Senior Day soured as Syracuse women’s lacrosse falls in top five matchup

Senior Day soured as Syracuse WLAX falls 14-13 in top 5 matchup

Late penalties on the Orange and a key injury swing the balance in a back-and-forth contest.
Published: April 22, 2021
NCAA Womens Lacrosse: Boston College at Syracuse
Megan Carney #22 of the Syracuse Orange dodges to the goal past Melanie Welch #13 of the Boston College Eagles during the first half at the Carrier Dome.

In a clash of two top five ACC teams, the Syracuse women’s lacrosse team was outmatched by the Boston College Eagles on Thursday, 14-13. The No. 3 Orange surrendered a win in the Dome against the No. 4 Eagles, despite three goals from Megan Carney before she exited with an injury.

After the game, Sam Swart spoke on the team atmosphere having potentially lost another top contributor.

“The main thing is that we’re family,” Swart said. “We have a great coaching staff and great players. This is a great time for someone to step up, and we always have each other’s backs.”

Heading into the game, three Orange players were nominated for the 2021 Tewaaraton Award. Carney, Sarah Cooper and Meaghan Tyrrell, all on the watch list for the award, were officially nominated for the award given to the top lacrosse player in the country.

Carney and Tyrrell are first and second in goal scoring for the Orange with 46 and 45 respectively. They combined for 48.1% of the team’s goals heading into the game. SU boasts one of the best defenses in the ACC, led by Cooper’s ACC-high 2.58 ground balls per game.

Before the game, 10 players celebrated their Senior Day accompanied by family messages displayed on the jumbotron. The class helped ‘Cuse reach three NCAA Tournaments, including a quarterfinal appearance in 2019. Many of the players in the class played with BC assistant coach Kayla Treanor, SU’s all-time leader in points, who watched on as they celebrated their careers.

The Eagles opened the scoring three minutes into the game after the Orange started with two shots off the crossbar at the other end. BC lived up to its No. 4 billing and took a commanding 4-0 lead.

In response, a much-needed shot from Carney tickled the twine from ten yards out on an Emily Ehle assist. Seconds later, Carney scored again on a feed from Swart for her 100th career goal to make the score 4-2.

BC stopped the Orange run with a goal of their own, but within 12 seconds, Emma Ward tallied her first of the game from Ella Simkins to cut the lead back to two. Four minutes later, she made it 5-4 as she crashed to the net through the Eagles’ defense, but BC responded with another goal.

Carney netted her hat-trick on a free position shot with just under eight minutes remaining, but the Eagles responded with two goals of their own to widen the lead to 8-5.

Sierra Cockerille crashed hard on the right side of the net to bring the Orange back within two as the half waned. ‘Cuse frequently failed to set up offensive possessions, but they used speed and skill to catch the defense off guard early in the shot clock and in transition.

The first half closed with BC nursing a two-goal lead, but SU found more success after a sluggish start. The Orange registered three fewer shots on goal, but they led in caused turnovers. A particular weakness for Syracuse was draw control, where they were outmatched 10-5.

NCAA Womens Lacrosse: Boston College at Syracuse
Emma Ward #44 of the Syracuse Orange and Caitlynn Mossman #7 of the Boston College Eagles battle for the ball during the first half at the Carrier Dome.

The second half opened more promisingly for the Orange as Swart found the back of the net 34 seconds in, but the Orange conceded the next goal for a 9-7 BC lead. Charlotte North, the ACC’s second leading goal scorer, tallied her third of the game and 60th of the season.

Carney would leave the game with a lower body injury in the second half, and the team gathered around its leading scorer as she was helped to the locker room. She would emerge later with tears in her eyes, an ice bag wrapped to her left knee as teammates comforted her. While no diagnosis had been made, the team was not optimistic for her return this season.

“We’ll certainly have to make an adjustment to move forward,” head coach Gary Gait said. “We’re going see how well some players step up and become key players instead of role players. Now we can focus on more players becoming goal scorers and taking a bigger role on this team.”

Filling the void, Meaghan Tyrrell scored her first of the game shortly thereafter and Ward followed with her third on a top-corner snipe to tie the game for the first time since the opening goal.

The beginning of the second half belonged to the Orange and Swart as she struck again at the 12-minute mark. Her 24th of the season brought SU its first lead of the evening, but BC retied the game 13 seconds later.

Emma Tyrrell scored on a free position shot and the Orange drew a yellow card on the play for a check to the head, but BC was next to score to tie the game 11-11.

With 14 minutes left on the clock, Ward spun past her defender and flipped a pass to Emma Tyrrell to reclaim the lead. Asa Goldstock made a dropping save on a free position chance by the Eagles to maintain the advantage, but BC tied the game after recovering the possession.

North scored her fifth of the game with just over 10 minutes remaining to retake the lead. The draw hurt the Orange all evening as they controlled just 10 of 28.

Swart picked up a hat-trick on an aggressive attack to tie the game at 13. The Orange knocked the ball out of goalie Rachel Hall’s stick, and Swart slapped the ball into the net without picking it up.

With 2:33 remaining, SU was slapped with a yellow card as Simkins was whistled for a dangerous play that fans of the Orange would dispute. The two-minute penalty put the Eagles in a frenzied attack for the final minutes with the man-up advantage, and with 1:04 remaining, the tie was broken in favor of BC.

SU did get a shot on goal in the last minute, but Hall rose to the task to clinch the victory for the Eagles as the team stormed the pitch. After the game, Gait spoke on the late effort to tie the game.

“It came right down to the last shot of the game and we had a chance to tie it,” Gait said. “The good thing is that we get to play them again in two days.”

With the defeat, ‘Cuse moved to 11-2 on the season and 7-2 in ACC play. The Orange will be back in action on Saturday, April 24 at noon for a rematch against BC. The game will be the last in the Dome for the season as SU prepares for the ACC Tournament and hopes for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

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is a magazine, news and online graduate student and lead sports producer for The NewsHouse.