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TOWSON, Md. — In its first Final Four appearance since 2016, No. 3 seed Syracuse handed No. 2 seed Northwestern its first loss of the season on Friday. The Orange scored a season-high 21 goals, with the final score coming off a twizzler shot by Emily Ehle. Meaghan Tyrrell led SU with five goals and three assists, as the Wildcats’ defense allowed the most goals it had all season.
Syracuse went on two separate 5-0 runs in the opening half to take a 10-4 advantage heading into the locker room. In the second half, Northwestern went on a 6-1 run to cut the Orange’s lead to three. But, SU responded with three straight goals to halt a comeback from the Wildcats.
Here are three takeaways from Syracuse’s eight-goal win over Northwestern in the Final Four:
SU offense finds easy scoring opportunities
The younger of the Tyrrell sisters, Emma, was rewarded with her first start of the season against Boston College. With that move, Syracuse sacrificed an attack for a midfielder in Emma Tyrrell. But it paid quick dividends for head coach Gary Gait, as Emma Tyrrell scored a hat trick within 11 minutes.
Emma Tyrrell’s third score was in a similar fashion to how Megan Carney scores regularly. Emma Tyrrell began from the left side of the field and flashed across the cage, holding her stick high. Sam Swart launched a quick pass over the top, and Emma Tyrrell caught it in stride and flung a shot across her body and into the left side of the goal.
Prior to Syracuse’s doubleheader with Boston College, Gait said that Emma Tyrrell was becoming a growing threat on offense from midfield. The sophomore entered Saturday’s game on a six-game point streak, and by the end of the afternoon, she had seven more points to her name.
Defense contains Wildcats’ top two scorers
Heading into the game, Northwestern’s top two scorers, Izzy Scane and Lauren Gilbert, were both top 10 nationally in goals. SU had run the Wildcats’ offense in practice and tested out different defensive schemes to see what would work best, Gait said in press conferences after practices.
In the first half, Syracuse moved into its high-pressure zone defense in order to suffocate Northwestern’s offense. SU’s off-ball defenders stayed attached to NU’s attacks and frequently double-teamed, too. Goalie Asa Goldstock was able to contain Scane and Gilbert, holding the pair to a combined six shots and one score in the opening period, well under their respective season averages.
Goldstock allowed just four goals on nine shots in the opening half and made 10 saves overall. With 22 minutes left in the second half, Gilbert ripped a shot that Goldstock denied, throwing her body in front of the ball. The Wildcats’ top-ranked offense, which averages nearly 21 goals per game, was held to just four in the first half. In the second half, Scane scored three goals, but Gilbert scored just once.
Ground ball and draw control wins prove key
Syracuse won 20 ground balls, compared to Northwestern’s 15 in the game. And after Northwestern took four of the first six draw controls, the Orange won seven of the last eight to close out the first period. In the second half, SU also won the battle, 10-8.
Katelyn Mashewske was in the circle most of the game for Syracuse, winning six draw controls. Ella Simkins also helped the Orange with draw controls, winning nine and picking up three ground balls.
Early in the first half, with the score tied at one, Mashewske won the draw control and moved the ball into the offensive zone. After Swart’s shot was denied by Madison Doucette, Emma Tyrrell picked up the ground ball. Emma Tyrrell found Sierra Cockerille as Meaghan Tyrrell cut into the middle of the zone and received the ball. Her left-handed shot found the back of the net, which put SU up 2-1, a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The post 3 takeaways from Syracuse’s 21-13 Final Four victory over Northwestern appeared first on The Daily Orange.