Syracuse women’s lacrosse roundtable: matchup with Maryland and the senior class’s legacy
Daily Orange File Photo
Fourth-seeded Syracuse (19-5, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) will face top-seeded Maryland (21-0, 5-0 Big Ten) in the final four on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania. The Terrapins have ended the Orange’s season each of the past three years in either the final four or national championship. SU is winless in eight games against UMD over the last four years.
Beat writers Sam Fortier, Tomer Langer and Liam Sullivan answer three questions prior to the semifinal matchup.
1. What does Syracuse need to do to beat Maryland?
Sam Fortier: Aside from the obvious physical facets of the game, Syracuse needs to adopt a winner’s mentality. As cliche as that is, Syracuse is 0-8 against Maryland in the last four years. The two leads the Orange held in the first meeting on March 12, lasted just one minute, 34 seconds. Every time SU gets an edge, it can’t hang on. Through the different games over the last four years, Syracuse has at one point held a statistical edge in every category except goals scored. There’s something that goes deeper than ground balls and defensive slides. For a Syracuse program defined by limited success, getting a lead and hanging on is what can finally push it over the hump.
Tomer Langer: As Gary Gait said Monday on the NCAA coaches teleconference, Syracuse will need to play a near-perfect game. When top-level teams play against each other, it’s usually the team that makes fewest mistakes that comes away with the victory. When these two teams met in March, SU committed 18 turnovers, including 11 in the second half. That can’t happen on Friday if the Orange wants to come out with a victory. It would also help if SU got out to a fast start to avoid Maryland playing stall ball like it did last year.
Liam Sullivan: SU needs to be able to respond to the pressure and inevitable hole it will find itself in. Maryland is as good, and probably better, than advertised. Great teams go on runs — as the Terrapins did with five straight second half goals in a 14-9 win over SU on March 12 in the Carrier Dome — and it’s up to Syracuse’s attack to answer those stretches of Maryland offensive dominance with scores of its own. SU has played well in close games all tournament long and it’ll need to continue to net timely goals to have a chance Friday.
Daily Orange File Photo
2. This matchup features two of the best players in college lacrosse in Kayla Treanor and Taylor Cummings. Will this game come down to them? Why or why not?
S.F.: No. Cummings and Treanor will meet at the draw circle and certainly play huge roles in their team’s success, but the game will be decided by the help around them. Which Allie Murray will the Orange get? Can Syracuse’s second-highest goal-scorer, Nicole Levy, be effective with an injured rib? How will Syracuse’s defense — which allowed nine free position shots in the second half of the last meeting — limit Maryland’s chances? Those secondary factors will decide a game chock-full of front-line talent.
T.L.: If the game is close down the stretch, and they’re both in the draw circle, then sure. But other than that, I wouldn’t say that the game really comes down to them. There are 10 other players on the field to contribute. Halle Majorana led Syracuse in points last week against Southern California. Against Stony Brook, Treanor wasn’t a factor at all when she got faceguarded the whole game and I wouldn’t be surprised if SU’s Alexa Radziewicz faceguards Cummings the whole game. Although Cummings and Treanor are both all-time greats, it’s going to take a total team effort for either to win.
L.S.: As fun as it is to talk about, this won’t be the Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning or Floyd Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao matchup lacrosse fans want to see. With each team boasting depth at attack, in the midfield and on defense, to cheapen this matchup between two of the best college lacrosse programs in the nation wouldn’t be right. We’ve seen Treanor be completely neutralized on attack before and it would be unfair to say that it definitely won’t happen Friday. This matchup will come down to the supporting casts surrounding Treanor and Cummings. In March’s matchup, the Orange and the Terrapins combined for 23 goals — Treanor and Cummings accounted for three apiece. Obviously the impact each player has goes far beyond the number of goals scored — and both Treanor and Cummings will have a few spectacular plays Friday — but this won’t be a game decided by individuals.
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- Syracuse women’s lacrosse opponent preview: What to know about Maryland
- 3 things Cathy Reese said before Syracuse’s NCAA semifinal matchup against Maryland
- 3 things Gary Gait said before Syracuse’s NCAA semifinal matchup against Maryland
3. If Maryland ends Syracuse’s season for the fourth straight time, how would you describe this senior class’s legacy?
S.F.: Before the senior class arrived, Syracuse was a program that had made a few deep runs but was not considered a perennial national power. SU’s active streak of five straight trips to the season’s final weekend is largely due to the senior class. When SU star Michelle Tumolo tore her ACL in 2013, freshman Kayla Treanor carried her team to the final four. Syracuse is now firmly established as a national power, but one that has never been able to win it all. A class that entered ranked No. 1 in the nation has been to the Final Four every year, but a national championship — or even a single victory over Maryland — would justify that ranking. The legacy now is they were good, but never good enough.
Courtesy of The Diamondback
T.L.: Win or lose, this senior class still goes down as one of the best classes in Syracuse history. Making four straight final fours, winning two conference championships and having the best player in program history will do that. This senior class might always be remembered for never beating Maryland, but a lot of teams are going to be remembered for that. Women’s lacrosse has a bevy of talent coming in, but for now it’s still a very top-heavy sport. And just because SU’s class couldn’t beat the most dominant team in the country doesn’t mean that all its accomplishments shouldn’t be praised.
L.S.: Second-best. So much talent, so many great wins and tournament runs, but to consistently fall short to the Terrapins and for an almost unbelievable four straight years is a disappointment that will haunt this program for countless years. If Friday marks the last game of the 11 seniors’s and 2 graduate students’s careers then they leave their legacy incomplete. To be the best, you need to beat the best. Syracuse and this senior class just hasn’t done that.
Published on May 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm