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In the fourth quarter as SU trailed by four goals, Meaghan Tyrrell faked a short flip pass to Emily Hawryschuk. Still, Meaghan kept the ball on the right side of the offensive zone as UVA’s defense scrambled to locate the ball.
As Meaghan patiently waited, freshman Olivia Adamson cut toward the center of the crease where Meaghan connected a pass and Adamson scored her second goal of the game, one that ended a 5-0 UVA scoring run to cut the deficit to 15-12 with 13 minutes left.
Though the Orange were outplayed by the Cavaliers, their weave offense and other sets performed well on Friday in No. 3 Syracuse’s (13-5, 6-3 Atlantic Coast) 18-14 defeat to No. 16 Virginia (9-8, 4-5). On Friday, SU shot the ball 26 times, including 19 which went on target.
Syracuse relied on its attacking trio of Megan Carney, Meaghan and Hawryschuk, who combined for 10 of the Orange’s 14 goals. Adamson also added a pair along with Maddy Baxter and Sam Swart picking up one each.
“I think we played well, but not good enough to win,” head coach Kayla Treanor said about the offensive performance. “There was a lot of fight. But we got to step up and be able to make plays when we have the ball offensively.”
The majority of SU’s goals came in the opening 15 minutes as the Orange scored six times. After Adamson scored an unassisted goal dodging along the right side of the 12-meter 34 seconds into the game, UVA responded with a 3-0 run.
But afterwards, SU began to utilize its weave. On its second goal, Baxter had the ball on the right side of the 12-meter. She purposely cut toward the center toward a screen set for Meaghan, which allowed Baxter to create enough separation against the Cavalier man-to-man defense in the 8-meter for a left-handed goal.
And on Syracuse’s next goal, it worked the weave offense again. This time, Adamson jogged along the top of the 12-meter from right to left, where she flipped it off to Hawryschuk, who was beginning to dodge the opposite direction. Hawryschuk accelerated into the 8-meter and launched a right-handed cross-body shot into the lower left corner past Ashley Vernon.
Vernon only recorded five saves on SU’s shots, picking up a 26.3% save percentage, though her performance was much stronger than SU’s goalies combined, who saved a total of one shot and averaged a save percentage of 5.3%.
Its offense gelled well at times, similar to SU’s performance at Virginia Tech in March. The Orange used their weave offense to go on a 13-1 run en route to a 17-5 victory over the Hokies. In that game, SU finished with a 42.2% adjusted offensive efficiency, per Lacrosse Reference, and on Friday, the Orange entered with a 33.7% offensive efficiency, 22nd best, per Lacrosse Reference.
To regain its first lead since being up 1-0, Syracuse launched two quick passes in a matter of seconds for a goal. Adamson, behind the net, passed it to Meaghan on the right side, and Meaghan timed a pass perfectly with a cutting Carney. Carney scored with a narrow shooting window to put SU up 6-5.
On an earlier goal, Carney and Meaghan connected again, but this time Carney was on the passing end. Meaghan tried to dodge in the center of the 8-meter, but she couldn’t create space, instead electing to pass the ball to Carney, who fed her back in a give-and-go for an easy finish.
“(Meaghan) usually steps up for us,” Treanor said. “In the end, we want to give our best player the ball and be in a position to make plays to win it.”
On a couple of goals in the second half, Hawryschuk showed great patience allowing for cutting runs, specifically Meaghan’s. Hawryschuk would try to dodge to get a shooting angle, but as she realized she didn’t have one, she’d take a few steps back to allow Meaghan to cut toward the crease for more higher percentage shots.
In the second half, SU didn’t receive as many offensive opportunities. Four third-quarter yellow cards and one green card constantly gave UVA possession, where the Cavaliers would use a lot of the shot clock or score on free-position opportunities. In the second half, SU scored just six goals, equal to the amount of its first-quarter goals.
Still, it wasn’t the best offensive performance. On one play, Carney had the ball on the top of the 12-meter, having her teammates spread out on the field to create space for a one-on-one. But she dodged to her right side where multiple Cavaliers checked at her stick, poking the ball loose and picking up an easy turnover. On Friday, SU finished with 14 turnovers, which is an improvement from the 23 it conceded to UVA in the first meeting between the sides.
“We had a couple turnovers on offense that were kind of crucial for us moving down the line,” Meaghan said. “Moving forward, we’re going to look to get rid of those and just making sure we’re taking the most opportune shots.”
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