Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse ACC Tournament Preview
By Ian Nicholas | @IanNicholas25
Kayla Treanor’s first postseason run as head coach of SU Women’s Lacrosse begins this Friday when No. 3 Syracuse (13-4, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) squares off with No. 16 Virginia (8-8, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) during the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals in South Bend, IN. The ‘Cuse is the three seed after a 15-13 loss against No. 2 Boston College to conclude the regular season in Chestnut Hill last Friday. UVA finished as the six seed thanks to an 18-11 road win vs. Virginia Tech on Thursday.
Over seven ACC Tournament appearances, the Orange have advanced to the conference championship game an impressive five times. This mark includes a loss to North Carolina in last season’s title bout, but also includes a double-overtime win over the Tar Heels to claim the 2015 ACC Championship. If Syracuse wins its second-ever conference title in 2022, then this is the road it has to travel:
SU’s loss to BC four days ago did little to affect its ACC Tournament standing. Sure, with a win The ‘Cuse would’ve been the two seed. However, the difference between playing Virginia or seven seed Virginia Tech is minimal. During a three-game road trip last month, the Orange convincingly took down the Cavaliers by six before thrashing the Hokies by 12 a week later. Against the Hoos specifically, the Orange used an 8-3 scoring run to take a five-goal lead by halftime. The Meg Show caught fire on a snow-filled Saturday afternoon, as Meaghan Tyrrell and Megan Carney combined to score 10 points and eight goals.
In some much-needed positive injury news, after a knee issue sidelined Carney for five games over the last month, the senior returned to play on Friday. The All-ACC Second-Team selection tallied two points in her first game back and 42 through 12 contests overall. With or without a significant contribution from Carney, Syracuse should have little problem dismantling Virginia. Since 2013, SU has won 11 of 12 matchups against UVA. Plus, the Cavs are a winless 0-4 this year vs. top-10 competition. Regardless, the Cavaliers do have some starpower. Redshirt senior Ashlyn McGovern was named All-ACC First-Team after accounting for 52 points and 46 goals; both second-best on the squad. Virginia’s leading scorer is Rachel Clark (57 points, 49 goals), who today became the only player to earn spots on both the All-Freshman and All-ACC Teams. This duo scored seven goals off just eight shots in last month’s loss to the Orange.
If SU gets the better of UVA once again, then it’ll play the winner of Boston College vs. Virginia Tech in the ACC Semifinals. Let’s assume BC advances to that round, too, considering the Eagles crushed the Hokies 18-8 on April 2nd when reigning Tewaaraton winner Charlotte North scored seven goals. Syracuse and Boston College would see each other for the second time in nine days on Sunday at 3:30 pm in South Bend. 2021’s conference semifinals saw SU defeat BC in a 19-17 shootout, and it was then-freshman Emma Ward who stole the show with a six-point performance. Junior Sierra Cockerille chipped in five points while sophomore Emma Tyrrell added four goals in the win.
Unfortunately, none of these three are available to play in Friday’s rematch (or for the rest of 2022), but both Carney and All-ACC First-Team selection Emily Hawryschuk will be active after season-ending ACL tears sidelined them last postseason. Hawryschuk’s play is peaking at the right time for The ‘Cuse, as the sixth-year senior’s scored 20 of her 57 goals (12th nationally) over the last four games. Syracuse would need strong efforts from Carney, Hawryschuk, and Tewaaraton nominee Meaghan Tyrrell (93 points, 63 goals) to pull past Boston College, but it’ll need secondary scoring as well. Treanor will continue to rely on sophomore midfielders Natalie Smith (21 points, 12 goals) and Jenny Markey (17 points, 10 draw controls) to fill the void left by Emma Tyrrell. Meanwhile, ACC All-Freshman team selection Olivia Adamson (27 points, 20 goals) can continue to provide a spark in attack. This underclassmen trio recorded only four points against the Eagles last week.
The defense, led by Tewaaraton nominee Sarah Cooper (21 ground balls, 17 caused turnovers), needs to make adjustments after allowing BC to take over in the second half on Friday. The Eagles scored five goals in the third quarter and led 13-8 a minute into the fourth. Redshirt junior goalie Kimber Hower did not have her finest hour, corralling four saves against 13 goals allowed (24% save rate). But in Hower’s defense, her own defense allowed Boston College to take eight free-position shots, which led directly to four BC scores. Despite the undisciplined effort on defense and an average offensive showing, Syracuse lost by a pair of goals to the team who beat it by six scores in 2021’s National Championship game. SU has the talent to upset BC for the second year in a row in the ACC Tournament, and maybe even the ability to win its second-ever conference championship. Let’s see what No. 1 North Carolina (15-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) has to say about that on Saturday, May 7th.