The second weekend of April brings us a double header for the Syracuse Orange lacrosse teams.
The men hit the road for a noon face-off in their final non-conference game of the regular season as they play the Princeton Tigers for the first time in a decade. The women follow with a 2 PM clash with the first-year program Clemson Tigers in the first ever meeting between the ACC foes.
The men’s game will be televised in certain locations on SNY and NBC Sports Philly, but otherwise will be streamed on ESPN+. The women’s game will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.
Men at Princeton — 12 PM on SNY/NBC Sports Philly/ESPN+
- All-time series: 30th meeting, Syracuse leads, 20-9
- Last meeting: Syracuse W, 13-12 on April 6, 2013 (SU won 4 in a row)
- Princeton this year: 4-4, 2-1 Ivy
A historic matchup
The men renew their decade-long dormant series with Princeton at Class of 1952 Stadium on Princeton’s campus. This was the lacrosse matchup in the ‘90’s and early 2000’s as the two programs dominated the sport.
The Orange and Tigers met in the post season 10 times in a 12-year stretch from 1992-2003, including four times in the national championship game (‘92, ‘00, ‘01, ‘02). During almost the same period, the two combined to win the NCAA title 11 times in 13 years from ‘92-’04. They played every year in the regular season from 1999-2013 before Syracuse leaving for the ACC stopped their annual game.
Princeton this year
The Tigers had a brutal stretch of the season when they lost four games in a row, all to good teams in Maryland, Georgetown, Rutgers, and Penn. They’ve rebounded the last couple weeks with strong offensive performances in wins over Yale and Brown.
The Princeton offense was struggle-city through their four game losing streak where they totaled only 36 goals for an average of 9 per game. That changed drastically in their last two games as they put up 39 goals combined on Yale and Brown.
The Tigers’ offense is led by attacker Coulter Mackesy (No. 91), who leads them in goals (30) and points (41) on the season. Mackesy is a force who ranks 5th in the NCAA in goals per game (3.75) and 8th in points per game (5.12).
The Tigers’ midfield is the home of their next three highest scorers, led by Alexander Vardaro (No. 19), who’s second on the team with 29 points and leads the team with 15 assists. All-American midfielder Sam English (No. 15) is having a terrible shooting season (.189), but is still third on the team with 20 points on 7 goals and 13 assists. Christian Ronda (No. 12) rounds out their first-line midfield with 18 points (12G, 6A).
Attacker Alex Slusher (No. 5) is having a disappointing season after leading the team in goals last year with 44. Slusher only has 12 total points this season (5G, 7A) and has missed their last two games, so we’ll see if he makes an appearance in this one.
Princeton’s face-off unit has not been having a great season. They have two primary FOGOs, both of whom are under .500 at the moment. Tyler Sandoval (No. 35) is facing off at .449 on 107 face-offs, while Koby Ginder (No. 99) is .469 on 98 restarts.
Goalie Michael Gianforcaro (No. 27) has taken over the starting job the last three games and has done a good job in net. His save percentage is .568 with a 10.37 goals-against average.
Women vs. Clemson — 2 PM on ACC Network Extra
The ladies have a home game for their first ever meeting with Clemson, but it’s being played at Cicero-North Syracuse High School thanks to monster trucks in the JMA Dome.
- All-time series: 0-0
- Last meeting: N/A
- Clemson this year: 10-4, 2-4 ACC
Clemson this year
Clemson is having a great season for a first-year program, in part because they’ve brought in roughly 20 transfers for their inaugural season, many of whom have come from top-level programs for more playing time. Among that group is former Syracuse midfielder Jalyn Jimerson.
Their strong record is a product of those transfers playing well combined with a schedule that features a lot of weak mid-major teams that have helped them rack up the wins. The schedule has also helped fatten up their offensive stats. The Tigers offense ranks 5th in the entire NCAA at 16.5 goals per game, but 20-goal performances against Wofford, Winthrop, Gardner-Webb, Longwood, Radford, and Presbyterian have helped fuel that number.
In fairness to Clemson, they have picked up a pair of ACC wins so far in their inaugural season, one of which was a one-goal win over Duke. That’s quite an impressive first-ever ACC win. They also beat up on Louisville last weekend with a 19-8 win, so they can hang in lacrosse’s toughest conference.
Along with ranking 5th in scoring offense, Clemson is also tied with Syracuse for the top shooting percentage in the entire country at .524 percent on the season.
All those great team numbers have been produced by a lot of individuals as the Tigers have two 40-goal scorers, three 40-point scorers, eight 20-point scorers and 11 double-digit scorers.
Gianna New (No. 2) leads the way with 52 points and 41 goals. She’s joined in the 40-goal club by Hanna Hilcoff’s (No. 26) 40 goals and 48 points. On a team defined by experienced transfer students, Sofia Chepenik (No. 9) is a freshman having a fantastic season with 48 points on 30 goals and a team-leading 18 assists.
Emma Tilson (No. 25, 30P), Marina Miller (No. 13, 27P), Syracuse transfer Jalyn Jimerson (No. 29, 25P), Chloe Willard (No. 24, 25P) and Belle Martire (No. 12, 24P) round out the 20-point scorers for this Clemson team.
Maryland transfer Emily Lamparter (No. 29) has started every game in goal for the Tigers this year and has had a great season with a .497 save percentage and an 8.53 goals-against average.