231 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761 [email protected] 808.123.4567

Beat writer Q&A: The Daily Northwestern’s Ella Brockway discusses NU women’s lacrosse

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 17, 2019 at 4:46 pm Contact KJ: [email protected] | @KJEdelman No. 5-seed Syracuse (16-4, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) will travel to Evanston, Illinois to take on No. 4-seed Northwestern (15-4, 5-1 Big Ten) for a spot in the national semifinals. In their matchup on Feb. 24, SU scored two goals in the final five minutes and defeated Northwestern with an Emily Hawryschuk game-winner. The Orange last defeated Georgetown by six goals and the Wildcats defeated Notre Dame, 13-10. Before the opening draw at 2 p.m. on Saturday, The Daily Northwestern’s Ella Brockway answered some questions about the Orange’s opponent.Courtesy of Ella BrockwayThe Daily Orange: Northwestern lost to Syracuse earlier this season but since it defeated No. 1 Maryland. How has Northwestern evolved throughout the season?AdvertisementThis is placeholder textElla Brockway: I talked to Northwestern head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller yesterday and that was the message she was pushing. Speaking on behalf of Northwestern and Syracuse, these two teams have improved since they played in February.From a Northwestern-specific angle, offensively, they’ve gotten a lot sharper. Brennan Dwyer, their draw control specialist, has developed into one of the top draw control girls in the country in the last few months. A big change you can look specifically at is when then these two teams played in February, freshman Izzy Scane was playing defense then. After some time after the Syracuse game, she’s averaging the second-most goals on the team after Selena Lasota, so I think that’s a tangible shift to look at and be like this team has gotten exponentially better from that.They’re clicking really well offensively. Defensively, they look a lot stronger. They’re still allowing around 13 goals a game which isn’t great, but since the Syracuse game they’ve shifted goalkeepers from redshirt sophomore Julie Krupnick to senior Mallory Weisse and that’s been a strong shift in the cage. (Weisse) had a really strong end to the regular season and has had an incredible postseason run so far.D.O.: What are some of the Northwestern players and coaches strategizing or saying about playing SU again?E.B.: I think they emphasized the message that Northwestern is very much improved team and Syracuse is too. When I talked to Lasota yesterday, she emphasized that Syracuse plays the zone and that’s not something that Northwestern has faced all too often this regular season. But that’s going to be one challenge that they’re aware of.Also, that Syracuse has a ton of offense. They know that Hawryschuk has the majority of their goals but they share the ball well. They have a lot of players with 20 or so assists on the season.D.O.: How big has face-guarding played into NU’s defensive strategy? Nell Copeland face-guarded Emily Hawryschuk for most of the game three months ago.E.B.: Definitely when they play a team that has that one kind of big scorer. That’s a perfect example of how that face-guarding strategy worked. When Northwestern played Notre Dame, Nell Copeland face-guarded Maddie Howe, their leading scorer. They really shut Howe down that game, she only had one or two goals. Then, they did that same strategy most of the game against Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament.When they face a team that has that one prolific scorer, someone like Nell Copeland has made it work in the last five or so games that they’ve played. I think Maryland didn’t have one big scorer, so I don’t think face-guarded that much. But looking back, I definitely know they did it against Notre Dame twice. They’re well accustomed to this strategy and I wouldn’t be surprised if they employ it against Syracuse.D.O.: Lasota and Hawryschuk both play similar roles, 70 goals each and star attacks on their teams. Do you think down the stretch, assuming this is a close game, one of them will have to take over and which will it be?E.B.: That’s a good question. Had you asked me this a year ago I would’ve said to win a game like this, Northwestern would need a five or six goal game from Lasota. Against Syracuse last time, she was held to only two goals. The main difference about this team and the reason why there’s potential to make it back to the final four, it’s the depth under Lasota.Coming into this season, everyone was under the impression that Lasota was going to be this entire offense and it would run through her — needing to score six to eight goals a game to win. But she’s still doing that, dropping five, six goals a game, but there’s so much depth underneath her like Scane with 56 goals on the season or Lindsey McKone and Lauren Gilbert in the 40, 50 goal range. This Northwestern program hasn’t had that kind of depth in scoring in at least four seasons.I think that’s an advantage has, especially now developed since they last played Syracuse. Yes, Lasota needs to have a big game because she’s a focal point of this offense, but at the time Northwestern has a lot more offensive weapons that they didn’t have in February or haven’t had in past seasons.D.O.: What’s the biggest X-factor for Saturday’s game?E.B.: I would say from a Northwestern angle is going to be its defense. It definitely hasn’t been its strongest point this season. One of things that stood out in the Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA tournament that Northwestern went up 8-0 in the first half, but let Notre Dame come back. Notre Dame scored (four) straight goals, and there’s a lot of defensive holes.Some younger defensive girls are hurt, so it’s looked a little shaky at times. A message they have is really reiterated over these past few weeks is they have to play a full 60 minutes and that’s something they haven’t done much this season. So if Northwestern can be solid defensively, it’d be their biggest X-factor. At the same time, if Syracuse is able to capitalize on those holes and go on those long extended runs, that could be a change in the game.D.O.: Who do you predict to advance to the final four?E.B.: It’s a tough question. I think it’s going to a very different game since they played in February — they’re a lot more mature since then and really developed as a whole. With the home-field advantage, which is the first time since 2013 Northwestern has played a quarterfinal at home, and with the amount of scorers they can rely about, I would give Northwestern the slight edge. But it’s going to be a really close one. I would go probably go 15-13, that’s my official prediction. Commentslast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *