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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: Orange overpower No. 19 Clemson to improve to 14-0

It wasn’t the sharpest performance, but it ended up being a comfortable win over a Top-20 team.

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

At CNS Stadium at Cicero-North Syracuse High School on Saturday afternoon, the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team showed off the general next-level superiority they have over most teams, even ranked ones, in their 19-10 handling of the No. 19 Clemson Tigers in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

The win is SU’s eighth this season over a ranked opponent, and improves their overall record to 14-0 and 7-0 in the ACC.

Olivia Adamson (3G, 4A, 14DC) was the star of this one in what was the best game of her college career. She dominated on both offense and draw controls, finishing with a career-high seven points and a career-best 14 draw wins in helping lead SU to a 20-13 advantage on the draw circle.

Emma Ward (5G, 1A) continued showing off her versatility with a season-high five goals on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting and six points overall. Meaghan Tyrrell (4G, 1A) had a five-point day to increase her career total to 388, now just five points shy of Kayla Treanor for second place and eight shy of Katie Rowan’s school record of 396.

Meg Carney (2G) and Savannah Sweitzer (2G) each had a pair of goals, while Sierra Cockerille (1G, 1A) and Natalie Smith (1G, 1A) each had a goal and an assist. Maddy Baxter (1G) made it eight goal scorers for SU when she opened the scoring in the fourth quarter.

Delaney Sweitzer was the star on the defensive end, making 13 saves for a .591 save percentage while continuing to be the most intimidating brick wall ever on free-positions and creating tons of fast-break opportunities with her trademark clearing passes.

The flow of this game was interesting as ‘Cuse was in control early, jumping out to a 9-3 lead roughly 25 minutes in. That’s when the scoring went into a slumber for almost a quarter’s worth of time, during which period the Tigers scored three straight to make it a surprisingly close, 9-6 game midway through the third. At that point, the Orange offense angrily awoke and went on an 8-1 run in less than 10 minutes to take a 17-7 fourth quarter lead that Clemson would only might a slight dent in the rest of the way.

All anyone needs to know about how dangerous and frightening the Orange offense can be is to look at the third quarter of this game. Nine minutes into the third quarter, SU had not scored a goal. They finished the quarter with six goals; six goals in six minutes after zero for the first nine.

The ability to score in bunches is a trait we’ve seen from this team a lot this season, and it’s the kind of thing that keeps defensive coordinators up at night. Hey, great job holding the Orange scoreless through the first nine minutes of that quarter. Whoops, they scored six in the blink of an eye. Yikes.

Generally speaking, I actually thought this performance was a little lacking in sharpness for the Orange, which is partially me being nit-picky about a 14-0 lacrosse team but not without its truth. Ultimately, I think, it underscores how crazy it is that this team can play less than their best game and still score 19 goals, without Emma Tyrrell, and win by nine. 14 games into this season and I’m still awe-struck by this offense.

Primarily, my nit-picks are that I thought they gave up far too many free-position opportunities (thank goodness for Delaney Sweitzer), picked up way too many yellow cards (four) that obviously led to them going down a player too many times, got a little too sloppy with their passing at times (12 turnovers), and left a handful of transition scoring opportunities on the table with some subpar decision making. I’m sure those things will be cleaned up as the intensity of their matchups ramps up in the coming weeks.

Speaking of, the Orange will be back in action next weekend when they travel down to Chapel Hill for a meeting with the final boss of the ACC, the No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels. The game is set for Saturday, April 15 at 12 PM on ESPNU.