April 15, 2009

Seniors Deliver; No. 8 Syracuse Beats No. 18 Cornell

from press release

SYRAUCSE, N.Y. - Senior Awehiyo Thomas capped her final regular season game at the Carrier Dome with a resounding four-goal burst to lead the Orange in an 11-8 victory against No. 18 Cornell on Wednesday night. Senior Katie Rowan produced six assists in her final regular season peformance to aid in the victory.

Syracuse dominated the first half with a five-goal pad, 8-3, but the Big Red surged back and outscored SU in the second session, 5-3. The Orange hung on for its 11th victory of the season and turns its attention to conference foe Rutgers on Saturday, April 18. Syracuse and Rutgers faceoff in Piscataway, N.J.

Cornell made a valiant rally, but it fell just short as No. 8 Syracuse won its third straight over the Big Red with an 11-8 victory on Wednesday evening at the Carrier Dome. The Big Red got a pair of goals from Syracuse native Shannon McHugh and two goals and an assist from Skaneateles native Libby Johnson in the defeat, dropping Cornell to 7-5 on the year. The Orange improved to 11-3.

McHugh scored both of her goals in the second half run as Cornell rallied from a 10-3 deficit to get within 10-8 with 4:35 to play. Another Big Red goal was waved off late for a crease violation and the Orange were able to run the clock out on the upstarts. Tissy O'Connor was also huge all night, scoring once, winning five ground balls and two draws and causing a turnover. Seniors Halsey Diakow and Deirdre Lafferty chipped in a goal apiece, while classmate Jessica Wiegand and freshman Jessi Steinberg had an assist each. Kristen Reese made five saves, all in the first half, and also won a ground ball and caused a turnover.

SU All-American candidate Katie Rowan was held without a goal, but was able to generate six assists. High-scoring Christina Dove and Halley Quillinan tallied just three goals between them, but Awehiyo Thomas stepped up with four scores.

Cornell held a 23-20 edge in shots and was a perfect 15-of-15 clearing the ball, leading to several fastbreak opportunities. The Orange won the battle at the draw control circle (13-8) and got 10 big saves from goalkeeper Liz Hogan in the victory.

Cornell trailed 8-3 at the half despite playing an inspired half of lacrosse in the first 30 minutes. Reese made five saves and O'Connor was outstanding on both ends, scoring a goal, winning three ground balls and leading the clearing game for the Big Red. Reese made four saves on the All-American Rowan, but she was able to contribute with five first-half assists. 

The Orange scored two quick goals to set the pace, as Tee Ladoceur found the back of the net 1:43 in on a free-position shot and Awehiyo Thomas scored the first of three first-half goals 36 second later after a broken play at midfield. Cornell responded though, not allowing the home team to pull away so easily. Johnson got the Big Red on the board with an odd-angle free-position shot that beat Hogan over her shoulder at the 26:44 mark. O'Connor then tied it up in front of the net on a nice feed from Jessi Steinberg at 25:10 to make it 2-2. After Reese saved a low shot, her outlet pass to O'Connor triggered a fastbreak that resulted in a free-position shot that hit the pipe. The failed clear by Suracuse resulted in another fastbreak for Wiegand, but the senior was stoned by the SU keeper to keep the game tied eight minutes in.

After those two missed opportunities, the Orange took control with its offensive efficiency. Christina Dove scored her 42nd goal of the season on a feed from Rowan before Rowan connected on another pass, this time to Thomas at the 19:43 mark. Rowan completed the assist hat trick when she hit a speeding Bridget Looney to go up 5-2 after her rocket shot at 18:05.

Cornell cut the deficit to two when Hogan stoned a shot by Halsey Diakow in front of the cage, but the ball fell right back into the senior's stick and she one-timed it past the sprawling goalkeeper with 14:55 on the clock to cut the deficit to 5-3. That would be the last time the Big Red would find the net in the half, as the Orange would end the half on a 3-0 run as Cornell would go scoreless for the final 14:55. Rowan assisted on a pair of goals in the final nine minutes, including Halley Quillinan's score with 2:57 left to round out the first-half scoring.

Shots were closely contested in the first 30 minutes with Syracuse holding a slim 14-11 edge, but it was on the draw (8-4) that SU took its biggest advantage, Cornell cleared all seven attempts from Syracuse's offensive zone and Hogan made it stand up with seven saves between the pipes.

SU got on the board 2:29 into the second half when Looney found the back of the net to make it 9-3. The run extended to 5-0 when Rowan again assisted on a goal, this time to Thomas at 22:58. From there, the Big Red got right back in the game with a 3-0 spurt of its own.Johnson, Lafferty and McHugh each found the back of the net in succession to cut the SU lead to 10-6 with 9:52 left. When Wiegand found Lindsey Kane on a fastbreak after a Orange turnover to make it 10-7 with 6:16 left, Cornell was energized and back in the game. Another Syracuse turnover turned into a lightning-fast goal, this time on a midfield run by McHugh to get back within 10-8 with 4:35 left. After Syracuse won the ensuing draw, the Big Red forced yet another turnover, but handed it back on a bad clearing pass with under four minutes to play. 

The Orange was able to capitalize on a free-position attempt, as Lindsey Rogers found Megan Mosenson on a quick start with 2:19 left for a goal on the open net to push the lead back to three (11-8), but McHugh won the draw and drew a foul inside the fan, but her free-position shot was saved by Hogan. Cornell forced a quick turnover and Jessica Wiegand appeared to score, but the goal was waved off for a crease violation. The Orange were able to clear the ball and run out the clock to earn the victory.

The Big Red continue Ivy League play when it visits Yale on Saturday, April 18 at 1 p.m. in New Haven, Conn.

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