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Syracuse enters the second of its three-game road trip having won two straight after picking up its third conference win against Virginia. After trailing 5-4 early in the second quarter, a 5-0 run by the Orange recaptured the lead and they never trailed again, going on to win 17-11.
Meaghan Tyrrell recorded her second consecutive five-goal game while her younger sister, Emma Tyrrell, added three goals. It was a collective effort offensively as seven different players scored for the Orange.
Here’s everything to know about No. 13 Florida (2-4, 0-0 American Athletic) before Syracuse (6-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) travels to Gainesville:
Syracuse leads 8-4.
Last time they played
Last season, to send Syracuse to its eighth NCAA Final Four game, the Orange defeated the Gators 17-11, and were led by Emma Ward, whose six goals were one shy of tying SU’s most in a game by a freshman. In the first half, the sides went back and forth entering halftime tied at five goals apiece.
But to open the second half, Syracuse went on a 5-0 run in 10 minutes to effectively put the game out of reach for the Gators as SU led 10-5. With eight minutes to go, Florida cut the deficit to three goals, but a 4-1 run by the Orange in the game’s final seven minutes secured the victory.
SU had six different goal scorers on the day, four of whom had multiple goals including Ward (6), Emma (4), Meaghan (3) and Sam Swart (2). The Orange outshot the Gators 35-24, and 80% of SU’s shots were on frame. Though the Gators had eight different goal-scorers, the most any individual player scored was two.
The Gators report
After finishing 2021 8-3 and winning the AAC Championship, the Gators — in just six games — have already surpassed last season’s loss total with four losses to ranked opponents. It only has two wins, against Kennesaw State and Liberty, where it outscored them 36-13.
Its offensive production took a blow this season as its three leading goal-scorers in 2021 — Shannon Kavanagh, Brianna Harris and Grace Haus — all graduated. The trio accounted for 52.5% of the Gators’ total points and took 54% of the team’s shots. Now, it’s led by Danielle Pavinelli and Emma LoPinto, who are the only players to have double-digit goals for Florida.
Projected as the unanimous favorite to win the American Athletic Conference this year, Florida is the ninth best team in terms of ELO rating and has the 36th-best strength of record, per Lacrosse Reference. Its schedule will get easier with matchups against Marist, Drexel and Mercer around the corner, and it can likely get above .500 when conference play starts as Florida has won 40 consecutive regular season conference games dating back to when the program played in the Big East.
How Syracuse beats Florida
After going down 1-0 early against Virginia, SU responded with a 10-3 run and entered the fourth quarter with a 13-9 lead. The Orange occasionally have had issues maintaining late game leads evident in their matches against Northwestern and Notre Dame.
Syracuse shouldn’t have too many problems against Florida as this isn’t the same Gators side they saw last season. Though the Gators are the 31st best team nationally in shot percentage, Syracuse — who ranks sixth — has already secured wins over Stony Brook, Stanford and Duke, who all rank in the top 35 in the country in shot percentage.
SU needs to secure the draw and create more opportunities for its attack which ranks sixth in offensive shooting percentage, per Lacrosse Reference. Syracuse hasn’t been perfect on the draw, but Kate Mashewske and the draw unit shouldn’t struggle too much against a side that ranks 86th in draw control percentage.
Player to watch: Danielle Pavinelli, midfield, No. 10
The 2021 AAC Freshman of the Year now holds the responsibility of leading the attack with the Gators losing the bulk of their last year’s offensive production. As a freshman, Pavinelli played in all 21 games, starting 18 of them and scored 30 goals, the team’s fifth-most.
Through six games in 2022, Pavinelli leads the Gators offensively with 22 goals and is one of two players who has scored double-digit goals. She’s scored multiple goals in all but one game so far this season, with her best performance against North Carolina when she recorded a career-high eight points.
Last season against Syracuse, the Orange silenced her as she only scored one point on the Gator’s last goal of the afternoon, a point where the game was completely out of reach.
Stat to know: 19.1%
Per Lacrosse Reference, the Gators defense has an efficiency of 19.1% on short possessions — possessions that last less than 30 seconds. But as possessions prolong, Florida becomes more efficient defensively with a 45.2% clip on possessions that last over a minute.
If Syracuse can win the draw control and immediately get the ball down to its offensive side and develop its plays quickly, it’ll likely unsettle the Gators defensively and allow more opportunities for shots against a team that allows 14.75 goals per game against ranked opponents.
SU’s attacking threat of Meaghan, Emily Hawryschuk and Megan Carney have shown that they have the ability to dodge one-on-one situations with defenders and get the ball in the net. The trio accounts for 58% of Syracuse’s goals this season and all have scored multiple goals in SU’s last two games. With the ball in the sticks of its best attackers early in the possession, it will likely create problems defensively for Florida who has lost four of its last five.
The post Opponent Preview: Everything to know about No. 13 Florida appeared first on The Daily Orange.