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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: NCAA Tournament quarterfinals vs. Northwestern

It’s the Orange and the Wildcats once again in May.

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

It’s quarterfinal day of the NCAA Tournament as the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team takes on the Northwestern Wildcats. Game time is set for 5 PM and will be televised on ESPN U.

‘Cuse defeated Fairfield and Princeton last weekend to advance to this round, while Northwestern beat Central Michigan and Michigan.

The Orange and the Wildcats have already met once this season, back on March 1, in a game that ended in heartbreak for SU. The Orange blew a three-goal lead with less than four minutes to play, and then lost the game on the first possession of overtime, 16-15.

Statistically speaking, there is a lot that needs to change the second time around for SU:

  1. In the first matchup, Northwestern won the draw control battle pretty easily, 21-14. Kate Mashewske only won one draw herself while NU specialist Jill Girardi won 13 herself. It got so bad that Emily Hawryschuk came in to take a few draws at one point. That’s a dominating day, and it needs to change this time around to make sure the Wildcats don’t hold a significant possession advantage.
  2. The Orange goalies combined for three saves and 16 goals against, a save percentage of .158. Obviously, that needs to go way up if SU is going to have success in this game. Kimber Hower will need to continue her strong play from last weekend against the best offense we’ve faced so far in this tournament.
  3. Meaghan Tyrrell was held to just one goal, her only non-multiple point scoring game of the season. She only attempted two shots as the Orange spread it around, and she’ll be an even bigger focal point of the Northwestern defense in this game. The offense has figured out ways to get Meaghan the ball late in this season with all the face-guarding against her, and they’ll need to do that again today.
  4. In the first game, Northwestern’s three leading scorers (Lauren Gilbert, Erin Coykendall, Jill Girardi) shot a combined 14-of-17. That’s over 80 percent. Obviously, that’s ridiculous and if it happens again, the Orange are in trouble.
  5. The first game between these two was extremely physical, as it often seems to be. But SU picked up four yellow cards and two green cards in that game alongside the bevy of fouls that were called. Two things the Orange really want to limit in this game are woman-up and free-position opportunities for the Wildcats, so they need to play physically while also being smart and disciplined about it.