Syracuse attacker Michelle Tumolo will undergo season-ending surgery after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in the first half of Tuesday's game against Cornell.
Tumolo, a senior and 2012 Tewaaraton Award finalist, ranks first in assists for the Orange with 24 and third in goals with 22. The Syracuse offense ranks sixth in Division I, averaging just under 15 goals per game. Alyssa Murray leads the team with 40 goals and 60 points, and coach Gary Gait sees an opportunity for other players to step up.
"They're all capable," the former Maryland assistant said of his offense. "Devon Collins and Kailah Kempney will increase their output. Kayla Treanor will do more."
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Kempney has put up 14 goals and six assists this season to go along with 34 draw controls, while Collins has scored 12 goals and added three assists. With 34 goals and nine assists, Treanor is one of the best freshmen in the nation.
The undisputed leader of the Syracuse offense, Tumolo will remain on the sideline through the rest of the season.
"Her dream is to be a coach," Gait said. "She will help as a captain and a leader, and continue her leadership from the sideline."
•Bucknell's 10-man ride has caused teams fits this year, forcing failed clears and bad decisions.
But Kevin Cassese, coach of Patriot League foe Lehigh, doesn't think the Bison are executing it legally. The Mountain Hawks beat Bucknell, 11-7, last Friday to claim the league's regular-season title; Lehigh failed its first two clears and was 12-for-16 in the game.
"The most success they had in making us fail clears [in the first quarter], they were offsides both times. I've sent the film into the officials, and they failed to call it again," Cassese said. "They have seven people over the midfield line, which is illegal. You're only allowed six in the offensive end. Both those times they were offsides, and when you have no one open when you're supposed to have one, that's going to be a problem. I don't want to bash on the officials, but it was right there for them to call."
Rules aside, teams are showing the way around the 10-man ride: Go for the long bomb.
Lehigh goalie Matt Poillon had a backbreaking 70-yard goal in that game, scoring on empty net. It was the third goal scored by a goalie against Bucknell this season; Holy Cross' Michael Ortlieb netted two.
"As many turnovers they create, they give us just as many goals," Cassese said. "We hit one, but we got a couple [of ground balls] in the scramble afterwards. You have to do it against them."
•Holy Cross coach Jim Morrissey looks for one thing above all — players from winning programs.
"We have players from really good [high school] programs," Morrissey told Inside Lacrosse's Christian Swezey. "We're trying to get that winning culture here, a winning culture that they're used to. Part of my pregame speech is always, 'You guys have all won before. Let's get the tide turned.' We need to have a winner's mentality all the time. We're getting there."
There are numerous signs the tide is starting to turn. The Crusaders (6-7, 2-3 Patriot League) have won multiple league games for the first time. The league incorporated the sport, with Holy Cross as a member, in 1991.
Holy Cross faces Army (7-4, 3-2) on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Worcester, Mass., with a shot at reaching the four-team conference tournament for the first time. If Colgate defeats Bucknell on Saturday at noon, the Army-Holy Cross winner will advance to the tournament. If Bucknell wins, the final spot would come down to tiebreakers, and Holy Cross would have to defeat Army by eight or more goals to qualify.
Holy Cross tends to play up-tempo. It averages 34 shots, the program's most since at least 2004. Morrissey says everyone on offense has the green light to go to the goal.
"Our style is that we want to play fast," Morrissey said. "We don't want to slow it down. We want to push transition and let players make decisions on their own. Sometimes it hurts us, but giving the green light to the attack and midfield is in my DNA. I don't know how to tell a kid to slow down and not go for it."