Saturday morning got off to an absolutely brutal start for the Syracuse Orange women's lacrosse team when the public got their first look at star attack Emily Hawryschuk entering the Carrier Dome on crutches.
Thankfully, that was the first and last thing that went wrong all day.
For the second time in two games this season, Syracuse blew out a Top-5 opponent. Today, they avenged 2020’s only loss to the Stony Brook Seawolves, dispatching them by a score of 16-6.
The Orange showed off their incredible depth of talent, playing without their best player and yet never really being challenged by the No. 5 ranked team in the country.
The offense was led on the day by attack Megan Carney, who scored five goals, all in the first half, and added an assist for six points. Carney’s five goals tied a career high.
Carney was joined by a pair of four-goal performances from midfielders Sam Swart (tied career high) and Sierra Cockerille (new career high), fellow attack Meaghan Tyrrell’s two goals and two assists, and a three-assist day from freshman Emma Ward.
But the real leader of the offense today was the concept of teamwork. Syracuse’s passing and off-ball movement were glorious as they carved up Stony Brook’s defense. In fact, of the 12 first half goals for SU, nine of them were assisted. It was an absolute clinic in team-oriented offense. Once the ball got moving, it didn’t stop until it found the back of the net.
Oh, and it was also a shooting clinic, as the Orange finished the day 16-27 (59.3 percent). Insane.
Stony Brook was actually able to keep it close early, as SU held a slim 3-2 advantage through the game’s first 18 minutes.
But that’s where things took off for the Orange offense. Cockerille scored off a free position at the 11:40 mark of the first half, which kick started a 6-0 run over the next five-and-a-half game minutes.
Graduate student Morgan Alexander closed that run with her first goal of the season off an assist from freshman Maddy Baxter. Alexander’s relentless spirit and drive in the face of five different knee surgeries over the course of her career make her one of the easiest athletes on SU’s campus to root for. It was awesome to see her get back on the scoresheet today, and just as awesome to see her teammates’ reactions when she did.
After a Stony Brook goal to stop the bleeding, the Orange extended their run with three more goals to close the half on a 9-1 blitz. Over the course of that time, SU brought their lead from 3-2 all the way to a 12-3 halftime score that Stony Brook never got close to recovering from.
How could they? After all, they were going against arguably the best defense in the country. Led by an MVP-type performance from graduate student goalie Asa Goldstock, the defense gave up only six goals for the second consecutive game.
Men’s and women’s basketball don’t run the only zones on the Hill, and the women’s lacrosse team might just own the patent on it these days with the way they play it. They’re intimidating and suffocating, and just downright harassing as they force turnover after turnover.
In their first game, Loyola had more turnovers (15) than total shots (14). The SU defense didn’t quite reach that lofty mark today, but they still did a great job forcing 14 turnovers and giving up just 19 shots. In two games, ‘Cuse opponents have twice as many turnovers (29) as goals (12). The absurdity of those numbers is so ridiculous it’s actually a little hard to wrap your mind around.
The defense also completely shut down Stony Brook star Ally Kennedy. Kennedy is one of the best players in the country, and came into today averaging four points per game. Last year against SU, she scored seven points in the Seawolves’ victory. Today, the Orange held her completely pointless.
Goldstock had a phenomenal day, reminding fans of just how important she is to this team. Given what we saw the offense do today without Hawryschuk, there’s a very convincing argument to make that Goldstock is the most valuable member of this lineup. She brings experience, poise, and leadership to one of the strongest units in all of women’s lacrosse.
She finished the day with 11 saves while only surrendering the six goals, a 64.7 percent save percentage. She was also a wizard in the clearing game, showing off on multiple long passes, at one point going behind-the-back on a clearing pass that traveled over 20 yards.
Many of her saves came up-close on free position re-starts, and her efforts are the reason the Seawolves went 0-4 on free position chances on the day. She turned away great scoring opportunities early in the game for the Seawolves when the game was still close. She doesn’t do that, and we may be looking at a different game script.
The only damper on an otherwise excellent day for Orange women’s lacrosse was the reveal of Hawryschuk’s injury. All we know for sure right now is that it’s a lower-body injury that she apparently picked up yesterday in practice, and the fact that she was on crutches today.
It’s obviously extremely concerning, considering that she’s one of the best players in the entire country. She’s so impactful for the offense to the point where she changes the way a defense has to game plan. She’s also Syracuse’s best draw control taker.
It also just generally sucks for Emily, who was on the verge of re-writing large portions of the Syracuse record books in her graduate student season.
If this does end up being a serious injury for Emily, we can at least be comforted by the performances of those who stepped up in her absence. The offense showed that it can still run rampant even without her, and the group that stepped up on draw controls had a great day, going 16-24 to help spur the big first half run that put the game out of reach.
The Orange ladies will be back in action next weekend down in Durham to take on their third straight top-10 opponent, the No. 8 Duke Blue Devils. The game is Saturday, March 6 at 1 PM. We don’t know yet, but the game will probably be on ACC Network Extra.
After what we’ve seen the first two weeks, I can’t wait to see what happens next for the ladies in Orange.