The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team has played a rather peculiar last six quarters over the last week.
Last Thursday, they had a disastrous second half (mostly fourth quarter) against Boston College, before putting forth a lackluster effort on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament against Virginia Tech.
That’s going to need to change in a big ole’ hurry for ‘Cuse if they are going to keep moving forward down in Charlotte this weekend, because today they are going up against the No. 3 seed North Carolina Tar Heels in a rematch of a game played less than two weeks ago and a couple hours away in Chapel Hill.
The game is the second semifinal of the day and will be played after Boston College and Notre Dame compete in the first semifinal. The second game is tentatively set for an approximately 3:30 PM start time, although it will likely be closer to 4 PM, depending on the end time of the first game (1 PM start). The game will be shown on the ACC Network.
Friday's semifinal matchup is set. pic.twitter.com/E7QHwa5Jp5— Syracuse Women's Lacrosse (@CuseWLAX) April 27, 2023
- All-time series: 18 meetings; North Carolina leads, 11-7
- Last meeting: Syracuse W, 14-12 on April 15, 2023
- North Carolina this season: 13-3, 7-2 ACC (regular season)
Scouting North Carolina
When they met less than two weeks ago, the Orange got beaten easily on draw controls (18-12), but were able to win the game on the strength of their shooting efficiency (56 percent) and the play of Delaney Sweitzer in net (career-high tying 15 saves).
This time around, it’s going to be absolutely critical for SU to be better on draws because it’s very unlikely they’ll repeat both their great shooting day and Delaney’s exceptional performance in goal against such a good UNC team. The other part of that is that Carolina had the opposite day to SU in that game. Their goalies had a bad day with only five saves and they shot terribly at .343 percent. You have to figure they’ll fair better this time.
They simply need to even out the possession for this game, because the Tar Heels made it very clear the first time that they want to hold possession and bleed as much clock as possible to both tire out the ‘Cuse defense and keep the ball away from the ‘Cuse offense.
A lot will be put on the shoulders of the Orange draw control unit, and I am really hoping that we’re going to see plenty of Emma Tyrrell on the circle in this game because she is a difference maker on draws. She’s exactly the kind of weapon needed to help Olivia Adamson and/or Maddy Baxter, and pairing her with Katie Goodale creates a formidable duo of circle players to help win draws. Kayla’s been holding Emma back and easing her in all season on restarts, and the time is now.
The North Carolina offense is led by attackers Caitlyn Wurzburger (31G, 26A) and Reilly Casey (27G, 30A), who are tied for the team lead with 57 points. Freshmen Caroline Godine (22G, 20A) and Marissa White (37G, 3A) have had excellent debut seasons for the Tar Heels. Godine is third on the team in both points (42) and assists, and White leads the team in goals. Godine had a huge game the first time around, finishing with six points and four assists. She was exceptionally dangerous at dodging from X, creating havoc behind the cage and leading to some easy finishes for her teammates.
Nicole Humphrey (24G, 3A) and Alyssa Long (16G, 6A) both had great games last time, as well. They each finished with three points and scored five goals between them in that game.
The UNC defense is super tough and led by Emily Nalls (22GB, 23CT, 38DC), Brooklyn Walker-Welch (17GB, 10CT), Gabi Hall (13GB, 4CT), and Livi Lawton (6GB, 8CT), who matched up with Meaghan Tyrrell in the first game and played very physically. Meaghan had to exit the game two separate times because of a collision between them.
Alecia Nicholas had a rough game in the first meeting, but put up solid numbers in goal this season with a .467 save percentage and a 8.54 goals-against average.
We’ll see if the Orange can advance to play for the ACC Tournament Championship.