Let’s face it guys, they’re just a bad first quarter team.
On Sunday afternoon, the Syracuse Orange women's lacrosse team overcame yet another slow start to defeat the Princeton Tigers, 13-9, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In a trend we’ve seen far too often this season (although “seen” is in quotes here because of the malfunctioning ESPN+ stream), the Orange got off to a terrible start in the first quarter before essentially dominating the Tigers in the final 45 minutes.
Princeton scored the first three goals of the game in less than five minutes and held SU scoreless for almost the entire first quarter. After the 3-0 Princeton start, the Orange would outscore the Tigers 13-6 the rest of the way.
How did they do it? By not turning it over on virtually every possession, for a start. After an eight-turnover first quarter, ‘Cuse would only turn it over seven times the whole rest of the game (and even a few of those were late after Princeton was doubling the ball).
Taking care of the ball allowed the Orange shooters to settle in and find a much better rhythm for themselves. After shooting only 1-of-5 (20 percent) in the first quarter, SU would shoot 12-of-27 (44 percent) the rest of the game.
One of the biggest factors in SU’s offense being able to control the pace of the game was the play of Kate Mashewske, who absolutely dominated the draw control circle. The Orange won draws 17-8, and Mashewske won 13 of the 17 to herself. She was a force in this game, and her play was massive in allowing SU to dictate tempo, keep the ball away from a talented Princeton offense, and take the pressure off the Orange defense.
1️⃣3️⃣ draw controls for Kate Mashewske today pic.twitter.com/ivPHGsGP3a— Syracuse Women's Lacrosse (@CuseWLAX) May 15, 2022
Speaking of, the defense was looking very vulnerable at times in the first half of this game. They looked to be a step or two behind the quickness of the Princeton dodgers, which was allowing for some easy looks at goal. If not for some huge saves early on from Kimber Hower, this game could have gotten out of hand before the Orange even had a chance to right the ship.
Hower finished with 11 saves and a .550 save percentage, but it was her play in the first half, making seven saves when Princeton was looking to take even bigger control, that helped keep SU in the game until they were able to fight off their slow start. Goalie play was seen as a significant weakness for Syracuse coming into this tournament, but Hower was awesome this weekend in making 18 saves and a .545 save percentage.
Meaghan Tyrrell and Olivia Adamson led the charge for the offense in this one. Meaghan scored five goals to lead the team, while Olivia added a hat trick as she continues her late-season breakout. Jenny Markey also had a strong game, finishing with two goals and one beautiful assist on a woman-up transition goal early in the fourth quarter. Emily Hawryschuk and Natalie Smith each had a goal and an assist, and Meg Carney had one goal.
The Orange now move on to the quarterfinal round of the tournament, where they’ll play the winner of Northwestern-Michigan this Thursday, May 19. It will be a road game if Northwestern wins, or a home game if Michigan pulls the upset. Either way, the game will be on ESPNU this Thursday.