Women’s Lacrosse battles with the Injury Bug
Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse (3-0, 1-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference) received heartbreaking news prior to their March 6th meeting with Duke. Fifth-year attack Emily Hawryschuk announced on social media that she would miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
“This is something that is all too common in women’s sports”, said Hawryschuk. “It is a risk I know about as a female athlete. To all of the women going through this with me — we will be stronger at the end.”
Hawryscuk has seen playing time ever since she arrived on campus. The Victor, NY native has played in 68 contests, including 22 appearances her freshman year. Since 2019, she hasn’t missed a single start.
As the saying goes, the show must go on. The Orange are the second-ranked team in the country, chasing ACC rival North Carolina. The question for Syracuse moving forward is simple, yet extremely complex: How do you respond to such a devastating injury?
The first step is having a strong lacrosse mind at the helm. And, of course, the team is led by none other than Gary Gait. A two-time National Player of the Year and three-time National Champion with Syracuse during his playing days, one of the most prominent names in lacrosse history has another game plan already in the works.
“It’s a matter of adjusting chemistry and pieces,” said the Syracuse Head Coach. “We will use some various people [in different roles].”
The second step is utilizing assets. One name that has grabbed the attention of Coach Gait is Emma Ward. A 4.5-star recruit from Babylon committed to Syracuse in the summer of 2017, according to Inside Lacrosse. Ward has seen significant playing time in her early collegiate career. She has eight points in her last two games, including a four-goal performance in the win over Duke.
“We bumped Emma Ward into that spot and as a freshman, she got the opportunity. We moved her from offensive-midfield to attack, so we will continue to move forward,” Coach Gait noted.
Another focal point in the SU attack is Megan Carney. Throughout the entirety of her career, the junior has started in all but one game. A plethora of those games has allowed her to start alongside Emily Hawryschuk. Carney knows how she likes to play and is more than capable of filling her role for the remainder of the season.
“It was definitely hard wrapping our head around [losing Hawryschuk],” said the 2020 All-American Honorable Mention. “But, it is what it is. We all have to step up and fill in her role. Communication is big in order for us to be on the same page.”
“[Carney] becomes the go-to player,” Coach Gait emphasized during last week’s press conference. “She did an awesome job last game. From the opening whistle, she took control and showed she had the ability to score.”
The third step is to carry on with business as usual. As much as it hurts not having Hawryschuk out on the turf, Coach Gait believes her presence on the sideline will continue to have a grave impact.
“Emily has been a great leader. She loves the game. We trust her to help when she sees something in practice and during games. We look forward to continuing having her be one of the most important players and captains on this team.”
The Orange are finding ways to win without her, but Syracuse is keeping their foot on the gas. The Cuse hosts No. 4 Notre Dame in a two-game set beginning on Thursday at 7 pm. The series finale is on Sunday.
Joe Puccio | @TheRealJoePooch | CitrusTV Beat Reporter, Women’s Lacrosse