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Syracuse women’s lacrosse dumped from ACC Tournament by Virginia

Attacker Megan Carney (22, white) looks to find a teammate in Syracuse's 18-14 loss to Virginia
Attacker Megan Carney (22, white) looks to find a teammate in Syracuse's 18-14 loss to Virginia

As the rain in South Bend, Indiana steadily picked up, a consistently shaky night for Syracuse women’s lacrosse took a turn into disaster.

The sixth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers (9-8) outshot, outpaced and outworked the Orange to earn an 18-14 victory, their finest of the season. By winning their ninth game, the Hoos officially secured NCAA tournament eligibility, advancing to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament against defending national champions Boston College.

For Syracuse, (13-5), the loss marked a few dubious distinctions. The Orange are now on their first losing streak of any kind since May of 2018, when they also last were eliminated in the first round of a conference tournament. SU will have to wait at least another year to win its first ACC crown since 2015, when head coach Kayla Treanor was a junior attacker on the team.

It was the worst defensive effort Syracuse has put together all season, marked by costly penalties and lackluster goaltending.

The Orange were whistled for five yellow cards, including four in the third quarter, when Virginia went on a four-goal run to seize a 14-11 lead. Three of those goals were scored on woman-up opportunities, including Ashlyn McGovern’s free position shot with Meaghan Tyrrell, Natalie Smith, and Bianca Chevarie all crowded into the penalty box together.

Kimber Hower, who has started every game in goal for Syracuse since March 6, saved just one shot while allowing 14 of the 18 goals. Delaney Sweitzer was briefly inserted for the end of the second quarter and the start of the third, allowing four more goals without a save.

Offensively, the Orange were led by Meaghan Tyrrell with four goals and a pair of assists. Emily Hawryschuk totaled five points and Megan Carney had four, finishing with her first hat trick since March 19 against Virginia Tech.

Friday night was a coming-out party for Virginia freshman Rachel Clark, who weaved and stutter-stepped her way to a game-high six goals. The 2021 Philly Lacrosse High School Co-Player of the Year played her best game when it counted, finishing just one shy of her career high in points with seven.

The Cavaliers were also bolstered by Morgan Schwab with three goals and four assists, while McGovern had four goals and one helper.

Having suffered their early exit, the Orange will now have to wait two weeks before taking the field again in the NCAA Tournament. SU is a virtual lock for a bid but is now unlikely to earn a first-round bye, which is reserved for just the top three seeds in the country.

Syracuse will learn its fate Sunday, May 8 when the bracket is released, before heading to their first-round site to open the tournament Friday, May 13.