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Syracuse remained undefeated on Saturday after a 17-16 overtime win over then-No. 17 Notre Dame. The Tyrrell sisters combined for six goals, and Emma led the team with seven points and Meaghan scored the game-winner one minute into the extra time. Emily Hawryschuk continued to be a top scoring option, finishing with four goals.
The road trip continues against a familiar postseason foe as SU travels to Evanston, Illinois, to face No. 6 Northwestern. The Orange lost to the Wildcats in the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2019 and beat them in the NCAA Semifinals in 2021.
Here’s what you need to know about the 2022 Wildcats:
Northwestern leads 14-7.
Last time they played
Northwestern entered last season’s semifinal matchup with an undefeated record and the nation’s highest goal-scoring rate. Izzy Scane and Lauren Gilbert were both top 10 goal scorers despite playing fewer than 20 games in 2021. To prepare for the Wildcats’ top scorers, then-head coach Gary Gait said that the Orange ran their opponent’s offense to see which defenses would work best.
Gait’s plan worked as Syracuse held Northwestern to a season-low 13 goals to move on to the national championship. Scane and Gilbert were held to a combined five goals in a dominant defensive effort from SU. Asa Goldstock made 10 saves as the Orange jumped to a 10-2 lead in the first half. In the second half, the Wildcats went on a 7-1 run but were unable to complete the comeback as Syracuse’s attackers continued to score. Meaghan led SU with five goals and three assists, while then-freshman Emma Ward added six points of her own.
The Northwestern report
The Wildcats’ offense took a significant blow even before the season had started. On Dec. 5, 2021, Scane announced on Instagram that she would miss the entire 2022 season due to an ACL injury. Scane led the nation in goals per game in 2021 and earned Big Ten Attacker of the Year honors.
In its opening game of the season, Northwestern felt the loss of Scane as it was held to under 10 goals for the first time since 2018 in a loss to No. 1 Boston College.
But since the loss in Chestnut Hill, the Wildcats’ haven’t lost and their offense has returned to its top status. Northwestern is in the top 10 for goals per game with a mark of 16.5. In three consecutive wins over Marquette, Arizona State and Notre Dame, NU combined for 57 goals.
How Syracuse beats Northwestern
The Orange had no trouble scoring against the Wildcats’ defense last season. SU used an aggressive counterattack and took advantage of goalie Madison Doucette’s right side to put goals on the board. And with most of the offensive talent returning from last season, scoring against Northwestern will not be a problem.
The Orange also scored five goals at the free position in the Final Four game. In 2022, Hawyrschuk has led the team with five free position goals, so Syracuse should be able to draw fouls and get the graduate student involved.
And on the draw, specialist Katelyn Mashewske will go up against a Northwestern team that features three different players who have over 10 draw controls: Jill Girardi, Samantha White and Samantha Smith. Along with Mashewske’s early struggles, SU will probably incorporate other midfielders on the draw. Emma Tyrrell led Syracuse in draw control wins on Saturday against the Fighting Irish.
Player to watch: Lauren Gilbert, attack, No. 1
Scane was one of the top scorers in the country and a Tewaaraton finalist, and her success overshadowed Gilbert’s solid 2021 season. Last year, Gilbert earned a spot on Big Ten’s all-conference first team, scoring 75 points. Scane finished with the majority of shots, but Gilbert was not too far behind, sharing 20.3% of the Wildcat’s shots.
This season, Gilbert leads NU in both points and goals. She is one of Northwestern’s longest-tenured players and has the seventh-highest goals per game average in program history.
Maya Goosman | Digital Design Director
Stat to know: 23.5%
NU’s attack has one of the lower offensive efficiencies in the country when adjusted for garbage time. According to the Lacrosse Reference, “the garbage time filter uses a cut-off of 95% win probability to determine whether a play will count in the non-garbage time metrics.”
Northwestern’s offense has a top 30 efficiency in the country, per Lacrosse Reference. However, when the garbage time filter is removed, the Wildcats’ efficiency falls from 29th in the country to 88th.
In the win over Marquette, garbage time started in the second quarter when NU scored 15 goals for the rest of the game. But in more competitive second halves, the Wildcats aren’t always as dominant. Against BC, Northwestern cut the deficit to three midway through the third. After Carleigh Mahoney’s goal made it 9-6, the Eagles outscored the Wildcats 9-3 to end the game.
The post Opponent Preview: What to know about No. 6 Northwestern appeared first on The Daily Orange.