In last year's Big East championship game, the Loyola women's lacrosse team upset Syracuse to win its second consecutive conference title, snapping the Orange's 15-game winning streak in the process.
No. 5 Syracuse got a measure of revenge in the rematch Friday night by scoring six consecutive goals early in the first half en route to a 19-9 victory at the Ridley Athletic Complex.
Despite the loss, No. 17 Loyola already clinched a spot in the next weekend's four-team, Big East tournament with Syracuse, Georgetown and Connecticut. The Greyhounds close out the regular season Sunday against the Huskies to help set the final seeding.
"We played a very, very tough Syracuse side," Loyola coach Jen Adams said. "They're tough athletes out there. And they played a tough game top to bottom."
The Orange (13-3 overall, 7-0 league) entered the game with the league's top-ranked offense, averaging 14.87 goals and 15 draw controls. The offense was strong again as freshman Kayla Treanor scored five goals on 10 shots, and Kailah Kempney added three goals for the Orange. Alyssa Murray, who leads the league with 4.67 points per game, had three goals and five assists.
Redshirt sophomore Taryn VanThof led Loyola (9-7, 5-2) with three goals and five draw controls. Marlee Paton and Joanna Dalton (St. Mary's) also scored twice apiece for Loyola.
"I think we didn't settle the ball enough," VanThof said. "We were rushed and it kind of hurt us. We weren't protecting the ball well enough on the offensive end.
The Orange opened a quick 2-0 lead when Treanor and Kempney scored 47 seconds apart with 23:12 left in the first half. VanThof answered 12 seconds later.
Syracuse then went on a six-goal run over the next eight minutes, with Treanor and Kempney leading the way with two goals each. Loyola finally stopped the surge on a goal by VanThof and trailed 8-2 with 13:55 left in the first half.
After the Orange scored twice more, Loyola made a run with three consecutive goals by Paton, Hannah Schmitt (John Carroll) and Dalton, cutting the margin to 10-5 with 4:25 remaining. However, Murray's first goal increased the lead to 11-5 at the break.
"I thought our team came in pretty focused and played very well, especially the first five minutes of the game," Syracuse coach Gary Gait said. "That put us in a great situation with a great start. Pretty much throughout the game, we made plays when we needed to."
After the teams traded two goals each to start the second half, Syracuse was able to stay in control with long possessions. The Orange went on three-goal run with 10:38 left in the game on goals by Amy Cross, Murray and Amanda Wheeler and led 16-7. Katrina Geiger cut the margin in half with a free-position goal with 8:21 remaining, but the Orange were simply too good on this night.
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"To come up against a team like Syracuse, who is just physical and tough and very athletic, I think it was a real eye-opener at this point of our season," Adams said. "I think it will serve us well as we go forward."