The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team earned a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and in doing so, they’ll have their best seeding since 2014 — when they were a 2-seed with an 18-2 record. As you may recall, that season ended pretty well. The Orange made it to the national title game before falling to top-seed Maryland by a score of 15-12.
It’s not as if SU has truly fallen off in the years since. They’ve been seeded four times between then and now — a 4-seed in 2015 and 2016, a 6-seed in 2017 and a 5 in 2019 — and two Final Fours in both 2015 and 2016. But you could argue the 2015 squad was really the team’s best shot at winning it all since that 2014 came up just short.
Until now, at least.
No one would claim that this Orange squad is better without injured stars Emily Hawryschuk or Megan Carney. However, they’ve certainly been resilient and have shown an ability to play various styles of games in the absence of arguably their two best players. Syracuse’s three losses this year are all understandable, with two against top-seed North Carolina and a one-goal loss to Boston College. They’ve also allowed fewer than 10 goals in four of their last six games (going 4-2 in the process).
Now, it’s going to be a stretch to potentially beat the Tar Heels come Memorial Day weekend — assuming Syracuse advances that far. But we’ll worry about that when the time comes. Perhaps UNC gets knocked off before we’d have to face them (the title game)? Or perhaps SU can continue to improve results against Carolina. They already narrowed an 11-goal margin in the first loss to just five in the second during the ACC Championship.
History would seem to be on Syracuse’s side to make the Final Four, since they’ve pulled it off every time they’ve had a top-four seed. And some times they haven’t been, too. Hopefully things break even better this time around. After a tough year, a championship (or at least a chance to play for one) would be a nice conclusion for this program and its players.