With the men’s lacrosse team celebrating the end of spring break with an off weekend, the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team has the Orange lax stage all to themselves.
That stage is Koskinen Stadium in Durham for SU’s second straight road game against the No. 15 Duke Blue Devils.
Opening draw is set for 12 PM on ACC Network Extra.
One more sleep before GAMEDAY‼️ pic.twitter.com/1tgT8BtmjN— Syracuse Women's Lacrosse (@CuseWLAX) March 18, 2023
- All-time series: 9 meetings; SU leads, 7-2
- Last meeting: SU, W 18-16 on March 6, 2022 (Duke led 9-2 after first quarter)
- Duke this year: 4-4, 0-3 ACC
The Blue Devils are off to a disappointing start to the season, by their standards, especially as of late. They’ve lost three games in a row after a 4-1 start, in part because they’ve been hit by some significant injuries. In their last game, a midweek loss to Yale on Tuesday, they were down to their third-string goalie.
Their wins on the season are over Navy, Davidson, Gardner-Webb, and Liberty. Their losses are to Boston College, Notre Dame, Clemson, and Yale.
At 0-3 in the ACC, Duke is desperately in need of a win to get their season back on track. I expect them to play like it, especially because ‘Cuse provides a potential season-altering win if they can get it.
I hate to start with draws yet again, but I kind of have no choice given the opponent. For the second straight game without Kate Mashewske, the Orange are going up against a very difficult task in the Duke draw control unit.
That’s because they’re led by their draw taker, 6’2” Maddie Jenner, whose won more draws in her career than anyone in history. This season, she’s ranked second in the country at 10.5 draws per game. With Jenner leading the way, the Blue Devils rank seventh nationally with 17.25 draws per game. They also have a very strong .616 win percentage.
This is a very difficult ask of Olivia Adamson in only her second career college game as the primary draw taker, not the least of which is because Jenner is seven inches taller than her. Olivia’s going to need to try to push the ball more out than up in this matchup, that’s for sure. This is not the ideal bounce-back opportunity for the Orange after losing draws 14-5 to Loyola.
I did notice in a video posted on social media yesterday (see above) that Olivia was working on draws this week against Kayla Treanor, so that’s a pretty good practice point.
The goalie situation for Duke has been a disaster so far this season because of the injury bug.
Starter Sophia LeRose played the first two games of the year and has a .520 save percentage, but hasn’t played since. Backup Shaye Fitzpatrick started the next five games and has a .493 save percentage, and came in in relief in their last game. Third-stringer Madison Drebing started the Yale game and has a .385 save percentage.
I’m not sure who is in line to start for them today between the pipes, but backstop has been a position of inconsistency for the Blue Devils this season and has contributed greatly to their struggles.
The Duke offense has a lot of talent and can light up the scoreboard when they’re on, but they’ve also had a big issue turning it over. They’re averaging 17 turnovers per game, which could be a good remedy for the Orange if they struggle again on draw controls.
The offense is led by Katie DeSimone (27G, 9A, 36P), who leads them in goals and points. She’s scored more than twice as many goals as any other player and 16 more points. She’s scored a hat trick or more six times this season.
Caroline DeBellis (9G, 11A, 20P) leads the team in assists. Anna Callahan (9G, 9A, 18P), Maddie Jenner (12G, 3A, 15P), Eva Greco (12G, 3A, 15P), Carly Bernstein (9G, 4A, 13P), and Lexi Schmalz (8G, 2A, 10P) are all double-digit scorers for this offense.
While the Duke offense has had their issues holding onto the ball, their defense has been very good at taking it away from their opponents.
The Blue Devils are averaging over 11 caused turnovers per game, an outstanding number. They’re led by senior defender Cubby Biscardi, who has 15 CTs individually.
‘Cuse has been a little loose with the ball at times this season. They’ll have to be extra careful about that given the combination of Maddie Jenner on draws and their defense’s ability to cause turnovers. That could be a lethal possession combination for Duke.