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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: ACC Tournament quarterfinal vs. Virginia Tech preview and game thread

The Orange kick off postseason play against the Hokies this afternoon down in Charlotte.

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

Almost a week after suffering their first loss of the season, the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team is back in action this afternoon as postseason play kicks off with the ACC Tournament down at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, NC.

The day gets started early with an 11 AM meeting between the No. 1 seed Boston College and No. 9 Duke, followed by a 1:30 PM battle between No. 4 Virginia and No. 5 Notre Dame.

Then, it’s the Orange’s turn to take the field as the No. 2 seed ‘Cuse takes on No. 7 Virginia Tech at approximately 4 PM on the ACC Network, depending on when the UVA/ND game finishes up before it.

No. 3 North Carolina and No. 6 Clemson will close out the day of quarterfinal action at 6:30 PM.

  • Syracuse in the ACC Tournament: 12-7 all-time
  • All-time VT series: 15 meetings, Syracuse leads, 14-1
  • Last VT meeting: Syracuse W, 16-5 on March 5, 2023
  • Virginia Tech this season: 10-8, 3-6 ACC

Scouting Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech is a very young team that has gotten much better and more competitive as the season has gone along.

When Syracuse beat them back on March 5 in the JMA Dome, it dropped the Hokies to 1-4 on the season. Since then, they’ve gone 9-4 and put up some very interesting results, even in losses.

Their best win on the season is their April 1 win over Duke, 14-13. They also played a bunch of really good teams very closely, most notably their 14-12 loss to Boston College on March 25. They were in that game the whole way and really gave the Eagles a game. They also lost to Clemson by four and Virginia by five in the past couple weeks, so the point is that the Hokies are a team that will give you a battle.

Virginia Tech easily defeated Pittsburgh in the first round of the ACC Tournament at home on Sunday, 18-6, to advance to the quarterfinals.

They are led by a pair of young offensive stars in sophomore midfielder Olivia Vergano (No. 4) and freshman midfielder Ella Rishko (No. 5). Vergano leads the team in goals (49) and points (62), and she’s been especially outstanding as of late with 20 points in her last four games. During that stretch, she’s averaging 4.25 goals per game.

Rishko is second on the team in goals (42) and points (48) behind Vergano, and the two of them are the primary attacking options, accounting for 43 percent of the shots and 35 percent of the points scored by the VT offense this season. They are the two big concerns for the Syracuse zone.

The Hokies’ draw control unit is run by a dynamic duo that each have over 100 individual draw wins this season. Freshman Sarah Gresham (No. 38) leads the team with 104 wins, and Olivia Vergano proves her all-around versatility with 103 wins. The two of them have combined to win 207 of VT’s 264 team draw wins this year (78 percent). As a team, they’ve won 56 percent of their draws.

In net, the Hokies have yet another freshman contributing in goalie Jocelyn Torres (No. 36), who’s had an excellent debut season as she’s started all 18 games and has a .460 save percentage and a 9.93 goals-against average. Those are great numbers for a freshman goalie playing an ACC schedule.

Rishko, Gresham, and Torres make up the core of young players helping to make this a successful season for their team. All three were just named to the ACC All-Freshman Team yesterday, along with SU’s Coco Vandiver. Virginia Tech tied North Carolina for the most players named to the freshman team by one school. Olivia Vergano was the lone VT player named to one of the All-ACC teams, coming in as a member of the All-ACC Second Team.