Undefeated, Tops Northwestern
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 2 Syracuse broke open a tie game with five consecutive goals covering a span of more than 10 minutes on its way to a 16-12 win against No. 10 Northwestern. A Carrier Dome crowd of 1,593 saw the Orange win their fifth straight game to start the season.
"It was a great opportunity to play a great opponent," said Syracuse coach Gary Gait. "I thought it was an outstanding team effort on our part to come out on top at the end of the day. Our defense played tough. I thought our draw controls were outstanding. I really thought we made plays when we had to. We made a lot of mistakes [but] it's early in the season. We'll learn from that and get better."
Senior Halle Majorana led Syracuse's offense with seven points on three goals and four assists, which tie her career high. Senior Kayla Treanor tallied a game-high high four goals to go along with one assist. She once again dominated in the draw circle, recording 14 draw controls, four more than Northwestern posted on the day. In addition, freshman Nicole Levyrecorded her first hat trick.
Northwestern juniors Sheila Nesselbush and Christina Esposito matched their career highs with four and three goals scored, respectively.
Majorana helped Syracuse (5-0) to a fast start as she scored 44 seconds into the game as the Orange jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Northwestern (1-2) responded with five unanswered goals to take a 5-3 lead before back-to-back goals by Treanor, both on assists from Majorana, evened the score. After the teams traded goals, the Orange found the back of the net twice in the final 3:48 on tallies by Treanor and senior Kelly Cross to give Syracuse an 8-6 halftime lead.
The Orange started the second half down two players after two sticks were deemed illegal by the officials and were issued a pair of two-minute non-releasable penalties to open the second half.
Northwestern scored with just two seconds remaining in the two-minute penalty and followed with a goal by Sheila Nesselbush to even the score at 8-8 with 23:41 remaining. Majorana quickly gave Syracuse the lead for good on a free position goal 41 seconds later. Majorana's goal, her third of the day, sparked the Orange on a 5-0 scoring run to give Syracuse control of the game. Levy and redshirt sophomore Taylor Gait each recorded two goals during the run.
Kaleigh Craig halted the Orange's offensive outburst with her second goal of the day, which was the Wildcats' first goal in 10:49 of play. Northwestern added another goal to cut the deficit to three at 13-10, but that was close as the Wildcats could get. The Orange posted three straight goals to take their largest lead of the game at 16-10 with 3:17 remaining. Northwestern scored a pair of late goals for the 16-12 final.
The Orange held a slight advantage in shots, 28-27, and both squads picked up 14 ground balls. Graduate student Allie Murray made four saves for Syracuse, while Mallory Weisse had seven for Northwestern. The two teams were whistled for a combined 89 fouls in the game (53 by Syracuse and 36 by Northwestern), while the 20-10 advantage in the draw circle for the Orange played a key role in the win.
Syracuse will face its second straight top-five opponent when it hosts No. 3 Florida on Tuesday, March 1 at noon ET in the Carrier Dome. Northwestern is back in action on Thursday when they travel to Louisville, Kentucky, to take on the undefeated Cardinals. Opening draw for the 'Cats is scheduled for 12 p.m. CT.
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