LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Stetson lacrosse team knew the 2014 season opener was going to be a challenge. It proved to be true as #3 Syracuse recorded a program record 25 goal in a 25-0 win over the Hatters at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on Friday night.
"Playing in the Champions Challenge was a very unique experience," Stetson head coach Nicole Moore said. "For our student athletes, it was a chance to play against a top caliber team and be surrounded by the best in the game. It is a great opportunity for Stetson University and Stetson Lacrosse."
The Orange scored just over a minute into play and never looked back. The perennial national contenders were clicking on Friday, after defeating Stetson’s Atlantic Sun Conference foe Jacksonville on Tuesday.
Syracuse was led by Alyssa Murray, who scored four goals and had one assist for five points. Taylor Poplawski, Kayla Treanor, Katie Webster, Devon Collins, and Lisa Rogers also scored multiple goals for the Orange.
The Hatters recorded two shots, one each from sophomore Danielle Horgan and Samantha Akl, both of which were on target. Horgan and sophomore goalkeeper Caili Guilday picked up one ground ball each in the contest.
"As a fledgling program, the opportunity to play such a high caliber team can be a very positive one, and a chance for the team and individuals to grow," Moore said. "We were missing some key players tonight, which definitely hurt us, both within our team chemistry on the field and for subbing, though those that had the chance to step onto the field against Syracuse had a great opportunity to be challenged, be pushed, and get better."
The Hatters will have over two weeks off before returning to action on Sunday, Feb. 9. Stetson hosts Oregon at 1:00 p.m. in the first of five straight home games at the Athletic Training Center.
"We need to tighten up our defense and continue to build our offense," Moore said regarding what the team needs to focus on moving forward. "We are still putting in pieces of our system and will stay focused on bringing this team together both on the field and off."