Timely run propels No. 3 Syracuse to 19-15 win over No. 8 Duke
For the first 34 minutes of the game, neither Syracuse nor Duke could build on its momentum. When the Blue Devils jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead just 7:27 into the game, the Orange responded with three goals of its own.
When Syracuse built an 8-5 advantage with five minutes to play in the first half, it took Duke less than four minutes to cut that lead to one.
Each run was met with another, and neither team could find a way to cushion the lead.
“You get in a rut sometimes,” SU attack Alyssa Murray said. “Teams take runs, that’s how lacrosse is, but we just try and get bigger runs and more frequent runs.”
It was a Murray feed to Kailah Kempney with 26 minutes to play that sparked a massive run for No. 3 Syracuse (10-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast), as it was finally able to dust the No. 8 Blue Devils (7-4, 2-2), 19-15 in front of 997 fans at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.
After Duke quickly cut the lead to 10-8 following halftime, Syracuse methodically delivered blow after blow to Duke with an 8-1 run that spanned 18:06 of game action.
“We got a real big run at the draw there in the second half of the first half and gave us some possessions and we put our opportunities away,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “I thought their defense tried some shutoffs and I thought we stayed poised.”
In the first half, Syracuse had several chances to pad the lead, but couldn’t.
Kayla Treanor juked a defender, and found an open Taylor Poplawski. Her goal put the Orange ahead 4-3. After a slow start, Syracuse had appeared to turn the corner.
“They were face-guarding me so I just got the ball and I tried to take my defender one v. one,” Treanor said. “Taylor was wide open and Taylor made a great play finishing it.
“It’s always good when you get the lead.”
But the lead didn’t last long. Two minutes and a Duke free-position shot later, the score was tied again — this time at four.
It wasn’t until the second half that Syracuse’s lead would become insurmountable.
“I thought our team played very well, executed and built a substantial lead,” Gait said. “And it allowed us an opportunity to get some of our other players in there.”
Seven different players scored during the late run, but it was Murray who served as the spark. She assisted on three of the goals and scored on two more.
Before her first goal, she ran around the defense to the right of the cage, before cutting in front of the net and firing in a shot.
It put the Orange up 17-9, and was the 30oth point of her Syracuse career. Just a minute later she scored again and Syracuse had doubled up Duke.
“She’s done it since she showed up on campus,” Gait said. “I think that’s what I appreciate the most is the work ethic, the killer instinct, the wanting to win every practice, every game.”
After the game, Murray sat at the press table, proudly sporting her “Beat Duke” T-shirt. She had first started wearing it for Tuesday’s practice, the first of the week.
Now that the goal had actually been accomplished there was no longer any motivation to win, just pride that it had happened.
For more than the first half of the game, there was certainly reason to question whether Syracuse could make it happen.
The second half only provided answers.
“What we talked about after the game is that every game is an opportunity to learn and improve,” Gait said. “And that’s kind of the way we look at it. Whether you win or lose, you’re playing against the best, so you’re going to learn something about yourselves.”
Published on March 29, 2014 at 7:35 pm