No. 8 Syracuse escapes upset bid from No. 11 Cornell with a 4-0, 2nd half run
Codie Yan | Staff Photographer
With seven seconds left in the first half and SU trailing 5-4, junior Neena Merola fired at the Cornell goalie, Renee Poullott, who blocked the shot. Junior Riley Donahue scooped up the ball and turned toward the net. She rifled a shot past Poullott and tied the game at five. Merola ran to Donahue and started the group hug while junior Alie Jimerson raised her arms in celebration.
“Neena Merola (had) a really hard, good take,” Donahue said. “Time was running out, so it was good just to get a shot off. I just happened to be in the right position and saw an open net.”
No. 8 Syracuse (13-4, 5-1 Atlantic Coast) came back in the second half to stave off an upset bid from No. 11 Cornell (10-3, 5-0 Ivy), 11-7, on Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. In the second half, SU capitalized on the key moments it failed to convert in the first. The Orange also used a four-goal run to pull away from a Big Red team that, until then, always seemed to have an answer.
“They’re (Cornell) very tricky,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “Sometimes they play man-to-man and then they drop into a zone. Just when you start getting comfortable playing man-to-man, they change.”
In the first half, SU failed to capitalize on any of its scoring opportunities.
In the first ten minutes of the game, the Orange went 1-for-9 on shots. In almost two minutes during that time, five shots were on goal. Two were saved by Poullott and the other three flew wide or high. Jimerson came the closest to making it in, but the the ball clanged off the top post and flew out.
Yet, less than a minute into the second half, it seemed SU had figured out Cornell’s strategy. Attack Devon Parker caught a pass from Donahue and hit the bottom corner of the net. Jimerson jumped on Parker to celebrate SU’s first lead of the game.
“Sometimes we come into the first half and get a little in our own head,” Parker said, “and we forget how to run our offense. Sometimes it takes that halftime speech, like a new play drawn on the board, to pull it out and take the smarts that we have to put it in the back of the net. That’s what happened in the second half.”
Cornell tied the game again five minutes later on a tally by Sarah Phillips, but SU swiftly answered with a 4-0 scoring run in 5:27 to cement the Orange’s lead.
Jimerson, assisted by Mary Rahal, had the first of the four goals when she fired the ball past the goalie’s hip and into the net. Donahue followed up with a solo act. The junior attack then connected with Jimerson, who found the top twine. Rahal then finished the run herself by beating her defender from behind the net to give herself a high-percentage look in front of the crease.
“That was a really good Cornell team,” Gait said “and we knew they were good. They certainly … gave us a battle.”
Published on April 18, 2017 at 11:15 pm
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