A pair of 4-0 runs by No. 2 Syracuse in the midst of the first period spelled the difference as No. 9 Virginia fell to the No. 2 Orange, 18-14, at Klöckner Stadium in each team’s ACC opener Sunday. Virginia drops to 1-3 with the loss.
“I think we have all the right players and the right toughness and grit,” said Virginia head coach Julie Myers. “What we are lacking is being clutch in key moments. A goal here, better shooting on the eight-meter, a couple of groundballs, a couple more clean transitions and I think we could have had a chance. It was nice to see we didn’t fold when we were down by five in the first half, but it is disappointing to see us come up short again.”
Junior Courtney Swan had six points, with four goals and a pair of assists. Swan has scored at least a hat trick in all four games this season. Senior Maddy Keeshan also posted a hat trick with three goals.
Virginia led 1-0 when Syracuse struck to tie, starting the first of two 4-0 runs in the period. UVa cut its deficit to one goal, 5-4, via a 3-1 run. Junior Casey Bocklet, senior Ashlee Warner and Swan all scored for UVa during the run.
Bocklet’s man-down goal at 16:20 was the closest UVa was able to get to Syracuse the rest of the game, as the Orange took their one-goal lead and expanded it by five goals, 10-5.
Swan scored twice for the Cavaliers before the intermission, bringing UVa within four goals, 11-7, heading into halftime. Keeshan scored 18 seconds into the second half on a Swan helper, cutting UVa’s deficit to three goals, 11-8.
The scoring stayed even over the next several minutes and then UVa went on a 3-1 spurt, cutting Syracuse’s lead down to 14-12 but it wasn’t enough as Syracuse reeled off its third 4-0 run of the game to solidify its lead, 18-12.
“When we won the draw, which we did a good job of, we were in good shape,” said Myers. “But when we didn’t win the draw, they went down and scored some pretty easy goals. Clearly our defense coming off of a lost draw needs to improve. It’s nice to have something exact that we need to work on and things we can really train our players to do better with.”
Virginia returns to action on Saturday when Penn State comes to Klöckner Stadium. The contest starts at noon.