UAlbany Women's Lacrosse Pushes #5/4 Syracuse to the Brink in Close Battle, Narrowly Edged in Final 10 Seconds 13-12
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The UAlbany women’s lacrosse team battled back from down three to take the lead with just over four minutes left, but fell in the final seconds to #5/4 Syracuse 13-12 on Monday night in the Carrier Dome.
Down 9-6 with under 19 minutes left, UAlbany (2-2) went on a 6-2 streak, taking the lead on a Dakotah Savitcheff steal from the goalie on the ride and goal on the run. Syracuse scored on two free position shots in the final two minutes to get the win.
“I feel today we spread the ball around well against a talent team,” said UAlbany head coach John Battaglino. “I want everyone to be a threat, and that is what we started to do today. I’m very proud of our kids, and they played their hearts out.”
Nearly all stat categories were the same in the game, with UAlbany outshooting Syracuse 14-12 in the second half and holding the Orange to no assists all game. The main difference was on free position shots, with Syracuse going 9-for-15 while UAlbany was 0-for-1.
UAlbany had seven players score multiple points, including Kenzie Neal finishing with three goals and an assist. Savitcheff also had three goals with two caused turnovers while Sarah Martin got three goals and four draw controls. Erin Leghart, starting her first collegiate game, had nine saves in the defeat.
For Syracuse, Nicole Levy had six goals, converting all four free position shots. Riley Donahue had the game-winning goal, finishing with two. Asa Goldstock had eight saves in the win.
Syracuse opened the game with a converted free position shot from Levy, then after a pair of point blank saves by Leghart, Mary Rahal scored another free position shot straight away to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
UAlbany responded on its next change as Emily Mizer fired a pass to the center of the fan to Martin, who whipped a shot low into the net. UAlbany’s defense continued to hold, then while man-down, Mizer passed inside to Neal, who scored while falling down to tie the game.
UAlbany’s defense held against Syracuse for the next nine minutes in the field of play, with Leghart makes saves and the defenders holding off cuts to the arc. Syracuse found its goals on free position attempts, netting three straight to lead 5-2.
The Great Danes found success with the outside pass into the arc for close range shots twice more. Martin received a another pass from Mizer for a goal, as did Savitcheff from Neal. Syracuse had goals to match each of UAlbany’s and went into the locker room up 7-4.
UAlbany’s offense started to click starting in the second half, beginning with Sam Tortora emerging from behind the cage and scoring over the goalie’s shoulder, then Emma Powlin recovering a Martin shot off the post and hitting her own shot, pulling UAlbany within one at 7-6 just over four minutes into the second.
Syracuse got the two goals back in the following minutes, including another free position score, to lead 9-6.
Responding off a caused turnover by Sierra McIver, UAlbany got towards the right post off a pass from Kaylee Rickert. Avoiding the keeper, Neal flipped the ball over the keeper close range for the goal. Next possession off the won draw, Tortora passed through three Syracuse defenders to Savitcheff, who netted the shot under the crossbar, bringing UAlbany back within one at 9-8 with just under 18 minutes to play.
Leghart made a big save after Syracuse won the draw, as Kelzi Van Atta got one-on-one against the keeper, and the freshman made the stop. After the clear, Rickert threw a bouncing ball past Goldstock into the left post to tie the game at 9-9 with 16:29 left in the half.
The sides exchanged goals as Levy scored again for Syracuse, then Tortora sprinted down for the clear, passing to Powlin, passing to Martin for the ground ball shot and score left corner. Tie game again at 10-10.
UAlbany get possession after Imani Hedgeman drew a charge. UAlbany cleared but lost the ball on a turnover, leading to SU clearing and Levy scoring close range to put the Orange back ahead 11-10. UAlbany got it back to a tie minutes later on a play-up situation, with Martin finding the open Neal for the goal, making it 11-11 with just over seven minutes left.
Martin got off UAlbany’s next shot, being saved by Goldstock. As she tried to clear, Savitcheff intercepted her pass outside the restraining line, bolted to the cage and beat the keeper for the goal, putting UAlbany up 12-11 with 4:05 remaining.
UAlbany got the next draw and ran off over a minute, but lost possession on a turnover. Syracuse drew a free position shot the other way, with Levy converting to tie the game at 12-12 with 1:51 to play.
Possession shuffled back and forth in the final minutes, with UAlbany winning the draw, but losing possession. UAlbany got it back with 30 seconds left but lost it in the midfield. SU got back the ball, got a person-up situation, and score a free position shot with nine seconds left, leading to the victory.
UAlbany will get set for its next opponent, taking on reigning NCAA champion North Carolina on Friday, March 3rd in Baltimore.