In the end, I suppose all of the stars aligned just right (or wrong) so that Syracuse was destined to lose to Cornell on Tuesday.
The Orange have been playing it dangerously for weeks now, relying on their defense to win games when the offense couldn't. A top-five opponent awaited SU just three days after a tough outing in Princeton, ensuring little tile for rest. That opponent had one hell of a grudge against the Orange, who had beaten them in heartbreaking fashion two games in a row, including in the National Title game two years back. That team also featured one of the most high-powered offenses in the nation, something the Orange have seemed ill-equipped to deal with lately.
Add it all up and it's not terribly shocking SU lost on Tuesday. Still, the 11-6 score and the way Cornell dominated the game was surprising.
As the Orange struggled early, Cornell jumped out to a big first-half lead and stifled SU's comeback attempts in the second to hand the Orange its worst defeat since 2007 — and its first defeat in 2011. Pannell led the Big Red with six points on three goals and three assists.
Cornell beat the Orange at its own game by jumping out to the big lead. SU entered the matchup outscoring its opponents 38-15 in the first quarter. But it was the Big Red who started strong Tuesday.
By the time the game was coming to an end, Cornell fans gleefully chanted "Overrated" in the Carrier Dome. Whether or not that's true, it's understood by a lot of folks that Syracuse might have needed to get their butts kicked in order to wake up. Better it happen now than a month from now.
"That’s OK," SU attackman JoJo Marasco said. "It’s some motivation for us. We needed a loss in the past couple of years to wake us up. We’ll see how we respond."
All-American defender John Lade played for a few brief moments in the first quarter but it was clear his ankle is still an issue. At this point, it might be best to let Lade rest up and get back to full-strength. The Orange also saw starting defender Brian Megill leave the game due to an injury.
Tim Desko, who ranks second on the team with 16 goals, aggravated a previous knee injury and did not play either.
Josh Amidon led the Orange with five points (3G, 2A) while Tommy Palasek added two goals. Jeremy Thompson had the other. John Galloway had 10 saves. (Full stats).
At 9-1, there's still a lot of lacrosse left for the Orange. They get something of a reprieve when they travel to play Providence (3-7) on Saturday, followed by 4-6 Hobart. The only one of the five remaining games that looks tough is the showdown with Notre Dame, who will likely move into the No. 1 spot next week, assuming they beat St. John's this weekend (Spoiler Alert: they will).
Expect the Orange to drop to around No. 2 or No. 3. I can't imagine folks would put No. 3 Hopkins ahead of the team that beat them, but then again it's Hopkins. It's just a matter of whether or not the pollsters jump Cornell over us.
Notre Dame left as only Unbeaten in Country as Cornell Knocks off Syracuse 11-6...College Crosse
Syracuse starting defenders Lade, Megill leave game with injuries...Daily Orange
Cornell hands Syracuse its first loss of the season...The Juice Online
Amidon Scores Five Points In 11-6 Loss to Cornell...SU Athletics