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No. 4 Syracuse women’s lacrosse drops regular season finale in 15-13 thriller to No. 3 Boston College

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A top-5, Friday night clash lived up to hype with a game that was high on drama and excitement, but also on disappointment for the Orange.

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

As the third quarter bled into the fourth on Friday night in Chestnut Hill, it looked like we were in for an almost-exact carbon-copy of last year’s national championship game.

A tight first half, followed by a second half in which Boston College wore down a depleted Syracuse roster for a relatively comfortable win. Jenny Markey even picked up a second yellow card and got ejected to mimic Emma Tyrrell doing the same last year.

The Orange, however, refused to let that be the story of this game.

While the No. 4 Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team ultimately lost an exciting, back-and-forth game of runs on Friday to the No. 3 Boston College Eagles, 15-13, they did so in a manner that belied what we thought midway through the second half.

When Belle Smith scored in the first minute of the fourth quarter, she put BC up 13-8. It looked like the Orange were on their way to losing by at least five, if not more.

But if our women’s lacrosse team hasn’t taught you not to doubt their fight and their heart by this point, I don’t think they ever will.

The Orange went on an amazing 4-0 run in less than three minutes to put themselves right back in the mix, but ultimately fell just short of what would have been an incredible comeback and win.

What we come away with from this loss (as well as the UNC loss), though, is a renewed sense of optimism that this team has the chops to compete with the best in the country, even in their injury-depleted state.

For SU, this game will be defined by their effort, but also by the missed opportunities in every phase of the game on which they failed to capitalize. At the end of the night, they simply had too many mistakes and too many missed chances to win against a BC team that’s this talented.

Let’s take a look at each phase and how it played out in this one:

Draw Controls

In the draw game, Kate Mashewske and the team had a terrible first three quarters, and one great fourth. BC was winning draws 15-7 entering the fourth, before Kate finally figured something out and helped the Orange to an 8-1 advantage in the final quarter that helped them make one final run at the win. It was an amazing turnaround, but the first three quarters were a disaster, which included three crushing turnovers from Kate herself directly off draw wins, that allowed BC to dictate the tempo of the game.

Defense

Defensively, it was really the abundance of fouls that killed the Orange. Whether it was shooting-space, three-second, or plain old fashioned physical fouls, SU racked them up early and often, helping out a BC offense that already had a big possession advantage. I never saw a final number on the foul total, but I know at one point that ‘Cuse had committed 21 fouls to only seven for the Eagles.

Playing zone in the first half with Bianca Chevarie, who I thought played very well, face-guarding Charlotte North, the Orange were seemingly getting called for a three-second defensive violation on every possession for a while there as the first half went on. They switched it up to more man coverage in the second half.

In total, I thought the defense played pretty well, especially considering how much possession BC had combined with all the free-position chances they were getting. If they’re going to be playing any zone moving forward, they need to figure out the issues with the three-seconds, and closing out shooters on shooting-space violations. But, overall, not a bad effort against a stacked BC offense.

Offense

Offensively, I thought it was an uneven performance that left a lot of missed opportunities out on the field. They shot well as a team (13-of-25, 52 percent), but turned it over 13 times.

I also thought the way they attacked was inconsistent with what seemed to be working pretty well at times. For example, Meaghan Tyrrell scored just two minutes into the game on a nice iso play in which the rest of the team cleared out and allowed Meaghan to dodge down the right alley, switching hands twice as she dodged, and scoring past Rachel Hall with a nice finish.

Tyrrell, who shot a perfect 4-of-4 on the game, didn't take another shot until there were three minutes remaining in the half. I’m not saying that you should try to force it with Meaghan every time, of course, but why did we go through such a long period of time where she wasn’t getting looks in the iso or any form. After her first goal two minutes in, she only took one shot for essentially the next 45 minutes of the game. Then, she scored twice more when the Orange were making their run in the fourth.

I know that BC was keeping a tight watch on Meaghan with Sydney Scales, but I thought we could have done more to keep her more consistently involved. She is our best offensive weapon, after all.

Despite the long stretches of inactivity, Meaghan led the scoring for SU with five points on an assist to add to her perfect 4-of-4 shooting day. Emily Hawryschuk scored four goals, and the trio of Sam Swart, a returning-to-action Meg Carney, and Natalie Smith all had two points on a goal and an assist each. Jenny Markey and Olivia Adamson each added one goal.

Kate Mashewske finished with 11 draw controls thanks to her great fourth quarter, but had three bad turnovers earlier in the game that cost the Orange dearly. Kimber Hower only had five saves, but a handful of them were great and clutch to help keep SU close when they needed to be.

The Orange will be off for a week before they return to action next Friday, April 29 for the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament, the first week of which will be taking place in South Bend. ‘Cuse will be the three-seed, but we won’t know who their opponent will be until this weekend’s games have concluded.