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Syracuse women's lacrosse begins ACC Tournament play against Virginia Tech

Syracuse's Emma Ward (44) embraces her teammates after a goal.
Syracuse's Emma Ward (44) embraces her teammates after a goal.

After 16 games, it’s playoff time for Syracuse (15-1, 8-1 Atlantic Coastal Conference) as it takes on Virginia Tech (10-8, 3-6 ACC) in its first game of the ACC Tournament. It’ll be the second time these two teams see each other this season. The first time, Syracuse beat the Hokies 16-5 in the JMA Wireless Dome.

While this will be a rematch, both teams are very different than when they last saw each other. The Orange will be without draw control specialist Kate Mashewske, who dominated the draw circle in the last matchup, winning nine draw controls during the game. The Hokies have been a much different team in the second half of the year, posting a 9-4 record since they lost to Syracuse.

This will be unfamiliar territory for the Orange. They’ll be coming off a loss for the first time this season. The loss came against Boston College (13-3, 8-1 ACC) in a game where the Orange had control until the 2nd half, losing a 12-6 advantage in the 3rd period and eventually losing 17-16. Head coach Kayla Treanor noted Boston College’s ability to win the draw control battle in the 2nd half. The usually confident Orange displayed a crack in their armor, as Boston College’s late-game rally deprived Syracuse of a perfect regular season.

Despite the loss, Syracuse has enjoyed one of the best regular seasons in program history, winning 15 games in a row with nine wins against ranked teams. They also have seven All-ACC Team members on their roster, most notably Delaniey Sweitzer and Meaghan Tyrrell, who is now the all-time points leader in program history. Tyrrell has also been a strong candidate for the Tewaaraton Award throughout the season, finishing 2nd in the nation with 89 total points.

Tyrrell has been handling business offensively while Sweitzer has held down the defensive end. The ‘Cuse goalie has put up a .532 save percentage, which is good for 4th in the country. She’s one of two goalies who are nominees for the Tewaaraton Award.

Virginia Tech has a couple of heavy hitters that Syracuse is familiar with, namely attacker Olivia Vergano, who scored two goals in the last contest between these teams. Vergano finished 28th in the country in goals scored and was placed on the 2nd Team All-ACC along with three of her teammates. One of those teammates was goalie Jocelyn Torres, who made the 3rd Team All-ACC. Torres has been putting it together in the crease, posting 36 saves in the past five games and allowing under 10 goals in three of those games.

Virginia Tech will be the first opponent in a highly anticipated postseason run for Syracuse. After a dominant regular season, the team has championship aspirations and is in the hunt for the program's first NCAA championship. Meanwhile, for the Hokies, they’ll try to extend their late-season surge into the playoffs and collect an upset against the second seeded Orange. First draw is 4 p.m. in Charlotte, North Carolina.