16 Sep

Syracuse’s 19-goal explosion keyed by spoiling Louisville’s game plan

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ The fourth goal of SU’s eventual 11-goal run to end the game was the one that sent the Syracuse fans into a frenzy. Following a score by Julie Cross, the Orange’s usual draw-specialist, the SU sideline erupted.The midfielder skipped off the field with a smile and tapped the stick of a player who’d hardly found her name in the scorebook. It was Emily Hawryschuk, who headed out on the next play to take the draw.That was the blueprint Syracuse (9-8, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) had to work within its 19-8 win over Louisville (6-10, 0-7). Hawryschuk, the Orange’s top goal scorer, was given little space to work with all game due to being face guarded all game by UofL’s Sarah Blalock. While the face guarding formula has worked against Syracuse in the past — specifically targeting Nicole Levy — the Orange overcame it when it needed to, capturing its first conference win leading into ACC Tournament play.Louisville was determined in its game plan from the get-go. Starting from the opening whistle, Blalock identified Hawryschuk and never left her side. Even on the sideline, Blalock locked her eyes on a motionless Hawryschuk, who was away from the action having conversation with SU head coach Gary Gait.“You just get used to it,” Hawryschuk said. “You just know that she’s going to be there.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange has had plenty of time to get used to it. The formula has been used against SU before, when opponents held Nicole Levy without a point in three of the last five games before Sunday.During a recent practice at Ensley Athletic Center, SU players went through the motions of a drill that mimicked those game situations. The Orange set up plays for Levy to receive the ball cutting across the net, giving her space to contribute despite having a defender locked at her hip. Levy cut across again and again, but in a drill that featured her, sometimes she struggled to get a hold of the ball.“We practiced that all week,” said Molly Carter, a freshman attack. “So we were prepared for anything they might do.”But then the Cardinals came with a game plan that gave Levy what she sought for each of the last six games: space. Carter added that Hawryschuk’s absence from the offensive end for much of the game opened a lot of space for the Orange to work with.Levy, who scored for the first time since a six-goal game against Virginia Tech 15 days earlier, laughed when asked if she was relieved that finally, the focus wasn’t on her. It opened up opportunities for her to return to the finesse she’s displayed all season. With the Orange holding a nine-goal lead, the junior darted in a straight line from the left side of the net and spun in midair, firing a shot through her legs to push the Orange lead to double digits.“I don’t think much was really going through my head, we were up by a lot so we were just having fun,” Levy said. “And I figured, I don’t know, I want to have fun.”While the offense didn’t present itself often, Hawryschuk’s contributions still remained strong. In Syracuse’s season-long struggle with the draw, Gait has experimented with multiple players to give SU a boost. The lack of possessions have plagued the Orange on both offense and defense, but on Sunday, a handicapped Hawryschuk was able to anchor the unit, leading SU to an 18-11 victory at the faceoff X.“I think it’s just the mental preparation that you have to do beforehand,” Hawryschuk said. “You have to focus on the offensive game plan but at the same time you have to study the draw and know what you have to do.”But for much of the game, the star sophomore stood still. But, in the play that started SU’s run, Hawryschuk decided it was best for her to move.Gait couldn’t remember at first, but the two exchanged laughs postgame as they discussed Gait’s defensive advice that Blalock inadvertently had listened upon, still eyeing the every motion of Hawryschuk. Instead of playing defense, the sophomore did was she’s always done best. She faked right, she faked left and sent the ball into the net to break a tie that Syracuse never looked back from.Then she retreated back toward the outer edge of the SU offense, similar to the strategy SU has employed with Levy, but this time the absentee was not needed.“I took myself out of the game,” she said.And, finally, it worked. Comments Published on April 22, 2018 at 5:38 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @MikeJMcClearylast_img

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