No. 4 Syracuse set to face its Achilles Heel, Maryland
Daily Orange File Photo
Since 1998, Syracuse has faced Maryland a total of 21 times. The Orange has only won once.
Recently, Maryland’s dominance has derailed SU in the postseason. The Terrapins beat Syracuse in the national championship in 2014, the only time the two teams have met in that game. In the 2013, 2015 and 2016 seasons, UMD eliminated SU from the semifinals.
No. 4 Syracuse (7-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) will once again take the field against No. 1 Maryland (4-0) in College Park on Saturday. Since 2007, when Gary Gait took over as head coach, UMD has SU’s Achilles heel. The only time SU won was a road game in 2012.
“We’re still the last team to beat them at home,” Gait said, “at Maryland a long time ago, five years.”
That game occurred on March 10, 2012 — five years and one day before this Saturday’s meeting — with SU winning, 10-9. Then-junior Michelle Tumolo, led the team to victory with her five points on three goals and two assists, while then-sophomore goalie Alyssa Costantino registered 10 saves. Prior to the March 10 loss, Maryland last lost at home in May of 2008 to Duke.
“It was a battle back and forth,” former Maryland midfielder and two-time Tewaaraton winner Katie Schwarzmann said. “They played us very well, their goalie came out with a lot of saves.”
Syracuse and Maryland’s first matchup took place 19 years ago. The 1998 season brought the Orange to College Park, where they received their first of many losses against the Terps. Maryland head coach Cathy Reese was a player for Maryland at the time. Gait, one of Maryland’s assistant coaches at the time, recruited Reese. She was his first real blue chip recruit.
Gait, one of the best players in Syracuse men’s lacrosse history, got his start at Maryland. He was on seven teams that won national championships.
“I spent a lot of time there,” Gait said. “I loved my time there, I got involved in the game of women’s lacrosse. Lots of history, lots of tradition there. I certainly look forward to going back.”
Maryland runs a fast-paced offense with multiple high scorers. Leading their offensive efforts this season is junior attack Megan Whittle. A Tewaaraton watch list member, Whittle played a crucial role in Maryland’s trouncing of SU. In last year’s semifinals, Whittle posted a game-high five points on four goals and one assist. Junior Taylor Hensh also posted four goals in that game. She returned this season with eight points over the first four games. Whittle leads the team with 11 goals. Senior midfielder Zoe Stukenberg is also on the Tewaaraton watch list this season and is tied for second with 10 goals.
On defense, Maryland has senior Nadine Hadnagy. She caused two turnovers in the game against North Carolina on Feb. 25. The reigning National Champions North Carolina is a top caliber team and was ranked No. 1 going into the UMD game. Maryland kept the Tar Heels’ top scorer, Molly Hendrick, to one goal off five shots. Hendrick currently averages three goals per game. Her speed allows allows her to transition the ball quickly but SU runs a fast paced offense and could create opportunities to stop her.
Maryland’s domination over Syracuse has put a damper on any achievements the team has. Many upperclassmen for the Orange have faced, and failed, against Maryland multiple times throughout their careers.
“Having to say I’ve been here for four and a half years and I haven’t beaten Maryland is… it’s been a goal,” redshirt junior Taylor Gait said. “They’re a great team every year, they’re consistent. It would be amazing if we could come out with a W.”
Published on March 8, 2017 at 10:06 pm
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