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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — As Boston College announced its starting lineups, Kayla Treanor stood at midfield to greet her former players with handshakes and hugs.
Last season, before she was named Syracuse’s head coach, Treanor was a BC assistant, celebrating an NCAA championship win over SU. The Orange could only watch as their efforts weren’t enough to beat the Eagles for their first national title.
On Friday, in the first meeting between the two teams since last May, things remained the same — even with Treanor on the Syracuse sideline — and SU (13-4, 6-2 Atlantic Coast) fell to Boston College 15-13 (14-2, 6-2 ACC) after a fourth-quarter comeback attempt fell short.
“I just don’t think we played our best lacrosse tonight,” Treanor said postgame. “I think we’re a better team than we showed.”
Last year in the championship, it was All-American Charlotte North who opened the scoring, but on Friday, Meaghan Tyrrell, Syracuse’s leading scorer, netted the game’s first goal. Olivia Adamson passed it to her from behind the net, and she attacked down the right side and gave Syracuse the lead.
Possessions later, Sam Swart turned the ball over on a bad pass, leading to shooting space for North on the other end. North, who had six goals in the championship game last season, easily netted her first goal to even the game. She finished with a hat trick and three assists.
On Syracuse’s second goal, Megan Carney nailed a shot from close range. SU had played its prior three games without her after she left with a knee injury against UNC, but the senior made an instant impact in her return.
“Her chemistry is already built in with all the players on offense,” Meaghan Tyrrell said of Carney’s return. “When she was out, we missed her.”
Following Carney’s goal, sophomore midfielder Jenny Markey had a free-position opportunity after a Boston College three-second violation. Markey scored her sixth goal in the last three games to give Syracuse a 3-1 lead with six minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Belle Smith returned with a goal of her own, but on the next possession, Emily Hawryschuk, Syracuse’s new career-leading scorer, did what she has done so many times in her career and drove through three Boston College defenders before throwing in a shot past Rachel Hall to again make the lead two goals. The Eagles tacked on two more goals to even the game up at the end of the quarter, though.
In the second quarter, Boston College won the draw and earned a free-position opportunity but couldn’t convert and missed the shot. Still, Syracuse went cold on offense for the first five minutes. Hawryschuk, usually a consistent free-position shooter, wound up from the top right of the 8-meter arc, but her long shot went into the crossbar.
The Eagles took advantage of SU’s miscues, and North played distributor with the defense focused on her. She assisted Cassidy Weeks to give the Eagles the lead for the first time of the evening, 5-4.
With five minutes left in the quarter, Swart faked a toss to Adamson and found space for her first goal of the game. Syracuse evened the game back up two minutes later in a similar play, but this time it was Carney to Meaghan Tyrrell. But North recorded another assist when she looped around the goal and found Belle on the other side uncovered near the end of the quarter, and Syracuse trailed by one going into halftime.
To start the second half, the Orange lost the ball on the offensive end after a poor pass from Maddy Baxter, and the Eagles scored in transition to take a 8-6 lead. Then, Kayla Martello caught the ball on the right side of the 8-meter box and before a SU defender could close out to her, she hit the shot for a three-goal Boston College lead.
BC had a chance to add to that lead on the ensuing possession, but Caitlynn Mossman turned the ball over on a free-position attempt. The Orange cleared the ball to the other end, and Hallie Simkins drew two defenders before dishing it to Hawryschuk, who danced her way to the front of the net and fired a shot past Hall.
But like last year, Syracuse just couldn’t make a strong enough run. Even after a Natalie Smith long-shot goal, the defense faltered and Katie Goodale fouled Weeks, giving her a free-position chance that she scored on to give the Eagles a 12-8 lead as the third quarter wound down. And in the fourth quarter, Boston College extended its lead to five right off the first possession when Kate Mashewske lost the ball to North and Belle scored.
After goals by Meaghan Tyrrell and Swart, Syracuse cut the lead back to three. Mashewske earned another draw control after a violation from North, and Meaghan Tyrrell isolated her defender and threaded the needle on her fourth goal of the game, giving SU life down 13-11 with 10 minutes left.
Treanor called a timeout to help Syracuse talk over its plan of attack after Mashewske won the draw. The ball was put in Hawryschuk’s hands, who recognized an isolation situation just as Meaghan Tyrrell had before, and scored in similar fashion.
Later, Adamson scooped up the ground ball and passed it to a streaking Carney, who didn’t have a defender in front of her for the next 30 yards. But Sydney Scales made up for her turnover by hustling back into the play and whacked Carney’s stick, forcing the ball loose and preventing the fast-break goal.
After moving the ball around for 30 seconds, Mossman passed it to Smith, who ended Syracuse’s 4-0 run putting the Eagles back up two with seven minutes left. The two teams went scoreless on the next two possessions, Hawryschuk missed a free-position shot with four minutes, and Jenn Medjid scored. And 11 months after the last loss to Eagles, it was once again the Orange coming up short — even with Treanor on their sideline this time.
“We were able to come back and make it a game,” Treanor said. “We didn’t have a great third quarter, but (in the) fourth quarter we played well and it was unfortunate we couldn’t come away with a win.”
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