SU women drop game to Virginia in lacrosse, 21-11

No. 7 Cavaliers shut down SU's Tumolo and Ladouceur and ride offense to easy victory over No. 5 Orange.

Complete and utter domination.

That was the only way to explain the 21-11 loss suffered by the No. 5 Syracuse women’s lacrosse team on Sunday. The No. 7 Virginia Cavaliers tore through the Syracuse defense, shut down their two biggest offensive threats and ran roughshod over the Orange.

The Cavaliers pushed and prodded the Orange defense until they exposed a hole.

Their attack weaved their way through the Syracuse zone and used second and third chances to open up a five-goal lead in the first half.

The lone bright spot was the outstanding performance by freshman Katie Webster. Webster torched the Virginia defense for six goals and two assists.

Her ability to score was largely because Virginia shut down sophomore Michelle Tumolo and senior Tee Ladouceur. The two Syracuse offensive stars had combined for nine goals and six assists through the first two games of the season. Sunday they combined for two goals and two assists.

Webster attributed her performance to the increased confidence that comes with experience. “In the first half I didn’t really take it to the goal. I was nervous and didn’t think I could. In the second half I tried to take it to the goal more and keep my head up,” she said.

Head coach Gary Gait pointed out that preparation played a large part in her game as well. “ Katie’s an exceptional athlete. I think the great thing is, she listened to the scouting report on the goalie and knew that she came out, stick up high,” he said.

Syracuse fell behind quickly, 6-2, midway through the first half. Virginia patiently kept the ball out of Syracuse’s possession, limiting their offensive opportunities. That created havoc for the Syracuse defense.

Eventually head coach Gary Gait decided he had seen enough. Senior goalkeeper Liz Hogan was yanked from the game with 3:50 to play in the first half.

“I wouldn’t call it a benching,” Gait said. “She was having a tough day. We didn’t give her a lot of help out there.”

 In stepped freshman Alyssa Constantino. She immediately shored up the Syracuse defense, making two stops on Virginia free-position shots. She finished with three saves on the day. Hogan recorded seven saves while allowing 15 goals.

Hogan returned to start the second half but allowed five straight goals to the Cavaliers. Within the first 10 minutes of the half Constantino returned to her spot between the pipes.

For Gait, there were problems on all sides that led to the crushing defeat. “Just a tough game. Top to bottom we made mistakes. Some little things and some big things. We didn’t come together as a team and get the job done,” he said.

Senior defender Lindsay Rogers pointed to a lack of communication as the main reason behind Syracuse’s poor performance. “They had good possessions but overall our defense wasn’t communicating. We have to work on our team defense,” she said.

The team has the next two weeks off before embarking on a tough six-game road trip. The Orange face off against No.1 Maryland on March 12, before moving on to play three more top 20 opponents. The final two games of the stretch are at Northwestern and Rutgers.

The only way the team will get through the heart of the schedule is to trust each other and work hard, Rogers said. “The biggest thing is everyone needs to believe in themselves and each other. Just keep supporting each other in practice and work harder,” she said.

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