Yesterday afternoon, the Syracuse women’s lacrosse team was pushed to the edge of elimination by a Southern California side which absorbed Syracuse’s athletic game and threw it right back at them.
In sudden-death overtime, USC made an impetuous early move, missed a shot, and gave the Orangewomen nearly two minutes to do something with the ball. And it was more than enough time for Syracuse to win 12-11.
During Syracuse’s time with the ball in overtime, the attack started with Hallie Majorana on the left goal line extended, attempting to dodge and draw defenders. The senior tried three times to beat her mark, but elected to make a pass every time.
On Majorana’s third dodge with about 30 seconds remaining, the pass went to a somewhat unexpected target: senior midfielder Kelly Cross.
Cross, at this time last year, was not on the women’s lacrosse team’s radar screen. Back in March of 2015, hours after she and the Orange had beaten Northwestern, she drove an SUV into an entrance to a set of stairs leading to the Mount Olympus dormitories near the Carrier Dome.
Cross was suspended from the team and withdrew from the school for the fall 2015 semester. But Syracuse head coach Gary Gait kept her with the team for practices.
“Kids may make mistakes, but we still stick behind them and we don’t isolate them and throw them to the curb,” Gait told The Syracuse Daily Orange.
Cross, in 2016, has made the most of her second chance with the team. She came into yesterday’s NCAA quarterfinal fifth on the team in scoring, and she had shown the penchant for scoring important goals, like she did in the ACC final a scant three weeks ago when she leveled the match at full time, only to see North Carolina win in overtime.
And now, Cross and the Orange are in the Final Four for the fifth straight season, a remarkable achievement.