Maryland women’s lacrosse gave its fans something to relish this past Saturday: a victory in its home opener.
In a 15-5 rout of the Saint Joseph’s Hawks, Maryland displayed few weaknesses, albeit against a weaker nonconference opponent. On offense, it outshot the Hawks by 21 and had nine different goal scorers. For the most part, its defense was extremely well-connected, forcing turnovers and attacking ball-carriers with an attitude.
On Tuesday, sophomore defender Kennedy Major described the Terps’ defense, stating, “[We’re] really tenacious, hungry and hard working on and off the ball. I think everyone’s IQ is up there.”
Now, in only the second week of the season, the Terps face what could be their most formidable opponent of the season yet — the fourth-ranked Syracuse Orange.
In their first match of the season, the Orange went toe-to-toe with Northwestern, one of Maryland’s most daunting enemies in the Big Ten. In the end, they emerged victorious by a score of 16-15.
An impressive showing, Syracuse improved to No. 4 in the national rankings, while Maryland remained at No. 2. This game should serve as a barometer for where these two squads lie in the pantheon of women’s college lacrosse.
Friday’s game will kick off at 3 p.m. and stream on ACCNX.
Syracuse Orange (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
2022 record: 15-6, 6-2 ACC
Head coach Kayla Treanor is one of the youngest to hold her position in the nation. An attacker with Syracuse from 2013-16, Treanor was a four-time All-American and was named ACC Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons. She graduated as one of the best players in program history. Aside from her playing career, Treanor had a couple prior assistant coaching gigs, including one season at Harvard and four at Boston College. At the latter of her stops, she acquired a national championship and had the opportunity to develop some of the best women’s lacrosse players of all time, including Charlotte North.
Players to know
Meaghan Tyrrell, graduate attacker, No. 15 — The big news coming out of Syracuse this week was Meaghan Tyrrell winning both ACC and national player of the week awards, as she put up eight points in the team’s victory. That’s no small feat, but nothing Tyrrell does is small. Last season, she was a Tewaaraton Award finalist and led the ACC in points per game. She entered this season ranked sixth all-time in points for the Orange and became only the third player in program history to record 100 points in a season twice. Safe to say, Maryland will certainly have its hands full with Tyrrell.
Megan Carney, graduate attacker, No. 22 — Carney has flown under the radar the past few seasons, mostly due to the prowess of elite scorers like Meaghan Tyrrell and Emily Hawryschuk. However, Carney has developed a nice role in the offense, even having been on the Tewaaraton Award watch list multiple times. She’s been productive in all four of her previous seasons with the Orange, always ranking in the top five for goals and assists. With Hawryschuk gone, Carney is primed for the best campaign of her career.
Emma Tyrrell, senior midfielder, No. 24 — Tyrrell put up 20 assists in 12 games last season, which was good for fifth in the ACC. In the first game against Northwestern this season, Tyrrell flipped the script, putting three in the back of the net while dishing out only one assist. In 2022, she was also named an All-American honorable mention and finished third on the team in total points.
Continuity on offense. The three players referenced above will lead the Orange offense this season, and it’s clear that they will be successful, having just put 16 goals on the scoreboard against a very talented Northwestern team. In addition to the aforementioned mainstays on offense, some of the other names to watch on this side of the ball include junior midfielder Maddy Baxter, sophomore attacker Olivia Adamson and junior attacker Emma Ward.
The loss of Emily Hawryschuk. You can never score too many goals. Despite what appears to be a still high-functioning offense, it would be remiss to not mention Hawryschuk’s name and the impact she had on this program. The superstar ended her career as Syracuse’s all-time leader in goals with 272; she also finished fourth in program history with 341 points. In addition, she was an IWLCA All-Region first team selection and All-ACC first team pick in 2022. The Orange will need a combination of new faces and rising stars to fill the void she left.
Three things to watch
1. How will Maryland’s defense fare? What happens when a tenacious defense faces an elite offense? With Marge Donovan’s status up in the air, the Terps could be without one of their leaders.
“We’re just going to have to keep being tenacious and keep communicating,” Major said. “Making sure we’re talking through the picks and the weaves.”
It will be a test for Maryland regardless, but its mix of grit, savvy and athleticism should pose a challenge for the Orange offense, no matter how skilled it is.
2. Can Maryland’s offense take advantage of Syracuse’s defense? Don’t overreact to Syracuse giving up 15 goals to Northwestern. It’s probably not the norm, given how gifted the Wildcats are. However, it should be noted that Delaney Sweitzer, Syracuse’s goalkeeper, had a career-high 11 saves, which proves that Northwestern could have easily put in more. When asked about how they can convert their opportunities, Maryland head coach Cathy Reese’s response was simple.
“Our focus is [that] any of the seven people on the field can score,” Reese said. “It’s just making the right play rather than the first play.”
Sticking to the fundamentals could very well be the Terps’ approach on Friday afternoon.
3. Will Maryland continue utilizing its young players? On Friday, viewers saw a number of freshmen enter the game, including the Terps’ three high-end recruits: Kori Edmondson, Maggie Weisman and Jaylen Rosga. At times, all three saw the field simultaneously. Each contributed their fair share, and Rosga even saw extensive action on the defensive side of the ball. Still, the question remains. Given that they have more big-game experience, will Maryland be more prone to sticking with its veteran group early in the season? Or, leaning on their immense talent and giving them a shot on the big stage, perhaps it will take a gamble on the youngsters.