Depth and Defense Propel Syracuse to NCAA Quarterfinal Win over JMU


Megan Carney celebrates after scoring a goal in Syracuse's 13-7 win over James Madison in an NCAA quarterfinal at JMA Wireless Dome.

SYRACUSE, N.Y.  — Olivia Adamson’s all-around performance and Syracuse’s tough defense propelled the second-seeded Orange over seventh-seeded James Madison 13-7 in an NCAA quarterfinal Thursday at JMA Wireless Dome. The Dukes’ seven goals were the fewest they scored this season.

Adamson, an attacker and draw control specialist, consistently planted herself right in front of the crease, waiting for feeds from a teammates and knocking the ball into the back of the net. She finished with four goals, two assists and nine of Syracuse’s 15 draw controls.

“Our players up top did a great job dodging and drawing that defense, and we have so many threats that it’s impossible to cover all seven of us,” Adamson said. “Coach [Kayla] Treanor just did a great job pointing out some of the holes. I just found them and finished the ball.”

Syracuse struggled at the outset and was scoreless until Adamson got the Orange on the board with back-to-back goals assisted by Meaghan Tyrrell and Natalie Smith about a minute apart late in the first quarter to give Syracuse a slim 2-1 lead.

It was 3-3 late in the second quarter when Adamson stepped up again, finishing a Tyrrell feed with 24 seconds remaining. She won the ensuing draw and Sierra Cockerille deposited a free position with nine seconds left to send Syracuse into halftime ahead 5-3.

The Orange scored the first two goals of the third quarter and the margin only widened from there.

Both teams featured a Tewaaraton Award finalist. Tyrrell was limited to just two assists while James Madison’s Isabella Peterson — the nation’s top scorer who had seven goals to spark the Dukes’ comeback win over Maryland in the second round — scored just twice.

The Orange’s improved defense stemmed from a recent change moving Tessa Queri from midfield to defense, coach Kayla Treanor said. Queri grabbed six ground balls and caused three turnovers.

“Defense wins championships and the defense came ready to play today,” Treanor said.

Offensively, Syracuse (18-2) tapped into its depth. Megan Carney scored three goals, Emma Ward had two goals and two assists and Cockerille added two goals in the win.

“Any given day, anybody can step up. You can’t run defensive game plans to stop one or two or three players,” Treanor said. “It’s such a dynamic offense.”

Despite boasting a top-three defensive unit, James Madison (19-3) struggled to maintain momentum, missing key shots and numerous loose balls, coach Shelley Klaes said. Syracuse finished with double the ground balls than JMU had, 24-12.

“We never gave up,” Klaes said. “In the second half, we were able to kill their runs each time. Every time they scored two, we scored one, which kept us in the game.”

Syracuse went up 7-3 on a scramble. Carney fought over a ground ball, but Katelyn Morgan grabbed possession and passed it to James Madison goalkeeper Kat Buchanan. The ball popped out of Buchanan’s stick, bringing Tyrrell to dive to try to intercept it.

Adamson ended up grabbing the ball. She quickly passed to Ward, who darted the ball into the cage at the 10:01 mark, giving Syracuse a four-goal lead.

Ward’s four points all came in the second half, culminating in a behind-the-back pass to Carney, who flick a behind-the-back shot into the goal to finish off the Dukes in the fourth quarter.

“Last game when she threw that same sort of transition pass to me, I told her I wanted to finish it behind-the-back, but it wasn’t the right time to do that,” Carney said. “Just happened today.”

The Orange improved to 2-0 all-time against James Madison, previously defeating the Dukes 7-3 in the 2010 NCAA quarterfinals. Syracuse is 8-0 all-time in NCAA quarterfinal games played at home.

The Orange will play third-seeded Boston College in the NCAA semifinals May 26 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The Eagles handed Syracuse its lone loss in the regular season, defeating the Orange 17-16 in the teams’ regular season finale.

Most Recent

Wonder No More: Delaney Ott has Made the Jump from WLCA to Division I

The WCLA goalie of the year in 2022 and 2023, Ott is now testing herself at Duke.

Michigan's 2023 Late-Season Run Didn't Happen by Accident

Michael Boehm helped Michigan reach the NCAAs for the first time in 2023.

Three Brothers Made Syracuse ‘Home’ for Top Recruit Alexa Spallina

Spallina will be the second person in her family to arrive on The Hill as a No. 1 recruit.

How a 30-Year-Old Army Veteran Got Another Shot at College Lacrosse

After six years in the service, Henry White is back in the game at Duke.

Twitter Posts

Get the best and latest from delivered weekly straight to your inbox: