Since Coach John Sung took over the Virginia Tech Hokies program in 2017, the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team has had dogfights with them the last several years. The Orange were 3-1 against the Hokies in those three years with all but one game decided by a single goal.
This year, Syracuse traveled down to North Carolina to face Virginia Tech as part of the Crown Lacrosse Classic for their ACC opener. Unlike the last three years, this game was never really in doubt as the no. 4/3 Orange (7-1, 1-0 ACC) took apart a no. 18/22 Hokie squad (7-2, 1-1 ACC) 18-8 on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams started out with very physical play, racking up a number of fouls and five cards (four yellow, one red) in the first 15 minutes of play. A Kayla Frank yellow card at the 27:32 mark of the first half led to the ‘Cuse’s first goal. Meaghan Tyrrell scored when Mary Rahal passed off on a man-up free position a minute after the card to give SU a 1-0 lead.
The Hokies returned the favor a couple of minutes later when Emily Hawryschuk was called for a yellow card. Sara Goodwin scored on a man-up opportunity for VT and the game was tied at one just five and a half minutes in.
Virginia Tech’s Kendall Welch was called for the game’s third yellow card at the 23:18 mark which led to another Orange extra man situation. Syracuse regained the lead 55 seconds later when Vanessa Costantino found the back of the net off of a Tyrrell pass to make it 2-1.
With both teams at even strength, the Orange added to their margin with goals by Sierra Cockerille and Megan Carney. Taylor Caskey answered on the other end for the Hokies and it was a 4-2 SU lead with 18:37 to play in the half.
Then the game unraveled a bit for Virginia Tech. Another yellow card by Jacelyn Lazore (VT’s third at that point) off the ensuing draw control did not lead to a Syracuse goal, but the Hokies were clearly getting frustrated. Virginia Tech took a big personnel hit when senior defender Mary Clare McCarthy was called for a red card at the 15:48 mark and had to leave the game as a result. This sparked a 5-1 run by the Orange over the next 15 minutes to give them a 9-3 advantage at the half. The Hokies never threatened after the break and the ‘Cuse had a running clock for all but 70 seconds in the last 10 minutes of the game.
- Shots: Syracuse 39, Virginia Tech 14
- Shots on Goal: Syracuse 28, Virginia Tech 13
- Turnovers: Virginia Tech 17, Syracuse 8
- Clears: Syracuse 16-16, Virginia Tech 12-12
- Ground Balls: Syracuse 24, Virginia Tech 11
- Draw Controls: Virginia Tech 14, Syracuse 13
- Free Positions: Virginia Tech 1-2, Syracuse 3-9
Hawryschuk (4 g, 3 a, 1 gb, 1 dc), M. Tyrrell (4 g, 1 a, 1 gb), Carney (3 g, 1 gb, 1 ct), Sam Swart (2 g, 2 a, 2 gb, 1 ct), Cara Quimby (2 g), Costantino (1 g, 2 a, 1 gb), Cockerille & Bianca Chevarie (1 g, 1 a each), Rahal (1 a, 3 gb, 1 ct), Sarah Cooper (2 gb, 4 ct), Ella Simkins (3 gb, 2 ct), Emma Tyrrell (2 gb), Kerry Defliese (1 gb, 1 ct), Allyson Trice (1 ct), Katelyn Mashewske (4 dc), Grace Fahey (3 dc), Braelie Kempney (1 dc), Asa Goldstock (7 gb, 1 ct, 5 saves)
With her last goal, Emily Hawryschuk has tied her career high with her 7th point of the day. She has moved into sixth place on Syracuse's all-time scoring list today (249 pts) . pic.twitter.com/i0UjFzcoNL— Syracuse Women's Lax (@CuseWLAX) March 8, 2020
This game was not on video, so the information was taken entirely from the live stats. However, there are some conclusions that can be reached regardless. First of all, this is the first time this year that Syracuse has put a significant opponent away. While it is true that Virginia Tech is not Stony Brook, Northwestern or Maryland, it is a decent team and the Orange have had problems with this squad for several years.
While I hesitate to call it a turning point, the red card on McCarthy halfway into the first half was significant. It took out an experienced defender at a time when the Hokies could ill afford to lose anyone. McCarthy shared the lead in caused turnovers and was 4th in ground balls (and there isn’t much difference between 1st and 4th). The Orange were already starting to break the game open and the red card was the culmination of four total (including three yellow cards) in the first 15 minutes of the contest. It was enough of a problem that Coach Sung had to use a timeout to settle his team down after Hawryschuk scored off of the red card. While the cards for Virginia Tech did drop off (they would have only one more yellow card the rest of the way), they were still rattled enough that the Orange were able to finish the half on a 5-1 run and put the game away.
The offense and defense clicked in this game. While the latter limited Hokie shots and caused a bunch of turnovers (17), the former scored at a steady rate and took advantage of the Hokie cards by scoring five goals off of them. The Orange were relentless with ground balls with a 2-1 advantage for the game (24-11). If there was an issue, it was probably the inability to finish on free position shots. Syracuse went 3-9 and they definitely need to do better in this department. However, there were several situations where the ‘Cuse players elected to pass off of free positions for scores, so the ratio is probably more favorable overall.
The Orange will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia for another ACC road matchup against no. 10/12 Virginia Cavaliers (5-3, 0-2 ACC) on Thursday night. The Cavaliers are looking for their first ACC win of 2020, having lost to North Carolina and Duke. Game time is at 7pm and will be on the ACC Network.