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Michigan's Erin O'Grady.

Taylor's Takes: Analysis, Predictions for Division I Women's Quarterfinals

Presented by:
Gait Lacrosse
May 13, 2024
Taylor Cummings
Matt Cashore

Last weekend was the ultimate lacrosse fan’s dream with 21 Division I contests played over a three-day span — and even more if you include the men’s games.

We were privileged to watch so many ridiculously talented players leave everything on the field all day long on ESPN+. The commentators were knowledgeable, the level of play was fantastic, and at the end of the best lax-filled weekend, we saw six of the eight seeded teams move onto the quarterfinals this Thursday.

We’re now able to sit back and treat ourselves to another full day of women’s lacrosse, this time on ESPNU. Let’s see what fans around the country are in for on Thursday!


This will be a rematch of an early February contest that saw the Gators storm back in the second half to beat the Terps on their home turf in overtime. Since then, both teams have grown tremendously in all areas of the field and are looking like completely different versions of themselves. Maryland’s offense has become more dynamic as the season has progressed, while Florida’s defense has gotten stronger and stronger.

At the end of the day, despite the growth in those areas for each team, I think this game will come down to one thing — the draw. We will see two heavy hitters in the draw circle, Florida’s Liz Harrison and Maryland’s Shaylan Ahearn, both of whom are masters at their crafts and have the ability to take over a game. Each team has the capability to throw punches, but who will have more opportunities?

Prediction: 13-12 Maryland

(6) YALE AT (3) SYRACUSE, 2:30 P.M.

This is going to be a fascinating game. Yale comes into this on a hot streak with a first-ever Ivy League championship and an NCAA victory. Meanwhile, Syracuse comes in with a little more uncertainty. The Orange had a huge win over Virginia in the ACC quarterfinals followed by a shockingly large loss to Boston College in the semifinals before earning a solid win over Stony Brook on Sunday.

With Yale and Syracuse’s offenses so hot as of late, my gut tells me this game will be a shootout won by the team with more solid goalie play — an area neither team is particularly dominant in. The Orange’s Delaney Sweitzer comes in with a 41-percent save percentage, while Bulldogs keeper Cami Donadio has a 47-percent save percentage. Sweitzer has seen every type of game imaginable this season as a starter, while Donadio has only played a full 60 minutes for Yale during the last three games, so I’m curious to see if experience plays a factor as well.

Prediction: 16-11 Syracuse


Michigan comes into its first-ever NCAA quarterfinal on the heels of an outstanding showing against seventh-seeded Notre Dame, one that was capped by with a buzzer beater winner from leader Jill Smith. Boston College also played a tightly contested game on Sunday against Princeton, but it was able to pull away in the fourth quarter to earn a spot in the quarters.

These teams mirror one another in many ways — tenacious and suffocating defenses, reliable goalie play and offenses that share the ball and have more weapons than most. Where they differ is with their experience on the game’s biggest stage. The Eagles have been to the national championship game in six consecutive years and are vying for a seventh, while the Wolverines have never gotten this far in the tournament. Poise, confidence and control will be the deciding factor, as whoever keeps their cool will move on. Michigan showed great poise Sunday.

Prediction: 8-7 Michigan


This is another game that I’m really excited to watch. Both teams come into this quarterfinal battle tested after difficult regular-season schedules, deep runs into the finals of their respective conference tournaments and solid first-weekend wins over quality opponents. They are also two of the most fundamentally sound teams across the board in all of Division I, making this game the ultimate battle of the basics (at the most advanced of levels).

Sure, they’ll need their offensive stars — Niki Miles and Anna Brandt for Penn and Izzy Scane, Madison Taylor and Erin Coykendall for Northwestern — to show up and dominate and their zones to create chaos. Ultimately, though, whichever team can dominate those basic fundamentals like clearing, ground balls and limiting the other to one offensive opportunity, will be the one to make their next Final Four appearance.

Prediction: 15-9 Northwestern