ALBANY — The University at Albany women’s lacrosse team played solid defense out the outset of its game with third-ranked Syracuse Tuesday afternoon. The Orange, though, weren’t giving up anything, either.
“I thought we started the game really strong, holding them [down] for about nine minutes,” UAlbany head coach Katie Rowan Thomson said. “And then that period of time when they went on a run, we weren’t putting away our opportunities. Decision-making in the first half could have been better.”
Syracuse strung together 12 unanswered first-half goals after the early stalemate, and while UAlbany answered with a run of its own to start the second half, it wasn’t enough to change its fate in a 16-6 non-conference loss at John Fallon Field.
Albany’s early defensive stand included a pair of saves by Georgia Schneidereith to keep the Orange (9-1) at bay.
“Our defense has been playing at a high level. On the same page,” Rowan Thomson said. “They executed the game plan really well in the first 10 minutes and put us in a position to get opportunities that we didn’t cash in on.”
Syracuse began to find cracks in that defense, and with 21:22 left in the first half, Meaghan Tyrrell connected. Megan Carney scored with 17:50 to go, and she scored again 28 seconds later.
Syracuse led 9-0 on another tally by Tyrrell before Albany put its first shot on goal with 8:07 remaining in the opening frame.
“A lot of it was jitters. Top three team in the country,” UAlbany freshman midfielder Katie Pascale said of the first half. “It’s a defense we hadn’t seen a lot with high pressure. The second half, we settled down and focused on what we were doing and not what they were doing.”
Pascale led UAlbany with three goals, delivering the first and the last in a 5-0 spurt to begin the second half. In between those goals, Bryar Hogg scored a goal, and Kyle Zapolski followed with two of her own.
“We came out in the second half like it was a 0-0 game,” said UAlbany senior midfielder/attack Kendra Harbinger, who zipped a shot over the cage just after Carney made it 3-0. “After getting that first goal, it felt really good. We went on a run there.”
Pascale came around the cage and scored while sprawling to the turf to get UAlbany (8-5) on the board 51 seconds into the second half. Hogg then scored one of the game’s prettiest goals on a backhand rip.
“Stay confident. Keep moving. Keep pushing,” Rowan Thomson said were some of the things she told her team at the halftime break. “We couldn’t be timid.”
Aside from outscoring Syracuse in the second half 6-4, UAlbany had more shots (14-8) and won more draw controls (9-2) during that 30-minute stretch.
“We’re really proud of our team for coming out firing in the second half,” said Rowan Thomson, who was a star player at Bethlehem as well as at Syracuse. “There are a lot of great takeaways from the game, and we’re really proud of our effort. It’s going to help us a lot going forward.”
Syracuse scored four straight times in the second half to make it 16-5 before Pascale completed her hat trick and raised her season goal total to 28.
Tyrrell had five goals and two assists, Carney had five goals and one assist and Emma Ward had a goal and six assists to lead Syracuse, which improved to 13-0 all-time against UAlbany, including a 15-3 verdict in February of 2020. Maddy Baxter chipped in with three goals. Cara Quimby added an assist on the same field where, as a Guilderland senior in 2015, she piled up nine goals and an assist in a 17-7 Section II Class A title-game win over Shenendehowa.
In all, 13 players with Section II ties, including Syracuse starting goalkeeper Asa Goldstock (Niskayuna High School, New Hampton School), were on Tuesday’s team rosters.
UAlbany returns to America East competition Sunday at UMass Lowell.
Halftime score: Syracuse led 12-0. Syracuse scoring: Swart 0-2, Fahey 1-0, M. Tyrrell 5-2, Carney 5-1, Quimby 0-1, E. Tyrrell 1-0, Emma Ward 1-6, Baxter 3-0. UAlbany scoring: Harbinger 0-1, Zapolski 2-0, Pascale 3-0, Imbo 0-1, Hogg 1-0. Goalkeepers: Syracuse, Goldstock, 2 saves; Van Middele, 5 saves. UAlbany, Schneidereith, 6 saves.