With most of the star players sitting out after defeating Loyola earlier on Sunday, the Syracuse Orange women's lacrosse team took out a feisty Binghamton team 9-6 Sunday night.
The Orange (2-0) were led by Kelzi Van Atta who scored three goals on four shots off the bench after attempting only two shots on goal all of last season.
Head coach Gary Gait said with both wins, it was a great way to spend Valentine's Day.
"I thought it was a great day for Syracuse lacrosse to get out there and start our 2016 season," Gait say. "That was a great Valentine's. A couple of W's is always nice."
Tight First Half
A stalemate throughout much of the early going kept both teams scoreless for the first 11 minutes of the contest until freshman Natalie Wallon put one in the back of the net off an Emily Resnick assist.
The lead would stretch to 3-0 when senior Ella Thorpe scored the first of her two goals of the half, but the Bearcats wouldn't let it get any further out of hand.
Just three minutes later, with just under eight minutes to go in the half, Olivia Batista snuck one past Brianna Stahrr to put Binghamton on the board. Brianne Arthur, who would leave the game early in the second half with an apparent right leg injury scored to make it a one goal game.
Gait said that while he was happy with his team's performance over both games, he said there was plenty to learn from this game.
"We forced it a little bit. We probably shot a little earlier that we should have and held it a little longer than we should have sometimes," Gait said. "We just didn't have the balance of driving into one side, timing the shot. The goalie I thought played great today. She made a lot of great saves and put a lot of pressure on our shooters."
Kelly Cross scored a goal running away from the net, flipping her stick over her right shoulder, seemingly fooling everyone she was even taking a shot to make it 4-2.
A furious series over the final 1:24 of the half would see three goals scored, including Thorpe's second of the game to make it 5-3 at the break.
Bearcats Hang Around
Coming out of the locker room, the Bearcats were playing with a new energy the Orange did not have, controlling the ball for much of the early going.
Binghamton put two goals away in a 58 second span seven minutes into the half to tie the game at five apiece.
From there, the Orange would wake out of what seemed to be a game long slumber and scored the next four goals to put the game out of reach. Van Atta scored two in the span including one from the right side off a free position from Nicole Levy. Taking the free position, Levy took a step towards the goal, saw Van Atta wide open just to the right of the net and threw a bullet pass her way. The sophomore took it from there for her final goal of the night, making it 8-5.
"She just played with confidence and poise," Gait said. "She took her time, she got in front and she took great shots. I was very happy with her play and I think she took a step up today."
Win Over Loyola
In game one of the season opening twin bill, the Orange took out Loyola 17-6 behind a huge draw performance by Kayla Treanor who set a school record with 19 draw controls in the game.
"The defense played well, the offense played well," Gait said. "We did a lot of things well in that first game and I was very happy with our performance. It was nice to see Kayla Treanor step up on the draw and just dominate. That was awesome.
"Our wing play did an awesome job of just helping me get the draw," Treanor said. "It was us just going with the game plan and executing."
The Orange beat Loyola last season to reach the Final Four.
The Orange will have a week off before they face another Sunday double-header where they will face Wagner and Marist in the Carrier Dome next Sunday.