WLAX : Syracuse prepares to play without top playmaker Tumolo following suspension

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1 Commentscenter_img As disheartening as it was, Michelle Tumolo’s impulsive eruption was at least timely for her and the Orange.Leading Connecticut 15-6 midway through the second half, Tumolo and midfielder Katie Webster aggressively double-teamed a Huskies player. Too aggressively, according to the referee.The official issued Tumolo a red card, causing her immediate ejection from the game and suspension from the Orange’s next matchup. Fortunately for SU, that opponent is one of the few unranked opponents on its nonconference schedule.‘She admitted to me after that she made a play that wasn’t a smart one,’ SU head coach Gary Gait said. ‘… Hopefully she’s learned her lesson, and I think it was a great lesson for her to learn as a young athlete that you can’t go around retaliating and expecting to get something good out of it.’The shorthanded No. 2 Orange (5-2, 1-0 Big East) travels to Foxborough, Mass., Saturday to take on Harvard (4-4, 1-2 Ivy League) at noon in the first-ever women’s collegiate game in Gillette Stadium history. Kailah Kempney will replace Tumolo in the starting lineup and another rookie, Gabby Jaquith, will see extended minutes playing above the crease.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKempney and Jaquith will be part of a joint effort to fill the void left by SU’s offensive captain. This will be Kempney’s first game since Feb. 29 after she suffered an injury in the second half of Syracuse’s game against Northwestern.So as one of Gait’s offensive components returns, another is relegated to the sidelines.‘Lacrosse is about making adjustments, and this is just as if it were an injury. We’re ready to make that adjustment,’ Gait said.Tumolo leads SU with 15 assists and 32 points on the season. But 10 other players have found the back of the net this season, and four of them have scored at least 10 times.Webster churned out three scores in SU’s overtime loss to the top-ranked Northwestern. Freshman Devon Collins is turning heads, tied for third on the team with 14 scores.And throughout the season, each member of the Orange offense has shown a willingness to move the ball and work to find open space.Sophomore attack Alyssa Murray is confident her teammates will find a way to compensate for their leader’s absence.‘Well, we definitely are going to miss her a lot on the field, her presence and just the energy that she brings,’ Murray said. ‘But I think that we’re going to just go around some of her strengths because we’re not going to be able to fill that void.’Webster may see a few more isolation sets, and the Orange might look to find Kempney cutting through the middle of the defense more often, Murray said.But Murray herself is arguably the Orange’s top offensive threat aside from Tumolo.She tallied a program-record eight goals against Boston College and seven goals against UConn – SU’s two highest single-game totals this season.But in the past two years, Murray said she’s only ever played up top with Tumolo. Their chemistry, give-and-go combinations and backdoor cuts won’t be options for the SU offense for a week.Instead, Murray plans to fill her mentor’s role as someone capable of both scoring and facilitating the ball.And with the left-handed Jaquith filling in for Tumolo, who’s one of the best lefties in college lacrosse, Gait said the Orange offense can operate in a similar fashion.‘We’re very fortunate that we’re one of the few teams in the country to have lefties at all,’ Gait said. ‘… The good thing is we do have people who can fill that in there and fill the lefty position, so we’re a lot better off than a lot of other teams would be in this situation.’Playing without Kempney against top-five opponents Florida and Maryland, the Orange flourished with a pair of one-goal victories.Without Tumolo, Gait envisions a similar result, believing the adversity will push the rest of the Orange to step up.‘Sometimes adversity helps your team rise to the occasion, and I think there’s going to be a lot of players playing out there that love Michelle’s leadership and what she brings to this team,’ Gait said. ‘They’re going to want to make sure that when she’s not playing that they step up their games a bit to help fill the void for her.’[email protected]last_img

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