Syracuse University Magazine


The women's lacrosse team celebrates its double-overtime win against Florida in the NCAA semifinals.

Photo by Mike Okoniewski/SU Athletics

A Season to Remember

The Syracuse University women’s lacrosse team proved this season that heart and determination can lead to big rewards. For the first time in the program’s history, the Orange women advanced to the title game of the NCAA tournament. In the championship showdown on May 27 in Stony Brook, New York, SU dropped an 8-6 decision to defending champion and No. 2 seed Northwestern. “I’m proud of my team,” head coach Gary Gait ’90 said in the post-game press conference. “They never gave up. They played all the way through. We learned a lot—the first time in the championship game.”

For Gait, who completed his fifth season as head coach, it was the third time his Orange had reached the Final Four—and there was no lack of excitement in getting there. In an NCAA quarterfinal matchup against fifth-seed North Carolina in the Carrier Dome, the fourth-ranked Orange rallied from a two-goal deficit with three minutes left to post a 17-16 victory over the Tar Heels. All-American Michelle Tumolo ’13 netted the game-winning shot with five seconds left. 

Squaring off against top-ranked Florida in the NCAA semifinals at Stony Brook, Syracuse once again put on a heart-stopping display. The Orange women trailed by seven goals with 17:15 left in regulation, but rallied back to claim a 14-13 win in double overtime against the Gators. Sarah Holden ’12 hit an unassisted shot 58 seconds into sudden death. It was the second largest comeback in the tournament’s history and moved the Orange into the final. “With a little bit of luck, drive, and heart, we were able to come out on top,” Gait said. “This kind of heart never gives up.”

The Orange women completed the season with a 19-4 mark, the most wins and best record in school history. They won the Big East regular season title and reeled off 15 straight wins before losing to Loyola (Maryland), 13-7, in the Big East tournament final. 

Tumolo, a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist and Big East Attack Player of the Year, was joined on the Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-America First Team by teammates Becca Block ’13 and Alyssa Murray ’14, while Katie Webster ’14 received third-team honors. Murray also led the nation in scoring, collecting a career-high 105 points on 74 goals and 31 assists. Tumolo scored a career-high 95 points to finish sixth in the nation and was ranked 10th in assists (43). Goalkeeper Alyssa Costantino ’14 completed her season ranked in the top 10 in two categories: sixth in goals-against average (8.37) and seventh in save percentage (.492). 

Gait, the Hall of Fame player who led the Orange men to three national titles, will look to reload next season with the core of the squad returning—no doubt ready and determined to make another title run. —Jay Cox