Strong start for Pitt lacrosse fizzles out, fall to No. 4 Syracuse 18-6

Pitt+first-year+attacker+Sydney+Naylor+is+chased+by+Duquesne+lacrosse+players.

Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer

Pitt first-year attacker Sydney Naylor is chased by Duquesne lacrosse players.

By Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

Pitt lacrosse (6-7, 0-6 ACC) traveled to New York and lost Saturday to No. 4 Syracuse (10-2, 5-0 ACC) in the Carrier Dome.

The Panthers have yet to pick up a conference win in their inaugural season, but Pitt achieved another program first before Saturday’s game. The Panthers received votes in last week’s ILWomen/IWLCA poll, along with a couple opponents on their remaining schedule — Louisville and Penn State.

The Panthers started the search for their first conference win by taking it to the Orange on both sides of the ball. Junior attacker Carlie Leach opened up the scoring for Pitt with an unassisted goal at 4:30 in the first period, and senior attacker Kierin Ratliff-Kailbourne scored twice, including a goal with just under two seconds remaining in the frame. On defense, Pitt forced seven turnovers from the reigning national runner-up.

But the Orange did not go down quietly in the first 15 minutes. Graduate student attacker Emily Hawryschuk picked up two points in the quarter, assisting on the first goal and scoring the second. The Orange forced Pitt into seven turnovers of its own, but the first quarter finished with Pitt leading 4-2.

Syracuse turned up the heat in the second quarter and flipped the script on the game. Even when Pitt won the opening draw and fired two shots in the first 45 seconds, the Orange responded with a goal four minutes in from senior attacker Meaghan Tyrrell. She scored her third goal of the game with 7:28 left to tie the game, and the Orange never looked back.

Pitt fired seven shots in the second quarter, including four on goal, and graduate student Paulina DiFatta made three saves. But Pitt couldn’t find a response against the Orange, who picked up three more goals before the halftime horn sounded. Tyrrell’s sister — junior midfielder Emma Tyrrell — scored her only two goals of the game in the frame.

Hawryschuk also scored to push the lead to 7-4 at the half. She finished with four goals and two assists in the game.

At this point, the only stat Pitt dominated was draw controls. The Panthers controlled eight draws to Syracue’s four in the first half. But the Orange quickly turned that around with eight draw controls in the third quarter alone. Junior midfielder Kate Mashewske won the opening draw and scored 12 seconds into the frame.

Pitt first-year attacker Ava Washington scored with 8:59 left to end the Panther’s scoring drought, and graduate student midfielder Chloe Jones picked up the Panthers’ sixth goal of the match with 2:37 left. But the Panthers wouldn’t score again for the rest of the game. Syracuse redshirt junior goaltender Kimber Hower anchored a defense that did not allow a goal in both the second and fourth quarters.

Syracuse led 14-6 by the time the third quarter horn sounded. Two more Orange tallies in the fourth stretched the Pitt deficit to 10, which triggered the running-clock rule. But the Pitt offense fell silent long before that and the No. 4 team in the nation tripled the Panthers’ score, winning 18-6 when the clock hit zero. Much like in games against Virginia Tech and Boston College, a strong Pitt start fizzled out against a ranked conference opponent.

Both goaltenders finished with eight saves, but Syracuse put 26 shots on goal to Pitt’s 14. The Tyrrell sisters finished with eight goals — Emma with two and Meaghan with six — as eight total Syracuse players entered the scoresheet. For Pitt, Ratliff-Kailbourne was the only Panther with a multi-goal game.

The Panthers will return to Highmark Stadium for their next game on April 9, facing off against Louisville at noon.