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Down seven early, No. 3 Syracuse women’s lacrosse fights back to defeat No. 7 Duke

Meaghan Tyrrell throws down her stick and yells while surrounded by Duke players in blue jerseys and her Syracuse teammates excited in white.
Attacker Meaghan Tyrrell (white) throws down her stick in celebration after scoring one of her five goals against the Blue Devils.

When Duke attacker Cat Barry netted a goal with 3:17 left in the first quarter to put the Blue Devils up 8-1 over Syracuse, the Carrier Dome felt deflated. Duke had been on a goal-scoring tear after Emily Hawryschuk scored the Orange’s first goal of the game in thirty seconds of play. Barry who, leads the nation in points, had six points herself in that first quarter. Within minutes, the thought of a win…let alone a lead in the game, seemed too far away. But the Orange kept fighting.

“(The lead) didn’t get too big…it was only a quarter. We just focused on our game plan.” Despite being down seven going into the second quarter, Coach Kayla Treanor emphasized her team stayed calm and made the adjustments necessary to slowly chip away at Duke’s lead.

One of the first shifts was changing to a man-to-man defense to give goalie Kimber Hower a better view of the field. Hower made her first collegiate start, after splitting time in goal with teammate Delaney Sweitzer in the first games of the season. Hower echoed her coach, that despite the deficit, the Orange were composed.

“My coaches have really emphasized that they have trust in me…I knew we were going to figure it out. I looked at my defender Katie Goodale and we were both so calm.”

Kimber Hower defends Syracuse’s goal in a white jersey, orange helmet, while holding an orange lacrosse stick
Redshirt Junior goalie Kimber Hower had eight saves in her first collegiate start against Duke

Syracuse struggled early with draw control, winning less than half that of Duke at the start of the second quarter. Down 9-2, the Orange outscored the Blue Devils six to three in the second quarter, with a key contribution from Emma Tyrrell. From the 11:30 mark to 10:12, Tyrrell found the back of the net twice and assisted on a third goal. And with four minutes left in the half, Syracuse outscored Duke five to one. Going into half, Duke had a four-goal lead.

The third quarter is where the Orange really took control of the game and it began to look like a victory was possible. Attacker Meaghan Tyrrell, who started the game slowly without any points or assists, went on a four-minute tear, scoring three of her five goals in the span. On the other end of the field, the man-to-man defensive adjustment proved correct. Duke was held to just one goal in the third, midfielder Veronica Hineman’s second of the game. Meaghan Tyrrell’s fourth goal of the quarter tied the game up with 13 apiece.

The Orange have struggled in the fourth quarter so far this season. In their last three matchups, Syracuse gave up leads and was 14 to four in the final minutes. But today’s fourth quarter was a different story. The Orange held Duke’s explosive offense to only three goals and scored five of its own.

Coming out of a late-game timeout, Syracuse had the ball and the lead with 1:29 left on the game clock and 0:69 on the shot clock. The Orange was able to possess the ball and wind the clock down, to 0:23 seconds left. Midfielder Sam Swart found the back of the net and gave the Orange a two-score lead. In a last-ditch effort, the game’s leading point-getter Cat Barry blasted a shot toward Kimber Hower. But Hower, with some help from the goalposts, was able to save the shot and secure the Orange’s victory.

An open-mouthed Kayla Treanor smiles and high-fives Sam Swart, wearing a number 3 white Syracuse jersey
Syracuse women’s lacrosse head coach Kayla Treanor congratulates midfielder Sam Swart on the sidelines

In the post-game press conference, Meaghan Tyrrell smiled at her teammate Hower after the goalie’s first collegiate start and win. “I had no idea until this moment. First start…you did pretty well.” Tyrrell, Hower, and Megan Carney left the press conference chuckling as their team pulls off it’s largest comeback of the season.

This win comes five days after Syracuse lost its first game of the season against #6 Northwestern on Tuesday. Syracuse is now 2-0 in ACC play and 5-1 on the season. Duke loss is its first of the season. The Orange head to Charlottesville to take on the University of Virginia on Saturday at noon.