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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: Orange struggle to 14-12 win in ACC quarterfinal against Virginia Tech

The Orange pulled out the win despite an inconsistent and frustrating evening against the Hokies.

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team dragged themselves to a 14-12 win in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday against the No. 7 seed Virginia Tech Hokies.

On a rainy midweek day down in Charlotte, ‘Cuse certainly did not look like a team coming off their first loss of the season. The Orange played a wildly inconsistent game in which they never fully put it all together and that kept it a close contest throughout.

A struggling offense led to a tight halftime lead for SU at 6-5. They came out and scored the first three goals of the second half to take a 9-5 lead, and at that point it felt like they were starting to play better and were going to finally take control of the game. But that never happened, as the Hokies scored four of the next five goals to bring it back to a one-goal game at 10-9 late in the third. The teams traded two-goal mini-runs the rest of the way (for the most part), but this one wasn’t put to bed until very near the end.

Every single phase of the game had an uneven day for ‘Cuse. The offense was able to execute beautifully at times, but had way too many mistakes and lapses. The defense was pretty good for the most part, causing turnovers and making stops, but had lapses of their own that allowed VT to stay in the game. Draw controls looked great at times and lost at others, and the 50/50 loose balls were hit or miss.

Offensively, the Orange had one of their most inefficient games of the season. They turned the ball over 14 times and had a bad shooting day, by their standards. They shot only .452 percent (14-of-31), and poor shooting was one of the biggest culprits in their slow offensive start.

They started the game 2-of-10 as they only scored two goals in the opening 18 minutes. They did pick it up from there, going 12-of-21 (.571) the rest of the way. But they mixed in way too many turnovers and, overall, it felt like they were struggling to find the point of attack that they could make work consistently, and as a result had one of their least efficient days.

Meaghan Tyrrell (2G, 3A) had a very slow first three quarters, but came alive in the fourth quarter when the team needed her the most, as she always seems to do, to finish with five points to lead the team. Meaghan contributed on all three fourth-quarter goals for SU, starting it off with an exceptional skip-pass over the defense which became the 400th point of her career. She’s only the ninth player in Division I history to reach the 400 milestone.

She also scored the final two goals of the game for ‘Cuse, the first of which proved to be the game winner. And, finally, she finished with season highs with four ground balls and two caused turnovers. She ended up filling up the box score very nicely.

Emma Ward (3G, 1A) and Sierra Cockerille (3G, 1A) both had big games, finishing with four points each. Emma Tyrrell (2G, 1A, 3DC) had a nice game with three points, and Meg Carney (2G) and Nat Smith (1G, 1A) added two each.

The defense was mostly pretty solid. Virginia Tech had 14 turnovers in this game, seven of which were caused by SU. They only gave up 12 goals, five of which were scored on free positions. Only giving up seven goals from the run of play is not bad at all for the ‘Cuse zone.

SU’s real problem was that Delaney Sweitzer (7SV, 4GB) was not her usual self on the free-position attempts. The Hokies finished the game 5-of-7 on those chances. Delaney came into the day giving up only a .324 success rate on free positions, and VT scored on .714 percent of them.

In general, Delaney didn’t have a great game with only seven saves and .368 save percentage, as well as two turnovers. She’s struggled since halftime of the BC game, so hopefully she’s saving it up for the semifinals.

The draw controls were played to a, well, draw. Each team won 15 draws, and momentum on winning them swung back-and-forth all game long. When she had the momentum, Olivia Adamson (11DC, 1A) was dominant, winning draws directly to herself and coming away with a game-high 11 draw wins. The problem was that there were stretches in which VT dominated and took the momentum away on the restarts.

Anyway, it was all just part of the theme of the game that SU couldn’t find consistency anywhere on the field. They’re going to need to play a lot better when they re-take the field on Friday.

The Orange will be back in action against the No. 3 seed North Carolina Tar Heels in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament on Friday, April 28 at approximately 3:30 PM (although likely closer to 4 PM) on ACC Network.