Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse Escapes NCAA Tournament First Round Battle With Fairfield, 12-11
By: Ian Nicholas | @IanNicholasTV
CitrusTV Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
Princeton, NJ – With an 11-6 lead ahead of the fourth quarter, fifth-seeded Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse (14-5, 6-2 Atlantic Coastal Conference) was well on its way to a comfortable win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But Fairfield (13-7, 5-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) wouldn’t go away quietly, outscoring SU 5-1 in the final frame to come up just short of a monumental upset.
ACC All-Freshman Team selection Olivia Adamson powered the Orange to victory, notching a career-high six points (five goals, one assist). Meanwhile, Tewaaraton finalist Meaghan Tyrrell netted three goals and an assist, and in the process became just the sixth player in program history to record 300 career points. Both Emily Hawryschuk and Megan Carney were stifled by a Stags defense led by the strong play of senior goalie Olivia Conquest (12 saves, .500% save rate). Hawryschuk cashed in on just two of her 11 shots, while Carney didn’t score on any of her four attempts. Fairfield had six different goal scorers, with junior Libby Rowe adding a team-best four scores.
The ‘Cuse jumped out to a 2-0 advantage under three minutes into the first quarter after early tallies from Adamson and Sam Swart. But the Stags took over for the remainder of the frame and held a 3-2 lead heading into the second. Rowe added two goals during Fairfield’s 3-0 run. Syracuse seemingly settled in for the remainder of the first half and was ahead 8-5 by the break. The three-goal lead can be misleading, though, as SU scored two unanswered over the final 29 seconds of the half thanks to late goals from Hawryschuk and Adamson. Regardless, the Orange continued to build momentum in the third quarter, outpacing the Stages 3-1 over the 15-minute span. Adamson found twine twice in the last three minutes of the frame to put The ‘Cuse up 11-6.
What happened over the remaining 15 minutes of regulation was baffling, and it all started with a head-scratching move from Kayla Treanor. The first-year head coach decided to pull goalie Kimber Hower to start the fourth, although the redshirt junior had more saves (7) than goals allowed (6) through 45 minutes in-between the pipes. Treanor inserted the Orange’s third-string netminder in Hannah Van Middelem (although backup Delaney Sweitzer was active for this one). The graduate student who has never started a game over her five-year SU career (and had only appeared once this season) allowed five shots to find the back of the net without making a save during the first 11:24 of the final frame. The ‘Cuse offense struggled in the fourth as well, as Meaghan Tyrrell provided the lone goal of the quarter at the 8:29 mark, her 70th of 2022. Somehow, Syracuse found itself up just one and on the wrong side of a 3-0 run with 3:36 on the clock.
At that point, Van Middelem returned to the bench in favor of Hower, who played the rest of the way. The Orange would catch a massive break with 2:13 to go, as Fairfield’s Eva Petrone committed a cross-check on Tyrrell, sending the sophomore to the penalty box for two minutes while giving Tyrrell a free position. The Orange wouldn’t convert, but they would drain the clock. SU had another golden opportunity to score with 58 seconds left, as Tyrrell put a shot on cage. But Conquest made sure Tyrrell’s attempt didn’t whistle by her weakside shoulder, as she made her 12th save and gave the Stages a chance to tie. But with 10 seconds on the clock, Fairfield sophomore Amanda Kozak hoisted a shot from the doorstep and missed wide. Sarah Cooper secured the ground ball to seal the deal and send Syracuse to the second round on Sunday. The ‘Cuse plays the winner of tonight’s Princeton-UMass game on the Tiger’s Sherrerd Field at noon. Despite the late rally, Fairfield is one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in a row.