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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: Offense preview

It’s ‘re-load’ not ‘re-build’ for ‘Cuse’s offensive arsenal.

2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Most lacrosse teams wouldn’t have to be in the position of replacing three players the quality of Meaghan Tyrrell, Meg Carney and Sierra Cockerillle, because most teams never would have had that much quality in the first place.

Even fewer would be in position to re-load a talented offense once they were gone, but that’s exactly where the Syracuse Orange find themselves at the dawn of Kayla Treanor’s third year helming her alma mater.

Sierra is gone from the midfield, and “The Meg Show” is now a podcast, but there’s still plenty of reason for optimism heading into the 2024 season. Let’s break it down:

Returning contributors

The trio at the center of replacing the departing graduate students is Emma Ward, Emma Tyrrell and Olivia Adamson. All obviously played very crucial roles for SU last year, and it will take on an even greater import this season. They will be the new nucleus of the Orange offense.

Joining them will be Maddy Baxter and Natalie Smith, returning starters at the midfield who are both very effective scorers from up top. I think Baxter is one of the best dodging and scoring on-the-run midfielders in the country, and that’s a weapon that could get deployed a lot more this year. Savannah Sweitzer is another returning veteran with tons of experience and an ability to contribute from anywhere within the offense.

Returning bench players

With the holes opening up on offense, it naturally begs the question of who will start contributing in a meaningful role for the first time. We know all the above returners will be shouldering more responsibility, but who will be receiving real reps this season to help this offense with the re-load?

I think the first name to look at is Gracie Britton, a multi-time HS All-American who played sparingly last year simply because there was no room for her in the lineup with all the experienced players returning in front of her. But Gracie is a clear candidate to step in and start showing off right away in her second season on the Hill.

Another name I expect to compete for playing time this season is Meghan Rode, who didn’t appear in a game as a freshman last year. Meghan’s got quite the pedigree, though, as she was named a member of the US Women’s training team for the first ever women’s box lacrosse world championships alongside Emma Ward and Olivia Adamson. That’s an incredible feat as not a ton of college players made that team, and it speaks to the exciting potential she has as a lacrosse player.

Some other potential candidates would be Shira Parower, Payton Rowley and Faith Wooters, all of whom have received limited backup minutes in their various times at SU.

Newcomers

This is potentially the most impactful part, as a whole group of incoming freshmen and transfers have arrived on campus to stake their claims to playing time in the ‘Cuse offense.

There’s a lot of talent in the incoming freshmen class, and I’d say the two main candidates are Ashlee Volpe and Alexa Vogelman. Volpe’s an attacker and Vogelman’s a midfielder, and both played in the senior All-American game last summer. Volpe’s got all the skills as a ball carrier, passer and finisher as a behind-the-cage attacker, and Vogelman’s a speedy, two-way midfielder with all the offensive skills to match. I could see both of them contributing right away as freshmen. Check out the first clip in the below montage for a sweet move and score from Volpe:

Attacker Carlie Desimone, midfielder Joely Caramelli and midfielder Ella Blesi would be some other freshmen offensive names to watch out for.

On the transfer front, the Orange brought in three transfers from big programs in graduate student Claire Jeschke (Brown), redshirt sophomore Mackenzie Rich (UNC) and sophomore Emma Muchnick (Maryland).

Jeschke’s a CBA product originally from Syracuse, and she comes back home for her final year after a two-time All-Ivy selection undergrad career at Brown. Rich and Muchnick played only sparingly at their original schools before transferring. I’m sure that some if not all three of them will factor into this team in some form. All three are midfielders, so it could be helping out as a defensive midfielder and taking some occasional runs on offense if not as regular offensive midfielders, kind of like Tessa Queri in the past couple seasons.