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No. 3 Syracuse women’s lacrosse avoids collapse, eeks out overtime victory over No. 17 Notre Dame, 17-16

The Orange narrowly avoided disaster thanks to a couple of clutch plays in OT.

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship Photo by Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

You know what the funniest part is? It wasn’t even Meaghan Tyrrell’s day for the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team.

It was younger sister Emma’s day. It was Emily Hawryschuk’s day. Meg Carney was having a day. Sam Swart was having her best day of the season.

But Meaghan Tyrell? Pretty pedestrian, by her standards.

And yet, when Syracuse emerged from their timeout after Katelyn Mashewske came away with the biggest draw control of the game at the start of overtime, it was Meaghan Tyrrell who got the first crack at making a run at goal.

And what a run it was. Meaghan drove her defender down the right alley, planted her foot near goal-line extended, and cut back to her left where she fired a low shot that just trickled in past Notre Dame goalie Bridget Deehan. Simple. Effective.

Meaghan threw her stick to the ground, threw both of her hands in the air, and jumped up and down like crazy as the No. 3 Syracuse Orange claimed overtime victory in their first road and ACC game of the season against No. 17 Notre Dame, 17-16.

It was a game in which Syracuse held the lead the whole way through, getting up by three, four and even five goals throughout. But the Orange were never able to build on or even sustain those leads, as the Irish took all game to claw their way back. They would bring the deficits down to one or two goals multiple times, but they weren’t able to tie it until 16 seconds remained in the fourth. For a second there, it felt a little like slow death for the Orange in the late fourth quarter. But it was all saved by a crucial draw control from Mashewske and a clutch finish from Tyrrell.

What a bizarre game this was. The referees seemed hell bent on stopping the action as many times as they possibly could, handing out free-position opportunities like they were going out of style. The teams combined to take 22 free positions. In total, I counted 15 of the 33 goals of the free-position variety. At one point late in the fourth, it felt like this was less of a lacrosse game and more of a whistle and free-position festival.

Despite all the stoppages, I felt the offense was in their best rhythm of the season in this game. There was a ton of great, crisp ball movement that led to some really nice transition goals. A handful of players had their best performances of the season, including Sam Swart and Emily Hawryschuk, who keeps getting better each week.

Defensively, SU did an improved job of not allowing as many open cutters in this game. However, that issue was replaced with the issue of all the fouls that were committed and all the free-positions that resulted from them. In total, Notre Dame scored nine of their 16 goals from free-positions. They also scored on 9-of-11 free-position opportunities, so they made the Orange pay for their mistakes. That’s just way too many opportunities to give away to a good team. Now, I personally felt that the refs were calling a little too much in this game, but the bottom line is that you simply cannot expect to commit this many fouls and come away with the win every time. That will need to be remedied, especially since our next opponent, Northwestern, is coming off a game in which they went 9-of-13 on free-positions.

While the glory went to Meaghan for her clutch overtime winner, little sister Emma Tyrrell was the star of this game. She came away with a career-high tying seven points, and that was just scratching the surface of her impact. Emma, who plays on the wing for draws, finished the game with an astounding, career-high nine draw controls for the team. I don’t know how many people reading this are college basketball fans, but I’m about to channel my inner Jon Rothstein and create a slogan for Emma’s game. Here we go:

“Emma Tyrrell: Draw Control Machine”

Not great, I know, but hey it’s my first slogan. For all the incredible talent that exists on this team, you could argue that Emma is actually the Orange’s most valuable player given the impact she makes on offense, defense and draw controls. She has her hand in everything, and the extra possessions she helps gain when she chases down loose balls are invaluable when your offense is as talented as SU’s.

So, Emma led the way with seven points (4G, 3A). Emily Hawryschuk continues to look better and better, this time scoring a season-high four goals. Meg Carney also had a four-point game (3G, 1A), while Meaghan Tyrrell (2G, 1A), Sam Swart (2G, 1A) and Sierra Cockerille (1G, 2A) all had three-point days.

The game see-sawed back-and-forth the whole way through. The first quarter belonged to the Orange, who held a 6-2 lead after the first frame. But it was the Irish who won the second, scoring six of their own to bring SU’s lead down to 10-8 at the half.

The third quarter was all Orange, who used a 4-1 run to take a 14-9 lead into the fourth, the biggest lead of the game. But the final 15 is where the Irish took over, outscoring the Orange 7-2 to send the game into overtime. 13 of ND’s 16 goals were scored in the second and fourth quarters.

Syracuse’s road trip continues this coming week, when the Orange head to Evanston to face No. 6 Northwestern on Tuesday, March 1 at 4 PM on Big Ten Network.