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WLAX : Kempey’s success in draw circle gives Syracuse chance to put together improbable victory

September 17, 2020

first_img Comments STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Kailah Kempney won’t find her name in the scoring column of Syracuse’s final four victory.The freshman attack didn’t record a goal or assist, but without her success in the draw circle, there’s no doubt the Orange would be headed home rather than to the NCAA championship game on Sunday.‘We all have our role on the field,’ Kempney said. ‘We have a lot of communication on the field so we’re all on the same page. What I would pull it over my shoulder, there were so many people there, the smart place was to put it was to the side of me. So my teammates boxed out and allowed me to control the draw.’Kempney recorded seven crucial draw controls, outworking Florida star midfielder Shannon Gilroy to give No. 4 seed SU (19-3) the chances it needed down the stretch to complete an incredible seven-goal comeback – the second greatest in NCAA tournament history – and beat the top-seeded Gators (19-3) 14-13 in sudden-death double overtime. Syracuse will play No. 2 Northwestern in the championship game on Sunday at 8 p.m., and Kempney’s efforts against Florida certainly helped the Orange get there. The freshman attack controlled the last three draws of regulation, another in the first overtime and the lone, pivotal draw in double overtime.And three of those five pickups resulted in SU goals, as did another with the Orange trailing 13-8 and just over seven minutes left in regulation.‘We made some adjustments on Gilroy in the second half and made sure she didn’t win the draws,’ SU head coach Gary Gait said. ‘We were concerned about them off the draw. Kayla did her job off the draw.’But early in the second half, Gilroy and the Gators seemed in control at the draw circle. Florida won the first five draws after the break, extending their halftime lead from four goals to seven before Kempney scooped up the next draw with 21:30 remaining.Junior attack Michelle Tumolo scored a wraparound goal on that possession. Devon Collins, Tumolo and Alyssa Murray continued the scoring rally to cut the SU deficit to 12-8.But when Gilroy beat SU goaltender Kelsey Richardson to put the Gators up by five with 7:19 left, the Orange’s chances of victory appeared slim.Then Kempney won a draw 50 seconds later and senior Sarah Holden beat UF goalie Mikey Meagher from the right doorstep.After Murray and Holden tacked on two more, Kempney outdueled Gilroy once more, winning a crucial draw with 2:49 left and her team down two.‘She’s a very good drawer,’ Kempney said of Gilroy, ‘and she has good size and very good stick work so we wanted to take away her and being able to self-draw. They have very good transition and we wanted to take that away.’And after a first half filled with unsettled opportunities for the Gators, Kempney did just that in the second half.Coming out of an SU timeout following Kempney’s draw control, Tumolo sprinted up the right side of the field.Cutting in, the Gators defense collapsed on her. But she found Murray flashing in front of the net and SU’s leading scorer cranked her 73rd goal of the year past Meagher.Kempney won the ensuing draw once again, this time setting up Holden for a game-tying free-position score. The senior midfielder kept her career alive by faking an overhead whip before bringing her stick back and sidewinding a bouncer into the bottom right of the cage.And Kempney gave the Orange a chance to win it in regulation by winning the next draw with only 30 seconds left. However, Meagher denied Tumolo from the right doorstep before the final seconds ticked off the clock.But Kempney maintained her intensity at the draw circle in overtime. She won the opening draw in overtime, and after a scoreless six minutes – which included an apparent game-winning score by Florida’s Gabi Wiegand that was later disallowed following a stick check-Kempney won the first draw of the second overtime period.And this time, the Orange capitalized.Holden drove down the right alley and bounced a shot past Meagher and into the net to send Syracuse to the national championship game.‘It was kind of all in slow motion,’ Holden said. ‘I just did a split dodge and buried it low, and it went in and it was just an amazing feeling.’[email protected] Published on May 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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