Levy’s hat trick provides a bright spot in No. 2 Syracuse’s loss to No. 3 Florida

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ With Syracuse in a quick three-goal hole in its toughest game of the season, freshman Nicole Levy sprinted up to the right side of the goal and angled toward the middle.Levy looked off the Florida’s goalie, Mary-Sean Wilcox, and faked a pass. Wilcox had stuffed her close-range shot minutes earlier. This time Levy didn’t give her a chance, swinging her right shoulder toward the goal and ripped a low shot toward the right post.That was Syracuse’s first goal of the game, sparking a four-goal run that briefly gave it the lead. Levy registered a hat trick for the second consecutive outing, and she was one of the lone bright spots for No. 2 Syracuse (5-1) in its 11-10 overtime loss to No. 3 Florida (5-0) in the Carrier Dome on Tuesday. Her recent play suggests she’s overcome the nerves which led to the poor shooting SU head coach Gary Gait saw in her first weekend.“You give (Levy) a little bit of room now and she’ll finish the ball,” Gait said. “… She’s been stepping it up in the last couple games.”Even when the chances are fleeting, Levy has capitalized. Midway through the first half Tuesday, Levy stayed out wide when Taylor Gait emerged from a scrum and sprinted down the field. Two defenders stepped up to stop Gait and she slung a pass to Levy, who had pulled up around 16 meters. Levy buried a one-timer, making it 3-2 and willing Syracuse back into the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt’s that sort of play-making ability that excited assistant coach Regy Thorpe during fall practices and scrimmages. Even though she’s often the smallest player on the field at 5 feet, 2 inches, Thorpe said she sees angles before some veterans can.“I’ve gotten my confidence up and know more where I belong in the offense,” Levy said. “I’m getting used to it.”Her role has been flexible through SU’s first six games. In games Sunday and Tuesday, she’s been a high-volume shooter, recording a hat trick in each. Sometimes she’s a distributor, as she was in her first two games, dishing out five assists. Other times she’s somewhere in the middle, chipping in a goal and an assist apiece in SU’s third and fourth games.Levy’s size allows her to dodge around defenders. After gaining position she’s been able to draw fouls. Against Florida’s Aniya Flanagan on Tuesday, Levy earned a free-position shot and used her unorthodox low-to-high release to score through Wilcox’s legs.At the time, the goal gave Syracuse a 9-7 lead, its first multi-goal advantage of the afternoon. A normally-impassive Gary Gait clapped lightly.It was vindication for Levy. Even though Inside Lacrosse’s No. 7 recruit in the 2015 class hadn’t played as well as UF’s Sydney Pirreca and Lindsey Ronbeck, the No. 1 and No. 2 recruits, respectively, her team held the lead. The Gator pair had combined for five goals and one assist. But soon, Syracuse as a whole was outplayed and Levy’s performance stood as one of the few positives in the Orange’s first loss of the season.“(Levy is) a solid shooter,” Gait said. “She’ll get those shots every game.” Comments Related Stories No. 3 Florida hands No. 2 Syracuse its 1st loss of the season in overtimecenter_img Published on March 1, 2016 at 8:25 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TRlast_img read more