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The eye of the Tiger stares at Syracuse

 Syracuse attack Olivia Adamson (White #1) dodges Fairfield’s defense in the NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse attack Olivia Adamson dodges Fairfield’s defense in the NCAA Tournament. The freshman had a career-high five goals.

Syracuse bent but didn’t break in its 12-11 win over Fairfield in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday. The Orange led 12-8 over halfway through the fourth quarter, but three Stags goals in a four-minute frame heightened the pressure. But a clutch draw control from Bianca Chevarie and a ground ball pickup by Sarah Cooper with under 10 seconds left was enough to help SU escape.

“It was just a do-or-die moment for the team,” Head Coach Kayla Treanor said. “They really dug in and did what they needed to do to force missed shots and take a lot of time off the clock, and luckily we were able to walk away with the win.”

The Freshman Phenom Shines as The Stars Struggle

Syracuse’s star players had an uncharacteristically rough game. Meaghan Tyrrell had just five shots on goal. Emily Hawryschuk scored just twice on 11 shots. Megan Carney didn’t find the back of the net.

Picture1.png Syracuse attack Emily Hawryschuk (White #51) works around Fairfield’s defense in the NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse attack Emily Hawryschuk works around Fairfield’s defense in the NCAA Tournament. The grad student recorded two goals in the win.

With the stars struggling, SU desperately needed someone to step up. Enter Olivia Adamson.

“Without Olivia, I don’t think we win today,” Treanor said. “She stepped up in a big moment.”

The Goalie Questionnaire

The Kimber Hower that beat Fairfield looked like an entirely different Kimber Hower than the one that struggled against Virginia in the ACC Tournament. The UNC transfer recorded 7 saves while allowing just six goals through the first 45 minutes of play. That made Treanor’s decision to put Hannah Van Middelem in the game in between the 3rd and 4th quarters all the more confusing. Van Middelem’s performance wasn’t pretty. In just over 11 minutes of action, the Mount Sinai, N.Y. native allowed five goals without recording a save. Hower came back in with just under 4 to play and preserved the victory. Hower should start in net Sunday, but putting Van Middelem in late against Fairfield leaves some doubt.

Who’s Up Next?

Immediately after Syracuse beat Fairfield, Princeton beat UMass 15-9. The Tigers are white-hot. Princeton has won eight straight games. Only two of them were decided by three or fewer goals. They’re not only playing bottom-dwellers. This year, the Tigers are 4-3 against ranked opponents, including a 17-11 win over the same-Virginia team that knocked SU out of the ACC Tournament.

When talking about individual players, one has to start with Kyla Sears. This year, the Skaneateles, N.Y. native, has torn apart the competition, leading her team with 67 goals and 30 assists. Supporting Sears are Grace Tauckus, Kate Mulham, and McKenzie Blake, all of whom have topped 35 goals.

More Adversity Ahead

Even though the Orange are the fifth seed in the NCAA Tournament, they won’t enjoy the comforts of home this weekend due to SU graduation ceremonies. Syracuse now must deal with a true road game at Sherrard Field in New Jersey. It’s unideal, but in a way, it’s very fitting. The Orange have dealt with adversity all year long. SU lost Emma Ward before the season even started, Sierra Cockerille and Emma Tyrrell were both injured mid-season, Carney missed time, and the Orange’s performance in the ACC Tournament left a lot to be desired. Now with a road game in the NCAA Tournament that could’ve been played at home, the Orange must fight to keep their national championship dreams alive.