At the end of a week of positional previews for the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team, we’ve finally wound our way around to the draw and goalie positions.
On Monday, we took a look at the attack. On Tuesday, we covered the midfield. On Wednesday, we did defense.
And now, we’re closing out our look into the 2023 roster with the specialists. Let’s start with the draw takers.
Projected starter: Kate Mashewske
Other candidates: Lauren Call, ?
Projected wings: Emma Tyrrell, Sierra Cockerille, Jenny Markey, Natalie Smith
We know that draws is a big strength of this team thanks to the presence of Kate Mashewske and her wingers.
Having Emma Tyrrell back to scoop up draw wins is a huge boost to helping this team gain even more possessions, and the same goes for Sierra Cockerille. The likes of Jenny Markey and Natalie Smith provide good depth on draws to help keep fresh legs for everyone.
If there’s a question in the draw circle for this team, it’s about a potential backup for Kate should we need one. Kate started every game last season and took the vast majority of draws. My question is, should this team need someone else to take draws at any point, who might that player be?
The only other player on the roster listed with ‘draw’ as part of their position is backup defender Lauren Call (No. 77), who has played sparingly so far in her SU career. Lauren has yet to secure a draw control in her career, so I’m assuming that, especially if Kate were to miss any time, Kayla would turn to someone else to take draws based solely on their athleticism and play-making ability.
Who that is remains a question, and I hope a question that never needs to be answered.
Kate Mashewske — Senior, No. 8
Kate is one of the best draw takers in the entire country, and is coming off a phenomenal season in which she took almost every draw the entire year and was named a Second Team All-American by multiple publications. Last week, Inside Lacrosse named her a preseason Third Team AA.
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
She finished the season with 178 draw controls, the third-most by a Syracuse player in a single season in program history. She also showed vast improvement throughout the season, as well. Only once in the season’s first eight games did she reach double-digit draws in a game. However, in the season’s final 13 games, she reached double-digits eight times.
Her 273 career draw controls already have her in second place on the all-time SU list, 166 draws behind Kailah Kempney’s school record of 439.
If she can have a season similar to the one she had last year, then she will continue to be one of the most important players on this roster for her ability to get as many possessions as possible to this elite offense and help take pressure off the defense. Which, of course, includes the person who stands between the pipes...
Projected starter: Kimber Hower
Other candidates: Delaney Sweitzer, Tate Paulson, Daniella Guyette
So, it’s no secret that the goalie situation was not good last year. It was the clear weakness of a team whose only other flaw was being injury-prone.
It was kind of a mess right from the start, when Kayla took two transfer goalies who hadn’t played consistent starter’s minutes in a long time and split the game in half for both of them, thereby continuing to deprive both of them of the consistent minutes they needed to re-acclimate to being starters. In other words, she needed to make a decision on a starter and go with it, but instead, she went with the two-goalie approach for the first five games of the season.
By the time she decided to go to Kimber Hower on a full-time basis in the sixth game, she was already way behind the eight ball in terms of playing time, with an inexperienced defense in front of her in the middle of an incredibly difficult schedule (Her first three starts were against Duke, Virginia, and Florida). Not exactly an ideal situation for your goalie who hadn’t been a starter since high school to step into.
That’s why I’m much more optimistic about the defense and goalie situations heading into this year. Assuming that Kayla’s going to go with Hower right out of the gate, it’ll give Kimber the chance to start with a clean slate from game number one, and with a much more experienced defense at her disposal.
Putting her in a better defined situation will simply give her a better chance to be successful, and since the goalie position was the obvious weakness of last year’s team, that’s a pretty important thing for this team to do.
Kimber Hower — Redshirt Senior, No. 11
The numbers weren’t good for Hower last season, there’s no question about it. She appeared in every game and started the final 16, finishing the season with a .373 save percentage and a 11.72 goals against average.
At times, she showed the potential of what could be, but her season was defined by inconsistency. Against Loyola, she made 12 saves in a critical performance that helped preserve a one-goal win for the Orange. In the Florida game, she was benched less than 20 minutes in after giving up seven goals and making only one save. Against UNC and BC, she only made 10 combined saves while giving up 29 goals. In the first two games of the NCAA Tournament, she made 18 saves against only 15 goals against.
It was a real roller coaster ride, but I think the talent is there if she can be put in a better situation this year. Put her in goal from game one with a more veteran defense, and that’s a good start. 40 percent must be the save percentage bar, at a minimum.
Delaney Sweitzer — Senior, No. 2
Sweitzer started the first five games of the season and played the first half before being replaced by Hower, although she did end up appearing in 13 games.
It was just an absolutely brutal season for Delaney, who finished with a .258 save percentage and a 10.91 goals against average. That save percentage is going to have to improve immensely if she’s going to challenge Kimber for the No. 1 spot.
The other two goalies on the roster are junior Tate Paulson (No. 50) and freshman Daniella Guyette (No. 0), who reportedly looks like has a promising future, but not sure if she’ll be contributing just yet.