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Syracuse women’s lacrosse upset in ACC quarterfinals by Virginia, 18-14

It was a rough Friday night in South Bend.

Jack Wallace

It was a bad Friday night in South Bend for the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team.

In the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament, the No. 3 seed Orange were upset by the No. 6 seed Virginia Cavaliers, 18-14.

There are many reasons why SU lost this game. But at the end of the day, only one team came into this game needing to win it to keep their season going, and that’s the team that won. Virginia played and executed like a team that had to win the game, and ‘Cuse was unable to match their play for the full 60 minutes.

The Cavaliers were able to dictate the tempo of this game by slowing everything down when they had the ball to keep it away from SU’s offense. Additionally, their slow-tempo offense operated with incredible efficiency. The Cavs put 19 shots on cage in this game — 18 of them found the net. Kimber Hower made an early save in the first quarter, and that was it for the Orange goalies on the night. You’re just not going to win too many times when your goalies’ save percentage is 5 percent.

When the offense did get the ball, they were inconsistent. At times, they attacked quickly, smartly, and with precision to score some incisive, beautiful goals. But at the end of the night, they had 14 turnovers, taking away too many opportunities to match tallies with Virginia. And when you mix the lack of possession because of UVA’s ball control with giving it away too many times when ‘Cuse actually got it, that’s a messy combination for the Orange.

The game was a very tight affair until the midway point of the third quarter. The teams traded leads as neither team was ever up by more than two goals. But then, down 10-11, the Cavs reeled off five straight goals to take a 15-11 lead that the Orange would not get close to the rest of the way.

Coinciding with Virginia’s 5-0 run was a slew of yellow and green cards against SU that the Cavs took advantage of to help increase their lead. The Orange committed three yellow cards and one inexplicable green card during the UVA run.

I thought most of the calls were legit, but the green card against Natalie Smith was an insane moment. I don’t know if the refs followed the letter of the rule book on that one, but if they did, then there’s something wrong with the rule book.

Natalie had just been mugged running down the field by about four Virginia defenders, one of whom was given a yellow for her infraction. After the restart, she was converged on by two more defenders who made contact with her head and knocked the goggles off her head. When Natalie didn’t stop playing, the refs stopped the game and awarded her a green card because you’re not allowed to play without your goggles.

But you’re telling me that she got hit or swiped in the head hard enough to knock her goggles off, and you the referee didn’t call a foul even though she obviously got hit, and then you call a foul on Natalie because you didn’t do your job? And after all this, somehow Virginia has the ball? That’s insane. So, maybe the refs did apply the rule correctly. But there’s no way in the world that justice was served correctly on that play.

Did that moment lose SU the game? Not necessarily, although it was a 13-11 game at the time with the Orange about to clear for possession. Instead, Virginia came down and scored after another ‘Cuse yellow card. I mean, that definitely changes the script of this game. We’ll never know what would have happened. Alright, rant over.

The stars led the way for the Syracuse offense in this game. Meaghan Tyrrell, despite being face-guarded the entire game, notched an impressive six points (4G, 2A) while Emily Hawryschuk had five points (3G, 2A) and Megan Carney had four (3G, 1A). Olivia Adamson added three points (2G, 1A), and Sam Swart and Maddy Baxter had a goal each. Sarah Cooper had a strong effort on the night on draw controls, corralling 10 for the game to go with two ground balls and one caused turnovers.

Unfortunately for Syracuse, this is now their last game until the NCAA Tournament. The Orange won’t find out their path until next weekend’s selection show on Sunday, May 8.