Now that lacrosse season is officially underway, single-digit temperatures and snow be damned, it’s time to turn our attention to the women’s side, which gets underway this week.
The Syracuse Orange women start their season inside the JMA Dome with a huge game against the team that blasted them out of last year’s NCAA quarterfinals, the Northwestern Wildcats, at high noon this Saturday.
There are so many positive feelings and high hopes around this program, which returns so much talent all over the field. Nowhere are those feelings higher than with the Orange’s attack unit, which is quite possibly the best in the entire country.
Projected starters (assuming health): Meaghan Tyrrell, Megan Carney, Emma Ward, Olivia Adamson
Other candidates: Gracie Britton, Payton Rowley, Abigail Lagos (stay tuned for more)
There’s just no way around the simple fact that, if everyone’s healthy, ‘Cuse will be starting four All-American caliber players on their attack. The Megs were both named preseason All-Americans by Inside Lacrosse last Friday, and Meaghan has been named the Division I preseason player of the year by multiple publications.
More honors for the . Meet your @ILWomen Preseason All-Americans.— Syracuse Women's Lacrosse (@CuseWLAX) February 3, 2023
Meaghan Tyrrell - First Team
Emma Tyrrell - Second Team
Kate Mashewske - Third Team
Megan Carney - Honorable Mention
Katie Goodale - Honorable Mention
Details ➡️ https://t.co/rZzq0NX28i pic.twitter.com/YrYGcm8z1N
Emma was named a preseason AA by USA Lacrosse Magazine a few weeks ago, and while Olivia has yet to garner that recognition, she demonstrated that she absolutely has that ability last season after so many of her teammates suffered injuries.
If all four are full healthy, I think you’re looking at the strongest attack unit in the country that opposing teams will get headaches over figuring out how to defend. It’s not just that they have all the individual skills to be great, but the chemistry they’ve developed after years together. The Megs are now in their fifth year as teammates, while Emma’s in her third and Olivia her second. That time and experience together will be invaluable as the Orange try to put together a special season.
Meaghan Tyrrell — Graduate Student, No. 18
One of the best players in the country, if not the best. The people who put together preseason awards certainly put her right at the top.
There’s no skill she doesn’t have and no matchup she can’t win. Last season, when she was guarded by UNC’s Emma Trenchard, a defender who’s so good that she started for Team USA at the World Championships, Meaghan scored six points. When she was matched up with BC’s All-American, Sydney Scales, she scored five points and shot 4-of-4. Her efficiency is through the roof, shooting an inhuman 60 percent in 2022.
Last season, she scored at least four points in 16 of SU’s 21 games. She scored at least six points in 11 of those games, more than half the season. In the last two years, she’s scored 223 total points, and her 308 career points put her 88 shy of Katie Rowan’s school record.
I think we may be seeing the face-guard treatment a lot more in 2023 for Meaghan.
Megan Carney — Graduate Student, No. 22
The injury bug has unfortunately been the story for Meg ever since her season-ending knee injury against BC late in the 2021 season.
She got off to a great start last year before getting re-injured in the Temple game on March 26. It didn’t end her season, but she was in and out of the lineup after that and was never quite herself again for the rest of the year.
Let me throw some eye-catching numbers at you. In the first nine games of the season, Meg averaged 4.1 points per game. After the injury, she played in seven of the final 12 games and only averaged 1.6 points per game, including four games in which she scored one or zero points.
I think it’s safe to say that the second half of last year wasn’t the real Meg Carney, so hopefully the offseason has given her a chance to get back to full health or as close to it as she can get. If so, the Megs will be back to being one of the best duos in the country.
Emma Ward — Redshirt Sophomore, No. 44
Speaking of getting back to being herself, Emma Ward will return to the lineup after missing the entire 2022 season with a foot injury.
She burst onto the scene as a freshman, scoring 73 points (43G, 30A) and averaging 3.5 points per game. She was a consistent threat, scoring at least three points in 17 of 21 games. Finally, she proved that she didn’t shy away from the big moments, upping her average to 4.75 points per game in the NCAA Tournament, including a six-goal performance against Florida to help propel SU into the Final Four.
She’s got a rocket of a shot, providing a different kind of scoring threat that makes this offense that much more dangerous.
Olivia Adamson — Sophomore, No. 1
Olivia had a very impressive freshman season in which she scored 31 goals and 40 points, and her season really took off after Emma Tyrrell’s season-ending injury.
At that point, the Orange were without Emma Ward, Emma Tyrrell, Sierra Cockerille, and had a beat-up Meg Carney, so they were desperately in need of someone to step up. And that someone became Olivia. Here are the splits on Olivia’s season before and after Emma’s injury:
- Before Emma Tyrrell’s injury: 12 games, 12 points, 1 point per game, .500 shot percentage
- After Emma Tyrrell’s injury: 9 games, 28 points, 3.1 points per game, .553 shot percentage
She really did her part to help the team in the wake of so many significant injuries, and in doing so showed what she’s capable of when given the chance. To be honest, I thought she was deserving of more playing time long before Emma’s injury. It’s going to be fun to see what she can do when defenses have to spend so much time worrying about her line-mates.
The quality of this attack goes well beyond the starting lineup, as the bench sees a number of players who bring plenty to the table in their own right:
Gracie Britton — Freshman, No. 19
Gracie Britton comes in as the highest ranked Orange freshman in this year’s class, No. 38 overall in the IL rankings. A two-time All-American from nearby CBA, Gracie figures to contribute in some way even though she’s coming into an offense already stacked with talent and experience.
Whether it’s giving one of the veterans a few possessions off or perhaps taking some run at midfield, Gracie should see the field in some form and will likely be productive when she does.
By the way, if you’re wondering what her game looks like...she can do this:
Payton Rowley — Sophomore, No. 6
A second-year player who played mostly in blowouts last year, Payton appeared in seven games and showed a feel for the back of the net by scoring six goals.
She’s definitely one of the primary names to look out for should anyone miss any time or even to give some of the starters a rest for a few possessions in the middle of a game.
Abigail Lagos — Graduate Student, No. 27
Without question, one of the most intriguing players on this year’s team is Abigail Lagos, a graduate student transfer from the University of Indianapolis, a Division II school. Here’s a little background on her:
Abigail committed to SU late last summer for what will be her seventh year of college lacrosse after graduating as UIndy’s all-time leading scorer with 287 points. Last season, she was named the Division II Player of the Year while leading UIndy to a national title. She finished the season with 118 points on 93 goals and 25 assists.
I mean, as if this offense didn’t already have enough weapons, we have a 118 point scorer drop out of the sky and onto the ‘Cuse roster? I know she’s taking the step up to DI, but come on. Those numbers are nothing to thumb your nose at; I don’t care where you put them up.
Interestingly, Abigail doesn’t have a position listed on the roster, but she did play attack at UIndy. One way or another, you’ve got to figure Kayla will find a way to get No. 27 on the field some this season. I mean, we don’t want to leave 118 points on the bench, do we?
Rounding out the attack for the Orange are sophomore Shira Parower (No. 23), freshman Ryann Banks (No. 3), and freshman Meghan Rode (No. 28).
Now, how about a couple of fun facts as a reward for those of you who are somehow still reading this almost 1500 words in:
- Ryann is the daughter of Syracuse legend and two-time All-American Liam Banks (‘99-’03), hence the No. 3
- Meghan Rode makes it three Megs on the team, all of whom spell their name differently: Meaghan, Megan, and Meghan
Don’t you just love fun facts?