The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team kept the good times rolling on Thursday night as they beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 18-14, in the front end of a back-to-back series that will conclude on Sunday afternoon.
Tallying their third win over a Top-5 opponent in four games, the Orange are now 4-0 and off to their best start to a season since winning their first five games in 2017.
W from the Dome.— Syracuse Women's Lax (@CuseWLAX) March 12, 2021
Back in action against Notre Dame on Sunday at 12 PM! pic.twitter.com/CE2Whw4hPj
If we’re being honest, the final score was not indicative of the level of control the Orange exerted in this one. Not only did Syracuse never trail, but after opening the game on a 4-0 run in the first six minutes, Notre Dame never got closer than three goals the rest of the night.
So, yeah, that’s pretty, pretty, pretty good.
It was not a flawless performance from the Orange. 20 turnovers. Nine free-position shots given up. Three yellow cards. All of it helped contribute to a season-high (by far) 14 goals against.
Despite all that, the team still put up 18 on the scoreboard. They still shot a phenomenal 18-of-30 (60 percent). They dominated draw controls, winning 21-of-34 (61.8 percent), led by sophomore Katelyn Mashewke’s career-high 12.
The offense was led by a career-night from junior midfielder Sierra Cockerille, who scored five goals and seven points (both career-highs). Juniors Meaghan Tyrrell (3G, 2A) and Megan Carney (2G, 3A) each added big days with five points, and freshman Emma Ward had her second straight game with at least a hat trick. Sophomore Emma Tyrrell (1G, 2A) and senior Sam Swart (2G) rounded out the group of players who had multiple points on the night.
: Highlights from tonight's win over Notre Dame ✴️ pic.twitter.com/0MCT5AS8he— Syracuse Women's Lax (@CuseWLAX) March 12, 2021
The Orange wasted no time asserting themselves, starting the game on a 4-0 run in the opening six minutes on goals from Ward (2), Cockerille, and Carney.
After that powerful start, the rest of the half leveled out as the teams played even ball (6-6) the rest of the way to arrive at a halftime score of 10-6 SU.
Cockerille paced the offense in the first half, securing her career high with four goals in the opening frame before adding to it with an additional goal in the second half.
As a unit, the offense was as hot as hot can be as they scored goals on their first six shots on cage. By the time All-American goalie Bridget Deehan actually made a save, her Irish were already in a four-goal hole that they would never climb out of.
The weave-style offense that the Orange like to employ is truly a thing of motion-oriented beauty when it’s working correctly. SU scored a few goals in the first half directly off perfectly curled runs at the “top-of-the-key” that ended with a ‘Cuse dodger beating her defender before beating Deehan for a goal.
At one point, the shots were tied at nine each, but SU held a 7-2 lead on the scoreboard simply because their shooters could not miss. The 10 goals ‘Cuse had at the break was actually twice as much as Notre Dame had allowed in a full game this season.
The second half was one big promotion for the concept of lacrosse as a “game of runs”.
Much like the first half, the Orange were shot out of a cannon as they scored the first five goals post-halftime, all of which were assisted. Among that run, Sam Swart got her first of the day on a surgical cut through the middle of the Irish D, scoring on the end of a beautiful feed from Meaghan Tyrrell. After a connection between the Tyrrell sisters, sophomore Bianca Chevarie scored her first goal of the season on a feed from freshman Jenny Markey, who registered the first point of her career.
Down 15-6, Notre Dame shot back with a 5-0 run of their own as the Orange went scoreless for almost 18 minutes.
The ladies showed how dangerous they can be, though, as they immediately followed that drought up by scoring three straight goals in 50 seconds, headlined by a free-position rip off the stick of Emma Ward.
That mini-run brought the margin to 18-11 SU, a pretty dominating score that the Irish chipped away at in the final 95 seconds to reach the final score.
When the final horn sounded as the fourth quarter clock hit triple zeros, there was a very subdued celebration as the team jogged down to the far goal to surround graduate student goalie Asa Goldstock. When the camera closed-up on Goldstock, she actually kind of looked upset about what had just happened.
Maybe she was upset about the late, three-goal run to end the game. Maybe she was upset about letting in 14 goals when the defense gave up only 17 in the first three games combined. Or maybe I just misread the look on her face.
For most teams, a four goal victory over the No. 4 team in the country would be cause for a field-storming celebration. But Syracuse women’s lacrosse is not anywhere close to most teams, and that’s exactly the point.
They had a chance to put away Notre Dame, and they could never quite do it. And that’s credit to Notre Dame. They’re legitimately one of the best teams in the country, and a team like that isn’t going to just go away and let itself get buried, no matter how good SU is.
The Orange and Irish will complete their back-to-back series this Sunday, March 14 at 12 PM on ACC Network.
It’s going to be a fascinating situation to see these two teams who just played a fast-paced, hard-fought game against each other, line up for another 60 minutes just three days later.
It’s a completely unique opportunity in lacrosse as playing the same team twice in the same weekend is basically never done at this level, so the chess game of strategy and coaching maneuvers will be a huge storyline going into Sunday.
So tune in on Sunday at Noon on ACC Network to watch perhaps the most fun team on Syracuse’s campus, and Let’s Go Orange!!