SU looks to avenge pair of Big East losses in conference tournament

first_imgbckallet@syr.eduadtredin@syr.edu A visibly discouraged Syracuse women’s lacrosse team walked slowly off the field following its one-goal loss at the hands of Georgetown. But the prospect of a successful ending to its season is still well within reach.The Orange can redeem itself come Thursday as the Big East tournament begins.With Saturday’s loss against the No. 12 Hoyas, the No. 9 Orange (12-5, 6-2 Big East) failed to win the Big East regular-season title for the first time in four years. But despite the disappointing finish to the conference schedule, a brand-new season gives SU a fresh sense of hope that it can accomplish its ultimate goal — a national championship.‘Hopefully it will light a fire under our butts with a little bad taste in our mouths,’ junior attack Tee Ladouceur said.But before the Orange can set its sights on a trip to the final four, it must first look to conquer formidable Big East opponents in the conference tournament.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textStanding in Syracuse’s way are the only two conference teams that bested the Orange this season. SU, the No. 3 seed in the upcoming tournament, will face No. 2 seed Notre Dame (11-5, 6-2) on Thursday at 8 p.m. The Orange fell to the No. 14 Irish earlier this season, falling by just a goal in South Bend, Ind., on April 11. If Syracuse can outlast Notre Dame on Thursday, a potential matchup could pit SU against the Hoyas in the championship game. The top-seeded Hoyas will face No. 4 seed Loyola (11-6, 5-3) in the semifinals.With two heart-wrenching losses against the Fighting Irish and Georgetown, the Orange is itching to get back on the field and take another stab against its Big East rivals this week.But senior defender Eileen Finn can’t get the thoughts of the two devastating losses out of her head.‘I wish we played tomorrow,’ Finn said. ‘This week, I’m just not going to be able to take finals. I’m going to be so preoccupied. Obviously, a win excites you, but a loss sets a fire, and I think we’re all competitors and our dream is to get that back.’With Notre Dame on the horizon, head coach Gary Gait knows he must alter his team’s approach to try and wither down the Irish’s feisty defense.Gait recognizes the challenge that lies ahead but feels confident that Syracuse will be more prepared this time around. Gait said the players have a better feel for Notre Dame’s defensive approach and will attempt to use this knowledge to its advantage.‘We have to make some adjustments from our first game against Notre Dame,’ Gait said. ‘We were shut out in the first half. We shut them out in the second half. But we definitely have to continue to build on our offense and try to get them composed and focused and ready to play.’The team posted two of its lowest-scoring outputs of the season against both Georgetown and Notre Dame. It only managed to score nine goals against the Hoyas and five goals against the Irish — a season low. For a Syracuse offense that has rarely struggled this season, these two games have left the attack hungry to face the elite defenses of the conference yet again.SU wants to avenge its losses. ‘We’re not satisfied with the outcome of either the Notre Dame or the Georgetown game,’ Ladouceur said. ‘So we’re going to take it to them next time. We’re going to regroup and work on the things we need to work on and continue doing the things that we’ve been doing well.’Though Syracuse would certainly like to defeat its conference foes, the Big East tournament has even bigger implications. If SU wins its two games this weekend, it will assure itself the conference’s automatic bid in the NCAA tournament. Syracuse has had to endure grueling losses. Postseason play gives senior midfielder Halley Quillinan and SU a chance to erase those daunting memories. The quest for the national championship begins.‘We’ve had a couple one-goal losses and, unfortunately, they didn’t tip our way,’ Quillinan said. ‘But going into the Big East tournament, we need to win. We don’t want to be crossing our fingers watching the TV, hoping that we get in.‘We want to be watching the TV and wondering where we’re going.’ Comments Published on May 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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