Syracuse Shows Full Arsenal, Downs Florida 17-12
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse head coach Gary Gait has consistently emphasized the importance of capitalizing on scoring chances during the 2014 season.
On Monday, his No. 3 Orange squad failed to do so and fell for the first time this season to ACC power Maryland.
However, all of the firepower scattered throughout the Syracuse lineup was on full display Saturday afternoon. Sophomore attacker Kayla Treanor netted a hat trick and her 100th collegiate goal, while standout freshman Taylor Poplawski broke out of her recent slump with four goals during Syracuse's 17-12 victory over the No. 4 Florida Gators at the Carrier Dome.
But that was only the beginning. Eight different players scored goals for the Orange, including six with multiple tallies. Unlike five nights ago against the Terrapins, it seemed like anyone in the lineup could score at will.
"We had plenty of scoring chances and opportunities," Gait said. "We scored some goals early and took advantage of those opportunities."
Devon Collins put the Orange on the board with 19:50 left in the first half on a beautiful wrap-around attempt. She also added the final insurance goal with 43 seconds left in the game.
Poplawski was responsible for a quartet of goals, one of which gave the Orange an 8-3 advantage during the closing moments of the first 30 minutes. Amy Cross fired a shot on Florida goalie Cara Canington that bounced right in front of the net. Rather than give Canington time to recover, however, Poplawski simply shoveled the ball into the net with one quick swipe.
"Sometimes you get lucky at those ones," Gait said. "That's one thing Taylor Pop does. She gets around the ball and wants to score all the time."
That's a benefit to Treanor and Alyssa Murray, who don't have to worry about having an off game every now and then.
More impressive than the amount of goals was the way in which they were scored. Cuts in front, bullets from the top of the scoring zone, fast-break opportunities in transition; they came from all angles and directions.
But the Syracuse attackers had plenty of help in the draw circle. Led by new program record-holder Kailah Kempney and Kirkland Locey, the Orange won 20 of 31 draws. Their success gave the offense plenty of the extra possessions that were absent against Maryland.
"We worked on it all week," Kempney said. "We haven't done the greatest in draw controls the past couple games, so we've just been working hard on it as a team."
That hard work paid big dividends. Kempney gave a smile of relief after the game, as if to officially put the first loss in the rear-view mirror.
Syracuse goalkeeper Alyssa Costantino perhaps said it best though. This is a resilient team, and the offense is always capable of picking up the entire bunch after a rough performance.
"A tough person is someone who gets knocked down and gets back up," Costantino said. "So to get back up and beat a No. 4, really good Florida team, is a good win."
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