Syracuse Orange men's lacrosse has defeated Virginia, Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Princeton this season. That alone should be enough to get the Orange into the tournament even if the Orange fail to defeat Notre Dame or fall in the Big East Tournament. HOWEVER, this is the same team that has lost to Albany (albiet now a team we realize is pretty darn good) and Villanova because of a lack of defensive presence and faceoff ability.
That's exactly how Rutgers, on a senior night that commemorated many fine Syracuse lacrosse players that will be remembered for ages, somehow, inexplicably gained a 10-5 lead going into the final quarter of play. Yes, the two win Rutgers team who has defeated no one in conference play were up by five goals with 15 minutes to play in the game.
Remember how Cuse lost to Albany and Villanova? Same recipe. The Orange were downright atrocious from the faceoff x, with Joseph Nardella of Rutgers winning 13 of the 17 faceoffs he took going into the fourth. Cal Paduda, a freshman, came in to take faceoffs and won 4 of 9 for the Orange in the fourth to help Cuse rally.
In a span of 8:40, Luke Cometti (who is quietly putting up monster scoring numbers) scored four goals in a five goal Syracuse run that tied the game at 10. Anthony Terranova scored one more for Rutgers after the Orange's run to restore the Scarlett Knight's lead only to watch as Derek Maltz tied the game at 11 with 2:04 to play. On the final possession, Rutgers watched as JoJo Marasco's forced turnover led to another Maltz dagger, this time with just ten seconds on the clock.
Listen, this has come to be expected from the Orange. The team has played three games in eight days with another one (Hobart) coming tomorrow for 4 in 11. When the Orange come out flat, the defense sags and gives teams easy looks. Cuse can't win faceoffs when sharp, let alone sloppy, and thus Rutgers became a close game that never should have been. But this team has too much talent to let that happen after Albany and Nova. Hobart will be a one goal affair, but it will be fun.