Second-half scoring run pushes No. 3 Syracuse past No. 8 Northwestern
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Third-ranked Syracuse outscored eighth-ranked Northwestern 5-1 in the final 27 minutes of the game to break a 6-6 tie and defeat the Wildcats, 11-7. The win snapped the Orange's 11-game losing streak against the seven-time national champions.
"It was a great team win," said Syracuse head coach Gary Gait. "I thought the defense was outstanding. The attack on the ride in the second half was outstanding and really stepped it up. They made the adjustment we were looking for and got some turnovers. All over it was a team effort. There are definitely areas to improve on -- ground balls and draw controls -- but we played with a lot of heart today. When we turned the ball over, we went and got it back. I think that was key today, especially in the second half."
Syracuse (9-1) led 6-4 at halftime but Northwestern (4-3) recorded the first two goals of the second half to even the score at 6-6. Senior Amy Cross broke the tie and gave the Orange the lead for good when she found the back of the net on a shot from the right side of the goal at the 21:37 mark. Cross' goal sparked Syracuse on a 4-0 scoring run that put them up 10-6 with 12:10 left on the clock. Senior Alyssa Murray scored on an assist from senior Katie Webster on a fastbreak off a clearing attempt and then assisted on sophomore Erica Bodt's seventh goal of the year. Cross capped the scoring run with another goal on a low shot to give Syracuse its largest lead of the game.
Kara Mupo ended Northwestern's scoring drought of nearly 20 minutes when she took a pass from Alyssa Leonard and put her shot in the back of the net to cut Syracuse's lead to three. That was as close as the Wildcats could get as sophomore Kayla Treanor scored on an assist from Murray at the 4:26 mark for the 11-7 final.
Webster started the scoring 1:47 into the game when she scored on an assist from junior Gabby Jaquith. The Wildcats responded with back-to-back tallies from Kaleigh Craig and Mupo to take its only lead of the game with 24:02 remaining. The score was tied, 3-3 before Syracuse ended the half on a 3-1 scoring run. Sophomore Kelly Cross and Treanor posted consecutive goals to put Orange up 5-3. After a Northwestern goal, Webster bypassed on a free position shot, instead getting the ball to junior Devon Collins, who put her shot in the back of the net from the right side of the crease to give Syracuse a 6-4 lead at intermission.
The Syracuse defense once again had a strong performance, forcing 18 Northwestern turnovers, including 12 in the second half, and held its opponent to less than 10 goals for the seventh time this season. Senior Natalie Glanell had three of Syracuse's 12 caused turnovers and two ground balls.
Webster paced the Orange offense with four points on two goals and two assists. Murray had a goal and two assists for three points, while Treanor finished with two goals.
Syracuse outshot Northwestern, 22-16, while the Wildcats had 13 ground balls to eight for the Orange. Northwestern held a 13-7 advantage on the draw. As it has done most of the season, Syracuse played both of its goalkeepers. Junior Kelsey Richardson started in goal for the Orange and made three saves in the first half. Senior Alyssa Costantino took over in the second half and recorded two saves. Bridget Bianco had seven saves for Northwestern.