May 3, 2014

Point Taken: Harbeson Leads Syracuse to Win

by Tyler Piccotti | | Live Blog Replay

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Defender Liz Harbeson had played in 62 games for Syracuse prior to its showdown with Loyola (Md.) in the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon, but she never scored a goal.

Heck, she never even recorded a single point.

But on Senior Day, with her family in attendance, Harbeson cemented a memory she will never forget.

With SU clinging to a one-goal lead in overtime, Harbeson intercepted goalkeeper Molly Wolf’s pass out of a timeout and found the twine for the first and only time of her college tenure. Thus, she helped the No. 2 Orange (18-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast) escape with a thrilling 14-12 victory over the No. 12 Greyhounds (15-5, 8-0 Patriot League).

As if that wasn’t cool enough, the senior’s teammates then triumphantly carried her down the sideline once the game ended. The whole time, she was in jubilant shock.

“I think I had the biggest smile on my face, and I couldn’t let it go,” Harbeson said. “It was great.”

At first, it appeared she would never get her chance. Thanks to a dominant 10-0 start in the draw circle, the Orange jumped out to a commanding 6-1 lead in the first half.

In the second frame, though, turnovers and poor decisions on offense allowed the Greyhounds to surge ahead to a 12-9 lead. But thanks to some late heroics by Alyssa Murray and Kayla Treanor, the Orange rallied to force the extra session.

“We started out great, had a lapse, then rallied in the end,” Orange head coach Gary Gait said. “The ability to do that and know we can come back is huge going into the playoffs.”

Senior Katie Webster fired the opening salvo only 46 seconds into overtime off a great pass from Gabby Jaquith. Additionally, Kailah Kempney gave the Orange two critical possessions out of the draw circle to keep control.

However, Harbeson stole the show with only 1:52 left.

As Wolf surveyed the field out of a timeout, she let a pass fly toward her own 20-yard line. Harbeson said she was merely blocking off her opponent, but she saw her window open up and took advantage.

She fired a bouncer into the net and the Syracuse sideline erupted. She was bear-hugged by her teammates, who have seen her deliver game after game throughout her career without receiving much attention.

“It’s awesome, and what a day to have it,” said teammate Murray, who led all scorers with eight points. “Liz is a great defender who sometimes does get overlooked when people bring names up. I’m just really glad she was able to put it away.”

Harbeson was even more important to the victory on defense. She caused four of Loyola’s 24 turnovers and also picked up five ground balls in what was a messy game for both squads.

However, the goal is what she will remember most from this game, one that sent the SU upperclassmen off with an exciting win to close out the season.

“It was just a great Senior Day,” Harbeson said. “Our team found some balance and we pulled it through.”

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