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Syracuse women’s lacrosse continues relentless schedule stretch in Gainesville

Syracuse's leading scorer Meaghan Tyrrell celebrates with her teammates after scoring a game. The senior finished with five goals for the second straight game.
Syracuse's leading scorer Meaghan Tyrrell celebrates with her teammates after scoring a game. The senior finished with five goals for the second straight game.

Paying a visit to the 13th-ranked team in the nation, amid a nine-day, three-game road trip? Just business as usual for the 2022 Syracuse women’s lacrosse team.

The Orange will take on the Florida Gators in Gainesville Wednesday evening, their seventh ranked opponent in eight games so far on the season. There is a palpable optimism among the Syracuse players, who have won six of those seven marquee matchups.

“I think this is the best place we’ve ever been in before,” fifth-year midfielder Sam Swart said. “I’m really excited to see where we go.”

The Gators are the second test for Syracuse on their spring break swing, after a stop in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. There, the Orange picked up their most decisive ranked win thus far, taking down the Cavaliers 17-11 in a blustery, snowy affair.

The defense stood out in the Virginia win. Kimber Hower played the full contest in goal for the second straight game and allowed the third-fewest goals the Orange have surrendered in a game all season. And although it had the sloppy conditions to thank, Syracuse also forced a season-high in turnovers, taking the ball away from the Cavaliers 27 times.

“We’re definitely building chemistry throughout the games,” defensive captain Sarah Cooper said. “Especially being such a young team and young defensive unit, it’s been building the last few games.”

The Gators come into the game just 2-4, thanks to a schedule that rivals Syracuse’s in difficulty. Florida has lost to North Carolina, Maryland, Stony Brook and Loyola, all of whom are ranked ninth or better in the latest ILWomen/ILWCA poll. Despite the losing record, the Gators are still chock-full of talent, as their 32-10 exhibition win over the Scottish national team might suggest.

Sophomore midfielder Danielle Pavinelli has emerged as the team’s top offensive threat, after losing four all-conference goal-scorers from last year’s team. Her 22 goals in six games rank her 20th in the nation in scoring average, behind just one Syracuse player (Meaghan Tyrrell). And the Gators have a returning All-American as well—sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Reznick, off to a solid start with 43 saves in six games.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us, but I think we’re all really excited,” Treanor said before leaving campus Thursday night. “It’s a great week to do it [with] spring break, so the girls aren’t in school.”

The trip to Florida is also allowing the Orange a chance to spend some time away from the lacrosse field—though it’s not entirely clear what that entails yet. Treanor kept the team’s road trip activities close to the vest Thursday night but assured the media her team would have some fun to look forward to.

“We’ll do some things that don’t have anything to do with lacrosse, for them to bond with each other,” Treanor said. “This group overall gets along really well and it’s just a great group of girls.”

The excitement for the trip was unmistakable among the players as well.

“On the road, no matter where we are, it’s always about family,” Swart said. “As we keep playing these games it’s about always sticking together no matter what happens.”

The opening draw for the contest against the Gators is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on YouTube via the “Florida Gators” channel. The Orange will then head to Blacksburg, Virginia to conclude their spring break trip Saturday against ACC opponent Virginia Tech.