April 27, 2012

No. 2 Syracuse Holds Off Loyola for 13-12 Win

by Stephen Bailey | LaxMagazine.com

Gabby Jaquith scored three goals off the bench for No. 2 Syracuse in its 13-12 victory Friday over No. 14 Loyola.

 © Matt Riley

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse won the game of runs.

After scoring seven consecutive goals in the first half, and another five in the second, the Orange withstood a late-game comeback attempt from Loyola to escape with its 13th straight victory and the Big East regular season crown.

“When we’re on and we’re disciplined we can score goals, and we can score them in runs, but today was a story of two teams who can score in runs,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “They certainly answered back both times after we had a great run, they followed up with their own.”

Loyola mounted late-half rallies to keep the game close, but the No. 2 Orange (14-2, 7-0 Big East) capitalized on its two dominant scoring streaks to defeat the No. 14 Greyhounds  (10-5, 6-1) 13-12 Friday night, in front of 302 fans at SU Soccer Stadium. Syracuse won two-thirds of the draw controls and junior attack Michelle Tumolo scored a game-high four goals to give the Orange its longest winning streak in program history.

But in the opening minutes, it appeared an upset may be in the works. Kathleen Barranco and Hannah Schmitt put Loyola up 2-0 seven minutes into regulation, applying early pressure to the favored Orange.

“I think when a team scores on us, it’s like do or die,” Tumolo said. “We get really mad and we get amped up so we take it to them. We don’t let it get to our heads.”

The Orange responded with a 7-0 run, started by Tumolo, one of 25 Tewaaraton Award finalists.

After another SU score which tied the game at 2-2, SU sophomore midfielder Bridget Daley scooped up a loose ball at the top of the fan 10 minutes into the first half.

She found freshman Gabby Jaquith on the right, who quickly turned and whipped a shot over the head of Greyhounds goalkeeper Kerry Stoothoff and into the net.

The assist was one of two points for Daley, and gave the Orange a lead it would never relinquish.

“I think we’re just focusing on every play in the moment and that’s about it,” Daley said. “You’ve got to get the loose balls to win the game. It’s the draw controls, the loose balls. It’s those 50-50 plays that make the difference when you’re playing a one-goal game like this.”
Daley finished the run with seven minutes left, beating Stoothoff to give the Orange a five-goal edge.

It was a moment SU had experienced before. It had a chance to put away the Greyhounds. But uncharacteristically, the Orange faltered.

Loyola went on a 5-1 run and entered halftime trailing 8-7.

“I’ve seen a lot of teams just let it snowball and get away from them,” Loyola head coach Jen Adams said. “And that was our focus, ‘don’t let it get away from us. Chip away, one goal at a time.’ And that’s really what we did. I’m really proud of them.”

But the Orange took charge again, going on a 5-0 run spanning 13:10.

Tumolo scored twice to start the turnaround, controlling the pace of the game. After scoring two minutes into the half, she danced behind the crease six munutes later. With little movement in front of the net, Tumolo was patient.

Stoothoof, however, was not.

The senior goalie lurked farther and farther around each corner of the goal as Tumolo circled behind her. Eventually, Stoothoff came too far out, stepping behind the right of the net.

Tumolo wrapped around right and beat the out-of-position goalie with ease.

“It’s always just more intense once it gets closer to the end of the season,” Tumolo said. “We had Big East regular season champs on the line even though it didn’t really matter if we won it. It was just another game. But it definitely did feel like a playoff game also because they ended our season last year.”

The Greyhounds fought back again, responding with their own 5-0 run. But after scoring with 8:13 left to cut SU’s advantage to one, they were unable to score again.

The Orange walked away with another victory, the Big East regular season championship and the top seed in next weekend’s conference tournament.

“It’s just part of what we’re trying to do this year, and that’s be one of the top teams in the country,” Gait said. “That’s important to be the best team in the Big East. We’re happy that we’re that. That was one of our goals, and now we go on to the Big East tournament to get our next one.”

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