No. 5 Maryland dominates No. 8 Syracuse just like it always has, 18-11

first_imgUPDATED: March 13, 2018 at 12:36 p.m.A win versus Maryland. Six years ago Saturday was the last time Syracuse got to experience it. Three final four eliminations, one national championship loss and 10 defeats separate the last time SU left the playing field on top.In the coaching staff’s pregame meeting, a different type of emotion painted the interaction. Handshakes were followed with smiles and laughing exchanges.When the pack separated, SU head coach Gary Gait and Maryland head coach Cathy Reese stayed behind. They looked up. It was just the eighth time in history “SYRACUSE” and “MARYLAND” graced the same scoreboard in the Carrier Dome for a women’s lacrosse game. Syracuse has never produced the highest score in any of them.“I’m not scared … Yes, I have never beaten them since I’ve been here,” redshirt senior Taylor Gait said on Feb. 27. “But, watching Maryland play UNC … it’s possible. It’s always possible.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut, once again, No. 8 Syracuse (4-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) fell. The 18-11 win by No. 5 Maryland (5-1) is UMD’s 22nd win in the history of the matchup and is, yet again, another example of the stark contrasts between a team that has made two national title games and a team that has won 13.“All of us could have stepped up today,” Gait said. “We made the little mistakes and I think it caught up to us.”The Terrapins’ repeated dominance of SU influenced players to frame their thoughts to the games ahead, because historically that’s the only time where the Orange have experienced success. Gait jokingly said on Feb. 27 that a win against Maryland would be “everything,” but she corrected herself to say that the ultimate goal is still a national title.For years Maryland has stood in the way of the Orange in its quest for the ultimate goal. The Terrapins have ended Syracuse’s NCAA tournament runs three times in the past four years. But after Maryland fell in a loss to North Carolina earlier this season, Gait and the SU players were convinced this year could be different. Still, it seemed no preparation could save SU it from its most notorious foe.“I think everyone thinks that you build on wins, you build on success,” Gary Gait said. “Sometimes it works that way, today it didn’t.”Before the game got out of hand, Syracuse provided a glimmer of hope. The game, which is the culmination of “the toughest run in the country,” Gary Gait said, started off in SU’s favor. Midfielder Sam Swart provided the first goal of the game for the Orange.Coming off of what may have been the Orange’s biggest win of the season against then-No. 4 Florida, it seemed as if the Orange carried the momentum into Sunday’s matchup. SU players jumped and cheered as if it had already won the game, sensing weakness from the Terrapins.Then, the sloppiness ensued.Syracuse allowed three-straight goals and never led again. The remainder of play was highlighted by misfired and mishandled passes and trouble holding onto the ball. Gait, who said that she suffers in the “mental” aspect of the game whenever she plays Maryland, frequently turned the ball over.On one play, after Syracuse fought hard for a draw, in a pursuit that involved almost every player on the field, Gait scooped the ball amidst multiple players tumbling. But as the Orange pushed forward, Gait lofted a ball across the middle of the field that was picked off.The Orange suffered from tentative play early on as Maryland started to go on scoring runs and push ahead, Gary Gait said. He added the Orange tried to do too much to make up for the lack of possessions it had, never settling into its offensive gameplan.After making an early save, SU goalkeeper Asa Goldstock walked the ball out to the opposing 45-yard line and fired a clear over the middle of the field. But it fell short and she had to race back to prevent a Maryland breakaway opportunity. Though UMD didn’t convert, the play was Goldstock’s first clear attempt coming off of a game in which she thrived setting up her SU teammates. It was a sign that Maryland was different and the same game wouldn’t be enough.“They jumped on us and they played like the defending national champs they are,” Gary Gait said. “We tried to rally and keep up, but they were too much for us today.”Maryland’s second-ranked scoring offense wouldn’t be contained. It continued to tear the Orange defense apart and the Terrapins defense did its job preventing the SU attack.With the Orange down 6-2, still trying to get out of an early-game hole, Neena Merola pushed the ball upfield into the Maryland zone. She made it directly adjacent to the UMD goal, where she was knocked down, drawing a whistle. The Syracuse bench erupted, thinking finally something had finally gone its way, but the foul was called on Merola, and the Terrapins were awarded the ball.Again, the Terrapins showed that it would not let up and that Syracuse would never get an easy chance. As it never has.Whenever Maryland exercised its dominance, a hypnotic chant rang heavy throughout the Dome.“When I say ‘Turtle’, you say ‘Power!’” a UMD fan urged the crowd.“Turtle!”“Power!”“Turtle!”“Power!”“Turtle!”“Power!”Again and again, Maryland was too much, as it always has been.When the players exited the field, it had a similar feeling as it had the previous 10 meetings. It fell to the one opponent that makes all of its other successes seem obsolete. Comments Published on March 11, 2018 at 3:35 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @MikeJMcCleary Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more