Syracuse Shocked in ACC Quarterfinals With 18-14 Loss to Virginia

Saturday, Apr 30, 2022 at 10:09 am by Sports Editor

By: Ian Nicholas | @IanNicholas25 

CitrusTV Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter

South Bend, IN – Last night, No. 3 Syracuse (13-5, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) couldn’t get past No. 16 Virginia (9-8, 4-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals, suffering an 18-14 loss. After SU ended its regular season with a 15-13 defeat to Boston College last Friday, many expected the Orange to roll past the Cavaliers and square off with the Eagles once again this Sunday (in what would’ve been a rematch of last year’s ACC Tournament Semifinals). 

But UVA had different plans, as its NCAA Tournament chances were on the line. Longtime head coach Julie Myers had led the Hoos to 25 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and a loss would’ve disqualified the Cavs with a sub-.500 record. ACC freshman of the year favorite Rachel Clark shined from start to finish, tallying four of her six goals before halftime and finishing with seven points. A fellow underclassman, sophomore Morgan Schwab, also recorded a career-high seven points (three goals, four assists). All-ACC First Team Selection Ashlyn McGovern showed out with four goals off six shots and an assist. 

For The ‘Cuse, Meaghan Tyrrell was face-guarded all night long, yet the Tewaaraton finalist still posted six points with four goals and a pair of assists. Emily Hawryschuk notched five points in the loss (three goals, two assists), which moved the sixth-year senior into fourth place on Syracuse’s career points list with 337. Megan Carney had four points and a hat trick, while the combination of Olivia Adamson, Sam Swart, and Maddy Baxter combined for four goals. The Orange dominated the draw circle with a 23-13 advantage, as Tewaaraton finalist Sarah Cooper won a season-high 10 draws. 

What did SU in was not offensive efficiency nor a lack of possessions. The issues that have now led to consecutive losses for the first time since March 2018 are nothing new: goalie play, penalties, and turnovers. First, Kimber Hower made her 13th consecutive start in cage but was pulled late in the first half after allowing eight goals against just one stop. Replacement Delaney Sweitzer wouldn’t make a single save, though, letting four shots find twine in 15 minutes. Hower was reinserted late in the third quarter and compiled an unbelievably low 7.14% save rate (one save, 14 goals allowed) in over 44 minutes. Second, this was an 11-11 game with three minutes left in the third. 93 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Hoos led 15-11 due to some baffling miscues. The Orange were called for three yellow cards and a green card (because Natalie Smith didn’t put her goggles on properly) during the Cavs’ 4-0 run, and at one point were three women down. The Cavaliers shot eight three positions and converted four of them for goals. Third, The ‘Cuse committed 14 turnovers compared to eight from UVA. The most costly of these came with 2:21 remaining. Trailing by three, defender Katie Goodale slipped at midfield off a Syracuse timeout. McGovern found the loose ball, Virginia called timeout, and Braeden Dial provided the exclamation point with 64 seconds left. 

All in all, Syracuse was bounced in the first round of the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2018. Kayla Treanor and company are now in wait-and-see mode ahead of the NCAA Tournament. The tournament selection show on Sunday, May 8th will reveal SU’s tournament seeding, opponent, and location. One thing’s for sure: the Orange won’t receive a top-three seed (or the first-round bye that comes with it) after falling to a Cavs team that ahead of yesterday was a winless 0-4 this season against top-10 competition.