For the second time in program history, the Orange ladies were this close to capturing their first National Championship in 2014. Instead, they were denied by #1 ranked Maryland, the third time the team had lost at the hands of the Terps that season. It was almost as frustrating as the loss two years prior to the
Northwestern Wildcats team that we no longer speak the name of around these parts. It just hurts too much. It was the equivalent of a fairytale with a not-so-happy ending, to an otherwise brilliant season.
The Orange won a program-best 23 games, to only three losses, all to Maryland. In that game, the team stormed back from a seven-goal deficit, only to come up three goals shy of at least a tie to send the game into overtime. Three members of the Orange were named to the NCAA All-Tournament team, including attacker Kayla Treanor who returns to the squad this season as a junior. Syracuse beat eight different ranked teams, 10 if you count UNC and Notre Dame twice, on their way to the National Championship game, during one of the toughest schedules in the league.
This year looks to be another strong one. Let's unpack everything, now, shall we?
Syracuse seems to like to challenge themselves year-in-and-year-out. This year is no exception. To start off the season, the team plays a double-header today against Denver at noon (EST) and Canisius in the evening. Then, the team welcomes Canisius back to the Dome the following Sunday for another noon-evening double-header with the later game against Presbyterian. The Orange play three more home games, against UVA, UConn, and BC respectively, before their rematch with Maryland on March 7th in College Park. I think that this should be the game that we're all most looking forward to. Losing to the same team three times in one year is not the greatest feeling in the world. I smell the want for revenge. Two other notable non-conference match-ups are versus Florida and Nothwestern, both away games. Ranked 4th and 5th in the "Inside Lacrosse Pre-Season Poll" behind Syracuse, add these teams to the list of many that will pose a threat to the Orange this year.
The ACC portion of the schedule begins with two games in February (UVA and BC) before truly starting with Duke in Durham, NC on the 28th of March. The slate continues with games against VT, Notre Dame, UNC, and, finally, Louisville to round it all out.
Before the ACC Tournament, Albany comes to the Dome on April 19th. To wrap up the regular season for the Orange, the team travels to Baltimore, MD to face the Loyola Greyhounds before the NCAA Tournament.
The ladies play a total of 19 regular season games that are nothing to sneeze at. I see the potential for at least 17 wins, if not more. The "toughest" games will be Maryland, UNC, Florida, and Northwestern, but I wouldn't count any of the teams on this schedule out, to be quite honest.
As was mentioned earlier, junior 2014 Tewaaraton Award Finalist Kayla Treanor is back and will be one of the keys to the Orange's success. She had a stint this summer with the U.S. National team where she faced her Syracuse teammates in two games as part of the U.S. team's college tour. Last season, she scored 79 goals, a single-season record for Syracuse, and 38 assists leading to 117 points, good enough for 2nd in the single-season record book. She also had 14 draw controls and 10 caused turnovers. Her teammate, senior Kailah Kempney, also saw a significant amount of production as she contributed 24 goals, 12 assists, and broke her own single-season record for draw controls with 107. Additionally, she had 16 ground balls and eight caused turnovers. Kempney is Syracuse's all-time leader in draw controls with 253, a record previously held by Christina Dove (181) who played for the Orange from 2007-2010. Another senior, Devon Collins, is poised to make a greater impact after a season in which she scored 25 goals and had five assists. Collins also had 13 ground balls, two draw controls, and 9 caused turnovers.
Sophomore Taylor Poplawski scored 26 goals on four assists as a Freshman. She had 14 ground balls, three draw controls, and four caused turnovers as well. Gabby Jaquith, a senior who also was part of the attack last season, will be there to help Poplawski out, adding to the 15 goals and 15 assists she had. Of note, Jaquith had six ground balls, one draw control, 14 turnovers and 2 caused turnovers. Junior Erica Bodt rounds up the players to keep a look-out for playing midfield. Last season, she scored 12 goals on two assists and had seven ground balls, two draw controls, and seven caused turnovers.
Defense and Goaltending
Senior Mallory Vehar will be one of the anchors of the defensive unit on this year's squad. Last season she picked up 32 ground balls, seven draw controls, and 15 caused turnovers. She's the lone senior on defense, so look for her to step up and lead the young guns to prominence.
With Alyssa Constantino gone and graduated, it's finally time for senior goaltender Kelsey Richardson to shine. Richardson stepped up her game last season and got the bulk of the minutes, even while she and Constantino split time by halves in goal during most of the season. She had an 8.73 GAA (goals against average) per game and a .378 save % allowing 117 goals while stopping 71. The senior ended her campaign with a 14-2-0 record.
The Orange look to open their season with a strong statement today in their double-header against Denver and Canisius respectively in the Carrier Dome. The first game is at 12:00 p.m. EST, with the second game starting at 7:30 p.m.