Syracuse Wins Nail-biter over BC, Advances to ACC Championship
By Joe Puccio
CitrusTV’s Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
No. 2 seed Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse (14-2, 8-2 Atlantic Coast) is heading to the ACC Championship after a cutthroat 19-17 victory over No. 3 Boston College (13-3, 8-2 ACC).
“What a shootout,” said head coach Gary Gait postgame. “This was the story of two great offenses. We made the plays that we needed to and we are happy for the opportunity to play against North Carolina.”
Syracuse completed three games against Boston College within the last week. BC took the opening game 14-13 last Thursday, followed up by a 16-7 SU victory in the season finale.
The game started as any lacrosse aficionado would’ve predicted. Boston College’s Charlotte North, who had a team-leading 65 goals entering this game, opened the scoring. The Eagles and the Orange would go back and forth through the first ten minutes, as Syracuse held a 4-2 lead.
The Orange started to get hot. Thanks to goals from Emma Tyrrell, Meaghan Tyrrell, Sam Swart, and Emma Ward, Syracuse got out to an 8-3 lead. Syracuse’s offense was tiring out BC with pick plays and their signature motion offense. On the other end, goaltender Asa Goldstock was dominant. Through the first 20 minutes, she had 4 saves on 7 BC shots.
This was when the first swing happened. Charlotte North started to win draws and share the love with her teammates. Graduate Cara Urbank scored a pair of goals and ACC Freshman of the Year Belle Smith picked one up as well. BC had a 3-0 scoring run capped off with just over three minutes to play in the first half, but Syracuse ended the period with a 3-0 run of their own.
Syracuse entered the second half with a commanding 11-6 lead. It would only get better for the Orange, as midfielders Sam Swart and Sierra Cockerille extended SU’s lead to 13-7.
But then, the Eagles got their wings under them. Belle Smith scored at the 32-minute mark to kickstart the scoring mirage. Turnovers and penalties from Syracuse created a dry spell for the Orange, resulting in zero quality possessions.
North, Smith, Jenn Medjid, and Annabelle Hasselbeck engineered Boston College’s comeback. The Eagles went on a 7-0 scoring run to secure their first lead since the opening goal. Once BC took the 14-13 lead, coach Gary Gait stepped in and discussed the game plan moving forward.
“We just had to get back into the flow,” Coach Gait explained. “Sometimes we made the right decisions and sometimes we didn’t. Thankfully, Emma Ward allowed us to get our focus back with that one goal.”
Oh boy, was Coach right. Freshman Emma Ward tied the game at 14 and midfielder Bianca Chevarie regained the lead for SU at 15-14. Charlotte North had different plans, tying the match at 15. Swart and Tyrrell extended SU’s lead to two before North and Smith tied the game back at 17.
With a minute-30 to play, SU freshman Emma Ward stood below the cage. Rotating to the left post, Ward gives Syracuse an 18-17 lead. After the draw, BC’s Hollie Schleicher picked up the team’s 4th yellow card. An unreleasable penalty followed up by an SU empty-netter allowed the Orange to escape with a 19-17 victory.
Ward’s play was the deciding factor for the Orange. She was the only player that could counter Charlotte North’s performance.
“BC’s defense allowed Emma [Ward] to take some risks. To have her step up was awesome. She played the best game ever,” Coach Gait acknowledged.
It wasn’t just Emma Ward and her 5-goal performance that lifted the Orange. Attack/Midfielder Emma Tyrrell buried four genos and Sierra Cockerille tallied 5 points.
For the defense, they ran into Boston College’s red-hot offense.
“We asked a lot from Grace Fahey,” said Coach Gait after the defender played 1-on-1 against Charlotte North.
After some defensive changes that included guarding Charlotte North with freshman Katie Goodale, the Orange were able to hold on for the victory.
Next up for the Orange is the ACC Championship. It’s a battle with the country and the conference’s number 1 team: North Carolina. The Tar Heels defeated 4th-seeded Notre Dame 18-4 earlier this afternoon. The opening draw is at noon on Sunday.
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