SYRACUSE, N.Y. – No. 4 Syracuse used a dominant second half to defeat No. 9 Dartmouth 15-5, in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship on Sunday at the Carrier Dome. The Orange (17-3), which has now won five consecutive first-round tournament games, advances to the quarterfinals where it will play No. 5 North Carolina next weekend in the Carrier Dome.
Senior Sarah Holden tied her career high with four goals to lead a balanced scoring attack for Syracuse as nine different players found the back of the net. Sophomore Alyssa Murray also tallied four goals, while junior Bridget Daley tied her career high with three points (1 goal, 2 assists).
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After the squads played to a 3-3 tie in the first half, the Orange’s offense came alive six minutes into the second half. Holden broke the tie and gave SU the lead for good when she started her dodge at the top of the fan and got off a shot from the right side of the net for her second goal of the day at the 23:50 mark. Sophomore Amy Cross scored on a similar play for the Orange before Hana Bowers found the back of the net to cut Syracuse’s lead to 5-4 with 18:03 on the clock.
Sophomore Katie Webster scored her first goal of the day with 17:04 remaining, which sparked Syracuse on a 6-0 scoring run that extended its lead to 11-4 with 8:31 remaining. Holden scored twice during the run, while Murray and junior Michelle Tumolo also recorded goals.
Dartmouth’s Kirsten Goldberg temporarily halted Syracuse’s scoring outburst when she converted a free-position attempt at the 7:31 mark, but the Orange answered with four consecutive goals. Freshman Gabby Jaquith had a goal and an assist during the run, while Murray added two goals. Her fourth goal of the day with 1:25 remaining gave SU its largest lead of the day at 15-5, which was the final.
“I thought our team responded pretty well to a very good Dartmouth team that gave us everything we could handle in the first half,” Syracuse head coach Gary Gait said. “They made it tough for us in the first half to kind of get in the flow of our offense. I was very proud of the way our team responded after halftime, coming out, staying focused, not forcing it or rushing it, but taking their time, stepping up and making some big plays. I’m very proud of them and I thought they finished the game strong. It got us back into our flow of scoring on offense, which we haven’t seen in a few games.”
Neither team led by more than a goal in the first half. After Dartmouth took an early lead on Goldberg’s free-position goal, Daley and Murray each found the back of the net to give SU its first lead of the day. Bowers tied the game at the 12:49 mark, and each team scored in the final 6:11 of the half for a 3-3 halftime score.
Syracuse outshot Dartmouth, 34-16, while the Big Green picked up 11 ground balls to seven for the Orange. Freshman Kailah Kempney helped SU to a 15-7 advantage in draw controls. Kempney, who was in the circle for nearly every draw, led the Orange with five. Sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Costantino recorded five saves, while Kristen Giovanniello had 11 saves for Dartmouth.