Who Can Stop Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse?
By Joe Puccio
The wins keep on coming for No. 2 Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse (5-0, 3-0 in ACC). They aren’t just ACC regular-season victories that SU expects to win; these victories are against the toughest competition in the country. This past weekend, No. 4 Notre Dame (2-2, 0-2 in ACC) waltzed into the Dome with confidence, just for Syracuse to sweep the Fighting Irish on Cuse’s home turf.
“It’s just fantastic,” said 14-year head coach Gary Gait. “This is a pretty good start to our season, especially having to go against a team back-to-back. It’s [Notre Dame] is a tough top-4 team…we keep getting more ranked teams, so there is no rest for the weary.”
After this electric two-game set in the Dome, it’s time to raise the question: Who can beat Syracuse? Every team SU has played has been ranked in the top-5 at the time they battle with the Cuse, except for No. 8 Duke. Every opponent is still ranked in the top-20 after five weeks of play, so this team is no slouch. Who has the best odds of squeezing the Orange?
Okay, we just talked about them so why am I bringing them up again? No. 4 Notre Dame is the best competition SU has faced up to this point. The Fighting Irish had a late second-half push at the end of Thursday’s game that gave Syracuse some unfamiliar resistance. The blue and gold were also leading at the half on Sunday’s affair, making Syracuse play on their heels through the first 30. If Notre Dame gets another swing at the Cuse, ND may find a way to win after coming up close in two matchups.
No. 5 Boston College (4-1 overall, 1-1 in ACC) is dangerous. The Golden Eagles are on fire, outscoring their opponents 84-59. Leading Attack Charlotte North has 24 goals through 5 games, leading the ACC in goals per game with 4.8. BC also plays in an indoor turf facility. When they come to the Dome for a season-finale doubleheader in April, Boston College would be ready for the Dome’s playing conditions, would have already played the best competition in the conference, and would be capable of taking at least one of those two matchups.
If Syracuse is No. 2, then who is No. 1? Well, it’s the Tar Heels. UNC (7-0 Overall, 3-0 in ACC) has been the country’s leading program ever since the preseason. They have a conference and NCAA leading 117 goals for while giving up an ACC-best 37. The Tar Heels are led by two NY natives: Centereach’s Jamie Ortega leads the conference with 27 goals and Taylor Moreno from Huntington has a .593 save percentage between the pipes. When SU and UNC meet, it will be Syracuse’s first road game since March 6th. North Carolina is, obviously, undefeated at their home, so the Orange will need to play a perfect ballgame in order to win. The Tar Heels and Orange are hoping this April 3rd matchup will foreshadow the ACC and National Championship.
Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse is back in two weekends. No. 14 Virginia Tech (2-3 overall, 0-3 in the ACC) visits the Dome on March 27th. The Hokies are coming off a 22-1 beatdown from No. 1 North Carolina. Faceoff is on Saturday at 5 pm.
Joe Puccio | @TheRealJoePooch | CitrusTV Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter