On Thursday evening, #5 Boston College Women’s Lacrosse travels up to Syracuse, NY to face the #1 Syracuse Orange for their final game of the regular season. BC comes into this game riding high on a 6-game win streak and fresh off of a resounding 25-13 victory over #12 Virginia that pushed them up to the 2-seed in the ACC. Syracuse is an undefeated 15-0 this season and is coming off of a close 14-12 victory over #3 North Carolina.
When: Thursday April 20th at 7pm ET
Where: SU Soccer Stadium, Syracuse, NY
How to Watch: The game will be broadcasted live on the ACC Network.
This one has some big, big stakes. If Boston College manages to pull off the upset of Syracuse, they will overtake the Orange and claim their spot as the ACC’s top dog. Claiming that 1-seed in the conference tournament could prove absolutely vital to their chances of an ACC crown, Final Four appearance, and more. A 1-seed in the ACC tournament means they would be able to avoid North Carolina in the ACC semifinals and instead would likely face Notre Dame or Virginia, two teams that they’ve already beaten this season. UNC has been BC’s Achilles heel in recent history as the Tarheels defeated the Eagles in last season’s National Championship Game, ACC Championship Game, and in 3-straight regular season contests. BC did, however, claim a thrilling victory over North Carolina in 2021’s Final Four on their way to the program’s first ever national title. BC, Syracuse, and UNC are the clear-cut top tier of the ACC, so securing a 1-seed in the conference would be a huge relief and make their path to a conference title much easier.
Winning against Syracuse is no easy feat, though. The Orange are undefeated and have been steamrolling almost all of their opponents this season, with only 3 of their 15 wins being decided by 4 goals or less. One of those close wins came last week against UNC, a contest that was close all of the way through until Syracuse scored the final two goals with under 4 minutes to play. Meaghan Tyrell, Syracuse’s star player, scored twice in that game and has been a force to be reckoned with this season, racking up an ACC-leading 86 points and also scoring the most game-winning goals in the conference. Tyrell has led that Syracuse offense to be the top-scoring in all of women’s lacrosse. Their shot volume is not particularly notable, but their shooting% is off the charts, scoring on .522 of all attempts. Similarly on defense, they are not particularly effective at limiting shot attempts, but their goalkeepers have been brick walls and make it difficult to score inside.
BC has struggled against top teams like that this season, dropping early games to #2 Northwestern, #3 UNC, and #8 Denver, and has yet to prove this year that they can compete with the truly elite squads of 2023. But they’ve stepped it up in recent weeks back to where fans are used to seeing them. They posted a huge 4th-quarter comeback against #8 Notre Dame, demolished #12 Virginia, and have won 6-straight to play themselves all the way back up to 2nd place in the ACC. With so much elite championship experience on this roster, these players have been in spots like this before and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if they defy expectations.
BC’s keys to victory will be drawing fouls, winning time of possession, and peppering the Syracuse goal with as many shots as possible.
- One of Syracuse’s biggest weaknesses this season has been the rate at which they foul opponents, worst in the ACC. BC, on the other hand, is the ACC’s least penalized team and can gain a significant advantage if they are able to frustrate the Orange into committing fouls.
- BC also needs to take advantage of their possession time and shooting volume. Syracuse stops a high percentage of shots, but they tend to give up a decent amount of inside possessions and BC is one of the nation’s best at shots per game. By getting inside early and often, the Eagles can try to overwhelm the Syracuse defense and brute force some goals that other teams just haven’t been able to do.
It will be an uphill climb for sure, but Boston College is a team full of experienced veterans and top-tier talent. With these players and coaches, and huge stakes on the line for the postseason, anything can happen. Tune in at 7pm on Thursday for the most important regular season match of the year.