A look ahead: Cornell at Syracuse

Syracuse head coach Gary Gait has his team rolling. With Cornell coming into town Tuesday afternoon, the Orange can't afford to let up now. More inside.

A lot of ice baths. That's the recipe according to Syracuse junior Alyssa Murray when it comes to the women's lacrosse team's three games in five days homestand at the Carrier Dome. The Orange will face Cornell – a team that has been in-and-out with the Top 20 – Tuesday night at 4 p.m.

After starting off hot the first half the season, the halfway point proved tenuous for Cornell with losses against No. 3 North Carolina, Penn, No. 13 Princeton and No. 16 Dartmouth. The Big Red got back on track with a 9-7 win against Brown this past Friday. Cornell has the components to contend with Syracuse. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

Wildcat Reunion: When Freshmen Emily Tripodi and Maddy Huegel take to the field the two will be on opposite ends – as opponents. The West Genesee High School alums are just two of a 16-player graduating lacrosse class that has flourished at their respective college and/or university. Their pedigree has allowed them to become successful key components at the Division I level. Tripodi leads the team in assists and has nine goals on the season while Huegel has worked her way into Syracuse's defensive rotation, both on the line and at the circle.

Zoning in: The Orange debuted its zone backer defense back in March against Towson and hasn't looked back since. Syracuse's defense is the driving force as to why its offense is humming lately. The ride in the midfield has got teams flustered, and the amount of turnovers its garnered translates into easy fast break points.

Note: Senior Michelle Tumolo has been faceguarded consistently since its game against Northwestern on March 30, and it looks like teams are going to continue to keep doing it. Tumolo has made the best of it, though, recording six goals and nine assists in the past four games versus Villanova, Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati. As its opponents try its version of the zone and, at the same time, put its best defender on Tumolo, it allows the Orange to penetrate the gaps and find its way into the sweet spot of the defense – the middle – for easy goals.

Matchup to watch: Michelle Tumolo vs. Kate Ivory.

Despite not playing her junior season, Ivory seems to have not missed a step, leading the team this year in ground balls (37) and caused turnovers (26). She also grabbed 12 draw controls down. The senior will have her hands full with Tumolo, that's for sure.

Important week ahead: The Orange has some breathing room atop the BIG EAST conference standings, but that doesn't mean the team should take its foot off the gas. While the game against Cornell is a non-conference matchup, the Orange needs to continue its solid play as it has a huge conference game against No. 6/7 Notre Dame (11-1, 5-1) coming up on Friday night. The Fighting Irish fell to No. 17/20 Loyola 13-12 in double overtime. Currently, four teams have one conference loss (Notre Dame, Connecticut, Georgetown and Loyola).

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