No. 4 Northwestern Comes Back, Slips by No. 5 Syracuse

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EVANSTON, Ill. In a tight game that featured eight ties, No. 5 Syracuse couldn't hold on to a second-half lead as No. 4 Northwestern posted a 13-12 victory on Saturday, Mar. 30 in Evanston, Ill. The Wildcats scored twice in the final 10:32 to end the Orange's three-game winning streak in a rematch of last season's national championship game.

Junior Alyssa Murray (West Babylon, N.Y.) led the Orange offense with five goals, while freshman Kayla Treanor (Niskayuna, N.Y.) had two goals and two assists. Junior Katie Webster (Syracuse, N.Y.) added a pair of goals, and sophomore Kailah Kempney (Carthage, N.Y.) finished with a goal and an assist.

Syracuse's (5-3) offense started strong. Webster found the back of the net after taking a pass from Murray with 28:58 on the clock before Erin Fitzgerald tied the score at the 25:54 mark. The Orange won the ensuing draw and Webster took advantage, netting her second goal of the game. That goal sparked SU on a 3-0 scoring run that gave the Orange the largest lead of the game by either team, 4-1 with 22:27 on the clock. Treanor followed Webster's score with a wrap-around goal before Murray converted a free position attempt.

Ali Cassera ended Syracuse's scoring run with her first tally of the day at the 19:06 mark. That goal was the first of four straight that gave the Wildcats (9-1) its first lead of the game, 5-4, with 9:52 remaining in the first half.

Kempney ended Syracuse's scoring drought of 19 minutes when she picked up a loose ball in front of the goal and put her shot in the back of the net. After a foul on the ensuing draw, Kempney passed the ball to Murray, who scored at the 3:01 mark to give the lead back to the Orange. Murray ended the half with her third goal of the game with 13 seconds on the clock to give SU a 7-5 halftime lead.

Northwestern recorded the first two goals of the second half to even the score at 8-8. Murray responded with back-to-back goals to again put the Orange up by two, but the Wildcats came back with two consecutive goals to even the score at 10-10. The squads traded goals before Treanor gave the Orange a 12-11 advantage on a free position with 11:37 on the clock.

Taylor Thornton converted a free-position attempt for her only goal of the game to tie the score for the eighth time at the 10:32 mark. Alyssa Leonard then gave the Wildcats their first lead of the second half when she scored on an assist from Amanda Macaluso at the 6:09 mark for the game-winner.

"We just didn't make some plays in the second half when we needed to," said Syracuse head coach Gary Gait. "When you play a seven-time national championship caliber team, they believe that they are going to win in the end. They made the plays when they needed to."

Syracuse outshot Northwestern, 22-21, while the Wildcats held a 14-10 advantage in ground balls. SU won 11 of 13 draw controls in the first half and ended the game with an 18-9 advantage. Sophomore Kelsey Richardson (Memphis, N.Y) made four saves for the Orange. Cassera led Northwestern with five goals, while Bridget Bianco had eight saves for the Wildcats.

The Orange returns to Big East play next weekend with a pair of road games. Syracuse plays at Villanova on Friday, April 5 and at Rutgers on Sunday, April 7.

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