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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals vs. James Madison preview and game thread

The Orange are back in action with a Final Four berth on the line.

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team is back inside the JMA Wireless Dome for the first time since April 1 today when they host the No. 7 seed James Madison Dukes in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals, with a spot in the Final Four on the line.

The game is set for a 12 PM opening draw and will be televised on ESPNU and streamed on WatchESPN.

  • All-time series: 2nd meeting; Syracuse leads, 1-0; 2010 NCAA Quarterfinals, SU won 7-3
  • Syracuse in NCAA Tournament: 20th appearance, 24-19 all-time record
  • Syracuse in NCAA Quarterfinals: 13th appearance, 8-4 all-time record (7-0 at home)
  • James Madison this season: 19-2, 7-1 AAC

James Madison this season

Believe it or not, the Orange are not the team in this game with the longer winning streak during this season. The Dukes lost their very first game of the year to North Carolina, and then proceeded to rattle off 17 straight wins before losing to Florida in the AAC Championship game.

Along the way, they’ve won nine games against teams who are currently ranked: Maryland (twice), Florida, Virginia, Army, Johns Hopkins, Richmond, UConn, and Rutgers.

James Madison last weekend

Two of those ranked wins came last weekend to open up the NCAA Tournament. They started it off on Friday with a 12-8 win over Michelle Tumolo’s Army team.

Then, on Sunday, they had a dramatic comeback win over Maryland. Entering the fourth quarter, the Terps had a four-goal lead before JMU outscored them 7-2 to take a one-goal win, 15-14. For those that care to remember, that is an eerily similar script to SU’s regular season finale against BC in which the Orange had the exact same lead and got outscored by the exact same score in the final frame.

JMU was able to engineer the amazing comeback that involved them scoring three goals in the final three minutes to grab the win and move on to the quarterfinals.

Scouting James Madison


Talking about the Dukes has to begin with their star, Isabella Peterson (No. 17). The junior attacker, one of Meaghan Tyrrell’s fellow finalists for the Tewaaraton, leads the country in goals (89) and points (112), and is second in goals per game (4.24) and points per game (5.33). She also makes her presence known all over the field as she’s pulled in 87 draw control wins this season.

In the second round game against Maryland, Peterson scored seven goals on eight shots and had nine points. Standing at 6’0” tall, she is an imposing force and a goal-scoring machine who possess a uniquely difficult challenge for the SU defense.

Her main running mate on attack is Tai Jankowski (No. 4), who’s second on the team with 52 goals and 75 points. Peterson absorbs so much of the attention for a defense, but Jankowski poses a big threat herself. She’s also lethal on free positions, going 20-of-26 on the season (.769), so we better hope we don’t see No. 4 lining up on the 8-meter too much in this game.

Peterson (179) and Jankowski (111) have combined to take 290 of the 650 shots James Madison has taken this season, which is .446 percent.

Katelyn Morgan (No. 11) leads the team in assists (35) and is third in points (55), and Maddie Epke (No. 20) is second on the team in assists (28), fourth in points (44), and third in draw controls (69).


James Madison plays a zone defense that is one of the most effective defenses of any kind in the entire country.

The Dukes rank third in the nation in scoring defense, giving up only 7.62 goals per game. They’re very adept at forcing turnovers, ranking 22nd in the nation with 9.19 caused turnovers per game. The Orange are going to have to be on point with their passing in order to successfully break down the Dukes’ zone.

Mairead Durkin (No. 14) leads the way with an impressive 46 CTs and 36 GBs, while Rachel Matey (No. 22) has 24 CTs and a team-leading 47 GBs and 90 draw controls.

Goalie Kat Buchanan (No. 40) has strong numbers with a .478 save percentage and a 7.83 goals-against average.

Draw Controls

The Dukes have a good draw unit, ranking 16th in the nation with a .568 win percentage for the season.

Rachel Matey (90), Isabella Peterson (87) and Maddie Epke (69) have won the majority of draws for them.


If you need a note for today’s game, Otto has you covered