Syracuse completely and utterly annihilated Duke in front of a national TV audience and more than 11,000 fans in the stands. Here are five big takeaways:
1. 19-7 doesn't even begin to describe how bad of a beatdown this was
The score was 6-1 after the first. It was 13-1 at the half and 16-2 at the end of three quarters. Some backups started playing in the second quarter (THE SECOND QUARTER!!!!), and 35 players took the field in total for the Orange. The Orange outshot the Blue Devis 23-4 in the first quarter and 34-12 in the first half. Duke tallied five of its seven goals in the fourth quarter against a backup goalie and mostly third-string defenders, all while keeping its starters in basically until the finish. It's hard to play lacrosse any better than Syracuse did on Sunday, and they did it against the No. 4 team in the nation and two-time defending national champions. Wow.
2. No Staats, no problem ... who needs three attackmen anyway?
Not only did Syracuse dominate Duke from start to finish, it also did so without Tewaarton nominee and probably All American attack Randy Staats, who missed the game with a lower body injury. Tim Barber replaced Staats in the starting lineup, and scored a goal and an assist, but it was the other starters who picked up the slack tremendously. Kevin Rice (4G, 3A) and Dylan Donahue (5G, 2A) outscored the Blue Devils by themselves. By the time they left the game, each had INDIVIDUALLY outscored Duke to that point. They showed off a two-man game that was virtually unstoppable, and had they played a full game, who knows how many goals they could have scored.
3. Myles Jones disappears completely
Myles Jones has absolutely dominated opponents this year, racking up 24 goals and 20 assists in his first eight games coming into the Carrier Dome. But the Orange defense frustrated the 6-foot-4, 240-pound junior and held him to just one measly assist in the loss. Jones showed off his capabilities, leading the team with eight shots, and at one point absolutely steamrolling a Syracuse defender, but credit to Peter McCartney, Scott Firman and the rest of the Orange defense for basically shutting him out and forcing him into a game-high four turnovers on the day. If this team can stop Jones, it may be able to stop anyone.
4. Henry Schoonmaker is alive and well
Schoonmaker drew a little criticism for his lack of offensive production in the first few games. But in the last two contests, the senior tallied five goals and one assist, against top competition in Johns Hopkins and Duke. Schoonmaker showed off his outside shooting against the Blue Devils, with two of his goals coming on the man up unit, which is a great sign for a team that needs outside shooters to break down the zone defenses that are probably coming their way this season.
5. Bobby Wardwell is finally the unquestioned #1 goalie
It's been a long career for the senior, who at one point was the supposed savior as a freshman, then lost his job a sophomore, split time as a junior, and is now the clear top keeper. This has pretty much been established all season, but was really driven home by his performance on Sunday in contrast to backup Warren Hill. Wardwell was magnificent against Duke, stopping 11 of 13 shots, many of which were highly impressive saves against extremely talented shooters. Without being too harsh against Hill, who played in front of an assortment of backup defenders, he is clearly not at the same level as Wardwell, and the senior finally has job security for the first time in his career.