Women’s Lacrosse Exceeds Expectations in Early Season
Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse (2-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is off to a scorching-hot start. The Cuse has taken down the Number 5 team in the country twice by double digits. Early season rust is not a problem for the Orange, even after a one-year layoff in between games.
The season started on February 20th on the road against No. 5 Loyola (MD) (0-2, 0-0 in Patriot League). Coming into the game, Loyola was the highest-ranked team not playing in a power 5 conference. With a strong opponent hosting the Orange, Syracuse coaches and players alike were uncertain how the season opener would go.
“You never know how it’s going to go when you’ve only practiced against yourself,” said Head Coach Gary Gait, entering his 14th season at the helm.
It didn’t seem to matter. 2020 First Team All-American Emily Hawryschuk led the Orange to a 5-1 run late in the first half to break away from Loyola. The Greyhounds didn’t have an answer in the second either, as SU held a 10-goal lead halfway through. Hawyrschuk and Sam Swart each had 4 goals apiece to come away with an 18-6 Orange victory.
The Dome opener occurred the very next week, and the quality of their opponent did not get easier. Hawryschuk was sidelined against No. 5 Stony Brook (2-2, 0-0 in America East Conference) due to an injury she suffered in practice. But, Syracuse had the confidence to step up and succeed. They carried a 12-3 lead into the break and never let the Seawolves contend. They walked away with a 16-6 victory at home with the help of Megan Carney’s 5 goals and Sierra Cockerille’s 4 tallies.
“I think it was a huge statement, especially that Emily Hawryschul didn’t play today,” said Coach Gait. “Our team responded and rallied together…we are a Syracuse Lacrosse team and we aren’t led by one single player.
The Orange are stunning the lacrosse world. The team is in midseason form against the best teams in the country. In a league in which seven teams in the Top 20 play in the ACC, it is important for the Orange to not waste any time. They walk onto the field with swagger, play with confidence and high energy levels, and run it back next weekend.
With star players like goalkeeper Asa Goldstock returning for another season, the defense is certainly holding up their end. On the other side, Emily Hawryschuk’s injury may be very impactful down the line. Goldstock commented on Hawryschuk’s injury following the win against Stony Brook, but Coach Gait reiterated that she suffered a lower leg injury and the team would evaluate her status this week.
If the Orange can stay away from the injury bug, it will give them a great chance to win their first national championship in program history. The win against Stony Brook showed the team could beat down on the best teams in the country regardless of the personnel on the field. Syracuse will continue to adapt to the situation regarding Hawryschuk and opening the door to freshmen like Maddy Baxter to see playing time.
The schedule for the No. 2 team in the country doesn’t get easier. This Saturday, No. 8 Duke (4-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) hosts the Orange. Faceoff is scheduled for 1 pm. In 2019, Syracuse won a nailbiter in Durham 15-14. The Blue Devils lost 13-6 to No. 1 North Carolina on February 26th and are coming off a 16-4 victory over East Carolina.
Joe Puccio | @TheRealJoePooch | firstname.lastname@example.org