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Syracuse women’s lacrosse advances to national title game with 21-13 win over Northwestern

A complete team performance gave the Orange an emphatic win over the previously-unbeaten Wildcats, and sends them into their third national championship game.

Syracuse Introduce John Wildhack As Director Of Athletics Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team is playing for a National Championship!

The women’s team will be making their third title game appearance thanks to an incredible 21-13 win over the No. 2-seeded Northwestern Wildcats in the NCAA semifinals down at Towson University on Friday afternoon.

For Syracuse and their fans, this was a performance to be savored in every phase of the game. We saw a complete team effort in this game as the Orange got up big in the first half and held on for a big time, eight-goal win. Aside from a mid-second-half lull that allowed the Wildcats to bring the game back to within three, SU was in control of this one all the way.

The offense showcased excellent ball movement and shooting abilities. The draw control unit played well, helping ‘Cuse to dominate possession in the first half as they built up their lead. The defense was simply phenomenal, getting their sticks in passing lanes, collapsing on ball carriers, and forcing turnovers to limit scoring opportunities.

And then there was Asa Goldstock. The graduate student goalie, playing in her first career Final Four game, came up large with a ton of difficult saves. None were bigger than her doorstop save with a little under seven minutes to go.

The Wildcats were in the midst of their biggest run of the game, scoring six of seven to bring the SU lead all the way down to 15-12. A Wildcat attacker beat her defender from behind the cage, came up above goal-line extended, and tried to throw one in over the top of Goldstock. Asa was having none of it, stonewalling the shot to preserve the three-goal lead and effectively end the Northwestern run.

The Orange would come right down and score, and never look back. Thanks to Asa’s save, instead of a two-goal game, it was a four-goal game. The team closed the game on a 6-1 run to sweep away Northwestern and propel themselves into the title game.

Meaghan Tyrrell (5G, 3A) had another fantastic performance, leading the team with eight points on five goals and three assists. Emma Ward (3G, 3A), Emma Tyrrell (3G, 2A), Jenny Markey (3G, 1A) and Sam Swart (3G) all had hat tricks in the high-scoring game, and Emily Ehle (2G, 3A) added a big game with five points.

Northwestern opened the scoring less than a minute in on a defensive lapse from SU, but the rest of the first half would belong to the Orange. ‘Cuse would go on two 5-0 runs separated by a single Wildcat goal to take a commanding 10-2 lead in the opening 25 minutes.

Meaghan Tyrrell scored the first two goals for the Orange before finding Sam Swart for a very nice end-of-shot-clock, quick-stick goal to put SU up 3-1.

Jenny Markey scored her first of a career-high three on an empty-netter as a result of Northwestern’s 12-woman ride that found their goalie way out of position when SU’s clear beat the ride, leading to a nice run-out goal.

After Emma Ward scored her first to make it 5-1 SU, Northwestern temporarily stopped the bleeding with a goal off a failed Orange clear attempt. But SU got right back in the scoring mood, going on a second five-goal run behind an onslaught of Orange underclass-women. Goals from Emma Tyrrell, Markey, Ward and Maddy Baxter gave ‘Cuse an eight-goal advantage with just over five minutes remaining in the half. Northwestern would tack on two before the break to make it a 10-4 score heading into halftime.

In the second half, the free-positions started to take over the scoreboard. A pair of Northwestern goals just over 10 minutes into the second half that made it 14-8 SU completed a stretch where eight of 11 goals in the game were scored off free-positions.

After Emma Ward completed her hat trick at the 18:54 mark of the second half, the Orange were up 15-8 and looking in great position to advance without much issue.

But then, the mistakes started to take over for SU. The Wildcats would score the next four goals to bring it within three as ‘Cuse went almost 13 minutes without a goal. During that time, it was turnover city for the Orange, who started to struggle with Northwestern’s pressure by having bad throw-aways that lead to goals.

By the time Asa made her doorstop save just under seven minutes left, feelings were very nervous for SU. But the Orange offense would take Goldstock’s gift and run with it. Meaghan Tyrrell ended the drought on a nice finish from Ella Simkins in transition, and Emily Ehle and Sam Swart added goals to produce a 3-0 run in 64 seconds that finally put the game out of reach.

Northwestern would score again, but three exclamation-mark goals put the icing on the cake of an emphatic 21-13 victory.

This really was one of the best all-around performances of the season for Syracuse. Things did get a little dicey there for about 12-15 minutes in the middle of the second half, but the team eventually found their composure, stopped the sloppy turnovers, and got back to putting the ball in the back of the net.

Northwestern’s Physicality

They also did a great job handling Northwestern’s physical play. I have a suspicion that it’s because they weren’t used to the athleticism that Syracuse brings to the table, but the Wildcats just could not stop committing fouls all game.

The yellow cards got out of control by the time we reached the second half, with the Orange having multiple opportunities on unreleasable fouls after NW picked up their fourth yellow card of the game.

At about the 7:30 mark of the first half, ESPN U put up a graphic showing that Northwestern averaged 19.7 fouls per game during the season. Just over 22 minutes into the game, they had already committed 20 fouls, surpassing their season average barely over a third of the way through the game.

No complaints from the Orange, who were more than happy to oblige the woman-up and free-position opportunities.

Streak Killers

Three NCAA tournament games. Three winning streaks ended.

After ending Loyola’s 12-game winning streak and Florida’s 15-game streak, the Orange put a stop to Northwestern’s undefeated season and their own 15-game winning streak.

Apparently, it’s not a real winning streak until you’ve played the Orange.

Up Next

National Title time, y’all!!!

The Orange advance to the national championship game to play No. 4 seeded Boston College Eagles for the FOURTH time this season.

Back in late April, the Orange and Eagles played each other three times in a nine-day span.

BC took the first game, 14-13, on a late goal in the game where Megan Carney was lost for the season. Two days later, the Orange ran the Eagles out of the Dome, winning 16-7 to even-up the weekend series.

The following weekend, the teams met again in the ACC semifinals in what was a spectacular game that Syracuse won, 19-17.

What on earth could we possibly get in the fourth meeting between these two teams? Who knows, but I have a feeling it’s going to be spectacular.

Be sure to tune in to the final game of the year, Sunday at 12 p.m. ET on ESPNU as Syracuse looks to bring home their first national championship in program history.

Until then, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, and Let’s Go Orange!!!