The stars were aligned for Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse. A relatively-healthy squad needed just one more win at home to finish the regular season undefeated. Unfortunately for Kayla Treanor’s squad, the bottom dropped out on them in the 4th quarter of Thursday’s 17-16 loss to #5 Boston College.
Falling just short of the perfect spring has to sting, but it’s not the end of the world for this ‘Cuse team. Their national championship aspirations are still very much intact, and they can look at this as a learning opportunity before postseason play.
The Orange started the game off red hot in the possession battle (as they usually do), winning seven of the first 11 draw controls. There was offensive production throughout the lineup, and the packed crowd of 1,600 was feeding into the on-field performance. For thirty minutes, it seemed like SU had everything under control.
But Boston College made important halftime adjustments. Syracuse could not.
The Eagles’ attack shifted inside, they sped up their transition and passing, and too many quick cuts found their way past the defense and towards goal. Delaney Sweitzer, who had stood tall in net all season long, finally found herself unable to get a stop. Meanwhile, BC’s freshman goalie Shea Dolce was the one turning aside shots and putting her team in a position to climb back into the game.
Focus on her efforts for a moment and you may see why I think this was not only the perfect conditions for an Eagles upset, but something the Orange had to get out of the way now.
What’s been the common theme these last few seasons for the WLAX program? Coming up just short in heartbreaking fashion. Injuries have usually played a part, but so has someone on the other side stepping up and having a career game. Last year, it was Northwestern’s Madison Doucette saving 11 of 15 shots and shutting down the Orange offense right from the start. In the 2021 Championship, when Treanor was leading the opposition, it was the Eagles’ Charlotte North having another of her many ridiculous outings with six goals.
Dolce wasn’t as obvious of a standout, but a .500 2nd-half save percentage is one way to spark a massive rally. And unlike previous situations involving Syracuse, there wasn’t much expectation BC would steal a win to begin with, much less so by halftime.
It’s not the first time SU has allowed an opponent to go on a long scoring run this season (see: Northwestern, Loyola, UNC). That simply can’t happen again. Fortunately, the Orange have something they’ve lacked for a long time: a second chance. And not just a second chance at national recognition, one which could involve a rematch with their ACC foe.
“They’re a really, really, really special team,” Coach Treanor said about her players after the defeat. “It’s an amazing group of girls that are so focused and disciplined and want to succeed.”
“We felt like we were playing catch up even though we were in the lead... We’ll learn from it and yeah, hopefully we can play this team (again) in a week.”
Whether it’s the failure to finish on home grass, or the very vocal visiting locker room celebration Treanor and two of her players walked past on the way to the postgame conference, this setback might just be the solution to a years-long problem.
Before that can happen, the Orange first return to action this afternoon at 4 against Virginia Tech. The 7th-seeded Hokies beat Pitt in their first ACC Tournament game.