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In the second quarter, Cassidy Weeks began her shooting motion from just outside the 8-meter when Sarah Cooper began to charge toward Weeks in her shooting lane. Cooper was called for a shooting space violation, conceding a free-position opportunity. Weeks elected to reset, which allowed Tewaaraton Award winner Charlotte North to position herself where Weeks was originally standing.
As the ball went to North, she drew a shooting space violation off the Orange, but she missed the shot wide. Thirty-three seconds later, she drew another free position and shooting space violation. It was the third free position the Orange conceded in a 50-second span, which allowed the Eagles to generate scoring opportunities with extra possessions.
No. 4 Syracuse’s (13-4, 6-2 Atlantic Coast) fouls and violations led to its 15-13 loss to No. 3 Boston College (14-2, 6-2 ACC) in a rematch of last year’s National Championship game — which the Orange lost. On Friday against the Eagles, SU committed 29 fouls and conceded 13 free positions for Boston College, which converted four-of-eight shots on the free position.
It wasn’t just the fouls inside the 8-meter that hurt the Orange. Just over four minutes into the first quarter, Jenny Markey committed a foul that warranted a yellow card. And in the third quarter, Markey picked up her second yellow card which disqualified her from the game, so the Orange lost a key player who had stepped up in Emma Tyrrell’s absence. Sam Swart also picked up a yellow card.
After the Eagles regained possession on their own defensive half, they began to clear. Hunter Roman ran down the left side and Swart tripped her from behind, forcing Roman to take a hard foul and Swart received a yellow card. Swart, visibly frustrated, made her way to the bench to sit out for two minutes as the Eagles received another woman-up opportunity.
The Orange and the Eagles went back and forth throughout the first half, but BC had dominated time of possession with its resets on its many free-position opportunities. SU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead from Meaghan Tyrrell, but after Hallie Simkins got in North’s shooting lane on an ensuing possession, North, who entered Friday’s game with the 27th best free position conversion rate, scored on the free position to tie the game.
“BC was moving the ball super well, and when you’re playing in a zone-like defense moving the ball really fast, the shooting space opportunities come out,” Meaghan said.
To start the second quarter, BC’s Caitlynn Mossman dodged toward the center of the crease to create a better angle for a shot. Katie Goodale defended her, and illegally checked her stick which forced Mossman to the ground. Mossman’s subsequent free-position dodge was saved by goalkeeper Kimber Hower, but the play represented the constant foul calls against the Orange, whether it be for a physical foul, shooting space violation or three-second violation within the 8-meter.
To end the first half, Belle Smith scored with 2.8 seconds remaining on the clock. Though the goal came in regular play, it was a result of another shooting space violation by the Orange where this time two different defenders encroached in the shooting lane. Skeptical of the angle, Boston College reset to the top of the meter for one more motion of its offense, which it capitalized on entering with a halftime lead of 7-6.
“I know after the first half the 19-5 in fouls — 19 for Syracuse, 5 for BC — which I think is really lopsided,” Kayla Treanor said. “That’s tough, we don’t have a lot of control over that but we were able to come back and make it a game.”
On the draw control, numerous times the Orange were called for draw control violations, automatically giving the ball back to Eagles without a chance at securing the draw. In the first three quarters, BC won the draw by a combined 15-7. During one draw in the first quarter, the ball was loose and North began closing in on the ground ball, but from behind Natalie Smith grabbed ahold of her jersey and was called for a hold.
Nationally, Syracuse entered as one of the top fouling teams in the nation, committing a total of 402 fouls averaging 25 fouls per game, which ranks 108th in the country. Part of the high fouling rate is because of the aggressiveness of the Orange defense, who commonly against the Eagles tried to check sticks creating loose balls especially as BC went on its third-quarter run.
Syracuse nearly came back in the fourth quarter, cutting its deficit to as low as one after trailing 13-8 early in the fourth quarter. This resulted from winning draw controls without violations and limiting the free-position opportunities as a result of fouls. In the fourth quarter, the Orange only committed three fouls and Boston College did not take any free-position shots.
Despite the improvements in the final 15 minutes, BC extended the lead to three once again to put the game just a little out of reach in the final minutes which dropped the Orange to fourth in the conference to close out the regular season.
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