The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team started and finished the year with Boston College. SU won their season opener against the Eagles in convincing fashion, 18-8. Several months later, the 'Cuse faced their ACC foe once again in the NCAA Tournament. But this time, it was the Eagles who returned the favor by trouncing Syracuse 21-10 in the second round. The Orange finish the season at 15-7 while Boston College moves to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals where they will host USC.
Syracuse led a couple of times early, at 2-1 and 3-2, but it was all Boston College after that. The Eagles went on a four-goal run in a two-minute period, to take a 6-3 lead that they never relinquished. After Alie Jimerson took a Devon Parker feed to cut it to two, BC went on another three-goal run to extend the lead to five at 9-4 with 10 minutes left in the half. The two teams would trade goals for the rest of the half and the Eagles went into the break leading 12-7.
Boston College continued to build their lead into the second half, scoring three more to take a commanding 15-7 advantage five minutes in. Syracuse tried to stem the tide and scored the next two goals to cut the Eagle lead to 15-9 with 18 minutes left. BC then slammed the door shut, scoring five straight over a 10-minute stretch to lead 20-9 with under seven minutes left to play. Both teams pitched in another goal each to get the final score.
Turning Point: Syracuse led 3-2 a little over 10 minutes into the game, but had already experienced turnover problems with five up to that point. SU defender Alexa Radziewicz got the draw control, and passed it back to goalie Asa Goldstock. Goldstock moved up the field and had had an errant pass picked up on the ground by Boston College attacker Laura Frankenfield. Frankenfield had an opening, raced forward and beat out Goldstock for the transition goal and tied the game at 3. The Eagles would get three straight goals and never looked back.
Offense: Boston College outshot Syracuse 34-28 while edging out the draw controls, 17-15. Parker led the Orange in scoring, finishing her SU career with two goals and two assists. Nicole Levy added another pair of goals and an assist, Jimerson had a pair of goals, and Riley Donahue chipped in a goal and an assist. Taylor Gait, Neena Merola and Mary Rahal all had a goal apiece and Emily Hawryschuk had an assist. Morgan Widner had nine draw controls.
Defense: Natalie Wallon had a pair of caused turnovers and three ground balls, Kelsey Youmell had a caused turnover and a pair of ground balls and Kaeli O'Connor finished her Orange career with a caused turnover. Goldstock had a rough day in goal with seven saves against 19 goals but had a caused turnover and four ground balls.
Key Factors: There were a couple of big factors that led to the loss. One was something that I've talked about incessantly — the inability to handle regular passes. Syracuse had 11 of their 15 turnovers in the first half and a number of them were unforced errant passes. These occurred on both ends of the field, and while I focused on Goldstock's mistake in the “Turning Point” section, that was only one of several that I noticed in the first half. A bunch of Eagle goals came directly off of Syracuse mistakes.
The second was the defense's overall inability to stop the strong Boston College attack. Eagle cutters had a field day just outside the goal and were able to find the net time and time again. These two things were the difference in the game in my opinion.
One other "factor" (and I hesitate to use this because it sounds like an excuse) that probably did help the Eagles was having that extra game on Friday. I had concerns that Boston College would easily handle Canisius in the opening round, and use the talent mismatch to get rid of the rust of not playing for a couple of weeks. This did show early in the first half as the Golden Griffons led 5-2 of that game.
However, the talent gap made itself felt throughout the game and Boston College went on cruise control the rest of the way. This is not to take away from the Eagles, who clearly came ready to play on Sunday. I do wonder, however, if Syracuse was a bit rusty from similar circumstances and trying to work out kinks while facing a top-15 opponent is daunting at best.