Tyrrell Sisters Reminded of High Schools Days While Fueling Syracuse


Emma Tyrrell (left) and her older sister Meaghan (right) combined for 17 points in a 20-8 win over Loyola last weekend.

At this time last year, the only competition Meaghan and Emma Tyrrell were facing on the lacrosse field was each other.

The pandemic had forced the two sisters — Meaghan, then a sophomore who was Syracuse’s third-leading scorer in 2020, and Emma, a freshman who saw time off the bench — home to Long Island, and they spent that spring running 1-v-1, or shooting and footwork drills.

Flash forward 12 months, and they’re still spending most of their time playing together. But this time, it’s actually on the field for the Orange.

The Tyrrell sisters combined for 17 points in third-seeded Syracuse’s 20-8 win over Loyola in the second round of the NCAA tournament last Sunday. Emma Tyrrell, now a sophomore, had four goals and three assists, while her older sister found the back of the net seven times, setting a program record for goals in a tournament game.

“During quarantine, we’d really only have each other to work with, taking tips from each other,” Meaghan Tyrrell said. “Seeing that play out on the actual field is so awesome and very rewarding.”

Syracuse’s run of crushing injuries this spring — first an ACL tear for Tewaaraton favorite Emily Hawryschuk in February, then the same injury for leading scorer Megan Carney in April — pushed both Tyrrells into prominent positions by the time the postseason rolled around.

Meaghan Tyrrell came into this season as a known returning threat, having scored 37 goals while starting all but one game as a freshman in 2021 and establishing herself as part of the dangerous attacking trio alongside Hawryschuk and Carney in the shortened 2020 campaign.

Emma Tyrrell had seen time off the bench this year — enough time to score 17 goals in 13 games — but didn’t make her first career start until April 24 after Carney’s injury left a hole in the Orange’s attacking front line. And it was a start to remember. She scored a team-high six goals, helping Syracuse bounce back from a loss two days earlier to take down Boston College in a 16-7 win.

“It’s [been] a proud big sister moment, in a nutshell, seeing her be able to grow into her spot and really make a name for herself,” Meaghan Tyrrell said. “It’s something that I’m so proud of her for, and I’m really excited to see what she does with this as we move into the rest of the NCAA tournament.”

The Tyrrell sisters have combined for 30 goals and 14 assists in the five games since Emma Tyrrell entered the starting lineup, and the Orange are 4-1 in that stretch.

“Our connection has definitely become way stronger than it was in the beginning of the season,” she said. “It’s reminded me of our high school days, of us getting together, having a great time on the field and always being eye-to-eye with each other.”

The sisters last spent this much consistent time in games on the field together in 2018, during Meaghan Tyrrell’s senior season at Mount Sinai. That year ended with an overtime loss in the Long Island Class C championship game, but they’d previously helped the team to two state championships in 2016 and 2017. Meaghan Tyrrell was also on Mount Sinai’s 2015 state championship team as a freshman.

Their dynamic has only strengthened since those high school days, as they traded the Mustangs’ black and red for Syracuse’s orange and white.

“We’ve both matured as people, so it’s easier to work together,” Meaghan Tyrrell said. “We’re able to talk to each other more [and] take each other’s perspective into our minds.”

This Saturday’s matchup between the Orange and No. 6 Florida in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals will hand the Tyrrells one of their toughest challenges yet. The Gators own the country’s second-best defense, allowing just 6.5 goals per game, second to only top-ranked North Carolina.

After all the highs and lows their team has faced this season, they’re now ready to help Syracuse vie for its first Final Four appearance since 2016.

“Throughout the whole season, I was never not confident that we weren’t able to pull through,” Emma Tyrrell said. “I really felt that we had everything we needed on the team … I just knew people would step up in the right places, and we would be able to pull it off and get to where we are now.”

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