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No. 2 Syracuse women's lacrosse battles top-10 foe Loyola

SU's Emma Ward (44, white) sets up for a free position shot in Syracuse's win over Notre Dame.
SU's Emma Ward (44, white) sets up for a free position shot in Syracuse's win over Notre Dame.

After an undefeated start through its first seven games, No. 2 Syracuse (7-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) heads down to Maryland for another top-10 matchup against the No. 9 Loyola Greyhounds (5-1, 0-0 Patriot League). This will be the second straight ranked matchup for the Orange as they advance in their two-week gauntlet where they’ll play four consecutive ranked opponents.

The Orange will be short-handed this game and for the rest of the season. Draw control specialist Kate Mashewske will be out for the remainder of the year due to injury. Mashewske played a huge part in Syracuse’s fast start, in seven games the senior midfielder has totaled 70 draw controls for the Orange. Mashewske’s ability to keep the ball away from opponents and give her offenses extra possession has been a luxury for the team, but now without her, the Orange will have a major hole that needs to be addressed.

Junior defender Katie Goodale will most likely take on the responsibility of draw control, she’s second on the team in that category and has shown some impressive work for the Orange this season. Despite Mashewske’s injury Syracuse still holds one of the best rosters in the country, Meaghan Tyrrell, Megan Carney, and Emma Ward has been a three-headed monster offensively. Ward won Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week after posting a career-high seven assists in the Orange’s 15-7 victory against Notre Dame in their last outing.

For Loyola, it looks to bounce back after a tough 11-14 loss against No. 10 Florida. The Greyhounds led going into halftime but allowed six goals in the final period. Loyola is still one of the elite teams in the country, capturing ranked wins against John Hopkins and Penn in the beginning of the year.

The Greyhounds are led by junior Attacker Sydni Black who was a 2nd Team All-Patriot League member last year and has 27 points through the first six games. She’s paired with sophomore Georgia Latch and senior Emily Willis who make a very balanced attacking front for Loyola. The Greyhounds also have draw specialist Jillian Wilson, who will be an x-factor for the Greyhounds, especially with the absence of Mashewske.

Loyola has an elite-level stopper inside the crease as well, Lauren Spence has already shown her talent at goalkeeping in just her sophomore year. The Team Canada goalie currently boasts a .495 save percentage and is only allowing 8.6 goals a game. The high-powered Syracuse offense will have their work cut out for them against Spence, she’s also supported by a talented defense in front of her.

Delaney Sweitzer is slated to start in net. The junior has been lights out for the Orange as she holds a .584 save percentage and tallied 66 saves through the season. She also won ACC Defensive Player of the Week after having eight saves, a career-high three caused turnovers, and six ground balls in the win against Notre Dame.

Delaney Sweitzer (2, white) cradles during SU's win over Notre Dame.
Delaney Sweitzer (2, white) cradles during SU's win over Notre Dame.

Last time when these two teams met the Orange won in a thriller 14-13 in the JMA Wireless Dome. Syracuse has had their number in recent history, winning six straight against the Greyhounds. Loyola looks to change that trend as this could potentially be their last chance against a ranked opponent this season.

First draw is Wednesday March 4th at 6 p.m. at Ridley Athletic Complex.