No. 8 Syracuse posts one of season-worst offensive performances in loss to No. 16 Notre Dame

first_img Published on March 26, 2017 at 8:21 pm Contact Kaci: Facebook Twitter Google+ A 45-second stretch in the middle of the second half symbolized a Syracuse offense incapable of capitalizing on its chances on Sunday afternoon.With just under 22 minutes left against Notre Dame, Syracuse’s Kelzi Van Atta ricocheted a free position shot off the goal post, and then Nicole Levy drew a shooting space foul. Less than 10 seconds after Van Atta’s shot, Levy sent her own free position shot high. But SU retrained possession by reaching the endline first. Van Atta shot again, and UND goalie Samantha Giacolone turned the SU sophomore away again.Similar struggles plagued No. 8 SU (8-3, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) all day long in an eventual 16-7 loss to the No. 16 Fighting Irish (9-4, 3-1). Notre Dame won its second-ever game in the Carrier Dome while serving SU its first home loss this season. The Syracuse offense had one of its worst offensive performances of the season. The Orange tied its second-lowest season marks in goals (7), shots (30), shots on goal (20) and draw controls (12).“It was a lack of communicating,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “Forcing the ball to the cutters when they weren’t open, not hitting them when they were open, getting in the way when we were trying to dodge, just a total lack of being on the same page.”Though SU opened the scoring on Sunday, the way it happened was a departure from the norm. Levy passed the ball on a free position shot to teammate Riley Donahue rather than shooting. Donahue made the assist count, and it was one of two times Syracuse held the lead, but it set the tone for a discombobulated offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith only a minute left in the first half, SU down 6-4, Levy shot the free position herself. SU went 3-for-10 on free position attempts on Sunday, the worst percentage with 10 or more attempts second only to March 11 against Maryland (1-for-13). Levy’s ended up in a similar fashion to her teammates’, straight into Giacolone’s stick.“I knew they were going to go for my left side,” Giacolone said. “I kind of baited a little bit, but it goes both ways. Today, it went my way.”Moments later, Neena Merola shot with 18 seconds left in the half and Giacolone started the break. UND’s Savannah Buchanan cut past a defender, broke away downfield and passed off to Cortney Fortunato. With one second left on the clock, Fortunato scored and the Orange went into the locker room down 7-4. The defense’s inability to communicate allowed cutters to get open, Syracuse defender Haley McDonnell said.“As a team that likes to slow the ball down, Notre Dame did a good job at that,” McDonnell said. “A lot of (their possession advantage) comes from ownership on our end.”UND cemented their lead early in the second half after Levy’s stick was ruled illegal and she was given a yellow card and a two-minute un-releasable penalty. The Fighting Irish capitalized on their man-up advantage with three goals in that span. By the time Levy re-entered, UND led 11-4.That run effectively ended the game, Gait said, as it became clear that UND would avenge its 9-5 loss to SU in the 2016 ACC tournament.“Good thing is the season’s not over,” Gait said. “(That) wasn’t a playoff game, it was a conference game. It just gives us more to work on, more to do to be more successful down the road.” Commentslast_img

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