The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse 2018 schedule has been released and it looks to be a doozy. 12 of the 17 opponents for this year are in Inside Lacrosse Women’s preseason top 25. While the Orange came in at No.9 in that poll they will play 10 of these games against ranked opponents away from the Dome this year.
Here’s the schedule along with how each team fared in 2017:
- Friday, February 9, UConn - finished 8-8 last year
- Sunday, February 18, at Oregon - finished 9-8 last year
- Thursday, February 22, Albany - no. 18 in Inside Lacrosse Women (ILW) preseason poll, finished 12-6 last year, lost in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament
- Sunday, March 4, at Virginia (ACC) - no. 13 in ILW poll, finished 12-9 last year, lost in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament
- Wednesday, March 7, Florida - no. 5 in ILW poll, finished 17-3 last year, lost in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament
- Sunday, March 11, Maryland - no. 1 in ILW poll, finished 23-0 last year, National Champs
- Friday, March 16, vs. Harvard (neutral site, most likely in Florida), finished 8-8 last year
- Tuesday, March 20, at Cornell - no. 14 in ILW poll, finished 13-6 last year, lost in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament
- Saturday, March 24, at Notre Dame (ACC) - no. 16 in ILW poll, finished 11-8 last year, lost in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament
- Monday, March 26, at Northwestern - no. 10 in ILW poll, finished 11-10 last year, lost in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament
- Thursday, March 29, at Princeton - no. 11 in ILW poll, finished 15-4 last year, lost in the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament
- Saturday, March 31, Duke (ACC) - no. 21 in ILW poll, finished 8-9 last year
- Thursday, April 5, at Loyola - no. 23 in ILW poll, finished 11-8 last year
- Saturday, April 7, at Virginia Tech (ACC), finished 11-8 last year
- Saturday, April 14, North Carolina (ACC) - no. 3 in ILW poll, finished 17-3 last year, lost in the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament
- Thursday, April 19, at Boston College (ACC) - no. 4 in ILW poll, finished 17-7 last year, National Runner-up
- Sunday, April 22, Louisville (ACC), finished 11-8 last year, lost in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Orange finished 15-7 last year, getting a smackdown from eventual National runner-up Boston College Eagles in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament. It was a young team which lost two major offensive threats in Kayla Treanor and Halle Majorana the previous year.
With very few people lost to graduation, Syracuse looks to make a return trip to Memorial Day weekend. The biggest losses from last year’s team were attacker Devon Parker, who was 4th on the team with points (29 goals, 12 assists) and defender Kaeli O’Connor (40 ground balls, 15 caused turnovers, 19 draw controls).
SU certainly has the talent to do this. Inside Lacrosse Women (ILW) rated the Orange attack and midfield at 4th and 5th in the country respectively and it’s easy to see why. No less than six Syracuse players scored at least 25 goals last year. In addition, they’ll be joined by three ILW top 50 recruits in midfielder Samantha Swart (no.4 top midfielder and 7th overall), attacker Molly Carter (21st overall) and McKenzie Harris (50th).
As strong as the offense is, the defense will be a young outfit anchored by senior Mia DiBello and junior Alexa Radziewicz. They will also bring back draw control specialist Morgan Widner who was 7th in the NCAA last year with 7.09 a game (156 total). In goal, sophomore Asa Goldstock could be sharing playing time with incoming freshman Hannah Van Middelem, who was ranked as the top goalie recruit by ILW and 10th overall.
Key games: As the schedule shows, most of the games will be tough, but there are several contests that will be critical. Non-conference-wise, the two most obvious ones are the back to back Florida and Maryland contests on March 7th and 11th. Both of these teams should be in the top five at that point in the season and the Orange really need to at least split them to stay up in the rankings. Given that both of these games are at home this year and SU is a bit more experienced than last year, I think they can do this.
As far as the ACC goes, virtually every game could be dogfight for Syracuse. North Carolina and Boston College (also back to back games on April 14 and 19) are definitely the biggest as they and the Orange will probably be vying for the top conference spot at the end of April. North Carolina will be a home game while BC is away. SU cannot overlook Virginia, Duke, Virginia Tech or Notre Dame either. The easiest ACC game will probably be Louisville, which had some internal problems in the offseason with several major players leaving for other schools as a result.
Offensively, this team is going to be very strong and they should be really fun to watch with all of the talent on that end. With perhaps a dozen offensive threats, this team will cause many opponents all kinds of headaches. Look for a lot of up-tempo transition scoring opportunities this year. The question is whether the defense will be able to hold up against some of the higher ranked teams, although they should be solid. Goldstock had a decent season with a save percentage of about 41%, which was 65th out of 97 teams last year (for contrast, the best save percentage was around 55% and to be fair, only nine of those ahead of her were freshman). Look for an improved performance from her this year and as well as significant playing time for the freshman Van Middelem. This is a team that will eclipse last year’s 15 win performance.