SU field hockey falls in first round of NCAA Tournament

The Orange lost for the first time at home in 46 games in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Michigan State Spartans.

For the last 46 games, the No. 2 Syracuse (16-4) field hockey team hadn’t lost a game at J.S. Coyne Stadium. But things changed when No. 20 Michigan State (14-9) came to town for the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Spartans ended the Orange’s home win streak in a 2-1 loss for Syracuse Saturday afternoon.

The Orange outshot MSU 21-4, but the Spartans connected on two of its three shots on net, while goalie Molly Cassidy recorded 10 saves.

The first goal of the game came in the sixth minute off the stick of Spartan forward Abby Barker. Baker took a pass from fellow junior forward Allie Ahern in the left side of the circle. The score was Baker’s team-high 18th of the season.

Syracuse netted the equalizer in the 29th minute of the game off a penalty corner. Midfielder Alyssa Manley lifted into the back of the net off the rebound of senior Leonie Geyer’s stuffed shot. The Orange finished the game with four penalty corners to Michigan State’s one.

MSU midfielder Kristin Matula scored the go-ahead goal in the 52nd minute, bringing the ball into the circle and beating SU goalkeeper Jess Jecko on a two-on-one. Jecko recorded one save on the afternoon. Matula scored her second goal of the season and Michigan State’s second of the game off of a Syracuse turnover. The Orange pressured from that point on but could not find the net in the closing minutes.

SU field hockey’s seniors may have ended their season earlier than they wished, but leave behind very memorable careers. The seniors finished with an overall 70-16 record, and until Saturday never lost at home. The seniors also won two regular season conference titles, two conference tournament titles, and made four NCAA Tournament appearances along with one Final Four in 2012.

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