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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: Orange light up No. 11 Virginia, 21-9, to improve to 13-0

The Orange tied their longest winning streak in a decade in their rout of the Cavaliers.

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

The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team continued their rampage through the 2023 season on Saturday night with their commanding, 21-9 win over the No. 11 Virginia Cavaliers.

The Senior Night win improved them to 13-0 on the season, matching their longest winning streak since 2013, and 6-0 in the ACC.

The Orange ran roughshod over the Cavaliers in this one, dominating on draw controls, limiting their scoring chances on defense, and steamrolling them with an offense that looked positively unstoppable all night long.

What we saw in this game is something we’ve seen a handful of times in recent weeks with this ‘Cuse team: an opponent who is able to stay with them for a quarter or maybe even a half before the Orange take over the game to finish with a big margin of victory. This time it was Virginia fighting SU to a 5-4 first quarter before ‘Cuse outscored them 16-5 the rest of the way.

The offense was outstanding, perhaps the best we’ve seen them all season. They shot 52.5 percent (21-of-40) and assisted on 12 of their 21 goals. They were consistent, scoring five goals in the first, seven in the second, six in the third, and three in a running clock fourth. They operated as a well-oiled machine all night en route to their second-highest scoring game of the season.

Emma Ward (4G, 6A) and Meaghan Tyrrell (6G, 3A) just completely ran the show all night, combining for 19 points between them. Emma’s 10 points are a new career high for her, while Meaghan’s six goals tied her season high and increased her career point total to 383, just 13 shy of Katie Rowan’s record.

At least one of them was involved in 15 of the 21 goals, and at no point was the connection better than the third quarter goal where Emma found Meaghan for what was essentially lacrosse’s version of an alley-oop. Emma lobbed a perfectly arched pass towards the crease where only Meaghan could get it, and she jumped, caught, and shot the ball all in one glorious motion before her feet touched the ground:

Meg Carney’s (4G) return to the lineup after a one-game absence left a familiar result, as her four goals make it nine times in 12 games that Meg has scored at least four goals in a game.

Emma Tyrrell (2G, 1A, 5DC) got banged up multiple times in the game, but played great when she was in, scoring three points and scooping five big draw wins. Maddy Baxter (2G) and Sierra Cockerille (1G, 1A) each finished with two points.

The defense started very slowly in this game. In the first quarter, Virginia took four shots and scored on every one of them. The zone was allowing back cutters to run free into the middle, which led to some easy finishes for the Cavs in the opening frame. They continued to struggle finding cutters in the second quarter, but Delaney Sweitzer (5SV, 6GB) bailed them out with three huge doorstep saves.

Delaney didn’t have her best game, finishing with only five total saves, but she came up with some big ones in that second quarter that helped SU get some separation at a time when the game was close. She also picked up six big ground balls.

As the game moved on, the defense adjusted well and figured out how to find the cutters and clog up the passing lanes. After giving up four goals in the first quarter, they allowed only five the rest of the game.

Perhaps the most impressive thing the Syracuse defense did in this game was hold the Virginia offense to only 16 total shots. Virginia came into the game leading the ACC and sixth in the NCAA at 34.73 shots per game, and SU held them almost 19 below their season average. The Cavs finished with the same number of turnovers in this game (16) as shots. Despite the early struggles, it ended up being a tremendous effort in limiting scoring chances by the Orange defense.

Part of the credit for why the chances were so limited for the Cavs goes to the ‘Cuse draw control unit, which completely dominated one of the best draw units in the country, 21-11. Olivia Adamson (1G, 6DC) took every draw and did a great job against one of the nation’s best in Aubrey Williams, winning six draws to herself. She also got a ton of her from her circle players, led by Katie Goodale’s (7DC) team-leading seven draws and Emma Tyrrell’s (5DC) five draws.

The Orange will be back in action next weekend when they play their first ever game against the first-year program Clemson Tigers. It is a home game, but it’s being played at Cicero-North Syracuse High School on Saturday, April 8 at 2 PM on ACC Network Extra.