This is an unfortunate, recurring theme. For the second consecutive Saturday, the Syracuse Orange men's lacrosse team crumbled late on the road against a tough opponent, losing to the Duke Blue Devils by a final score of 16-15 in overtime. Syracuse falls to 5-2 on the season, and 1-1 in ACC play. Duke moves to 7-4 and picks up its ACC win in as many tries.
The Orange held a comfortable lead for much of the game, but saw a fired-up Blue Devils team steal the game away in the fourth quarter, as they outscored Syracuse 6-1 after the third quarter. Sergio Salcido (four goals, two assists) and Dylan Donahue (two goals, three assists) led the way for the Orange, while Tim Barber contributed a hat trick.
Just as they did last week, Syracuse started fast, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game, two of which were scored by Salcido. The Orange and Blue Devils closed out the first quarter by trading goals, ending with a 4-1 advantage for Syracuse.
The second quarter was a high scoring affair, with a total of 12 goals being scored between the teams. Deemer Class, who scored nine points on seven goals and two assists for the game, heated up in the second period, recording a hat trick. Six different players scored for Syracuse in the second quarter, led by two from Tim Barber.
SU finished the first half with a flurry, scoring two goals in the final 21 seconds. After Barber went five-hole on a tough angle shot to make it 10-6 Syracuse, Joe Gillis picked up the ground ball off the ensuing face-off and unleashed a shot from 15 yards out, putting it past Duke goalie Danny Fowler with six seconds remaining on the clock. Syracuse went into halftime leading 11-6.
The third quarter was pretty evenly played, with the teams trading goals throughout. Duke won the quarter by a score of 4-3, but Syracuse capped the quarter on a Sergio Salcido goal, his fourth of the day. Salcido beat his man down the left alley and scored with only two seconds remaining in the period, putting Syracuse ahead 14-10 heading into the fourth.
Here is where it all got ugly for the Orange. In between periods, the ESPNU cameras showed the Duke huddle, where a visibly angry Myles Jones was seen yelling and stomping around in the middle of huddle, trying to fire his teammates up. As I watched him, I got a bad feeling. It was a very important game to a Duke team that has a few bad losses this season and is actually in need of a good win. Syracuse needed to match the intensity that Jones and his teammates were showing in the Duke huddle, and I hoped we'd be able to match it.
In the end, the fears were confirmed. Duke came out on fire. They won face-offs, controlled the pace and scored quick goals. Down by four entering the period, they quickly brought the score to 14-13 in a little over two minutes, forcing John Desko to take timeout.
It didn't help. Duke went on to score the next two goals and take the lead on Deemer Class' seventh goal of the game with 6:28 remaining in the fourth. That put Duke up 15-14 and was the conclusion of a 5-0 run for the Blue Devils.
The Orange did fight back with a goal from Derek DeJoe with 3:29 remaining to knot the score at 15. They even had a chance to win the game in regulation after a great man-down save from Warren Hill on a shot by Myles Jones. Syracuse cleared the ball and called timeout with 11 seconds remaining. The Orange couldn't create anything out of that timeout, though, and the game was sent to overtime.
Just like last week, Ben Williams lost the overtime face-off, and the Orange never saw the ball again. The defense had a short-stick guarding Jack Bruckner. When he dodged from behind the cage, the defense was quick to slide, leaving Chad Cohan open in the middle of the zone. Cohan received the pass, dodged one man, and calmly slotted one past Warren Hill to win it for the Blue Devils.
It was another crushing overtime loss for the Orange, made even worse by the fact that they gave it away late after holding a comfortable lead for so much of the night.
Syracuse lost the face-off battle, 15-19, and the ground ball battle, 32-35. They were also outshot by Duke, 40-43. Warren Hill made 11 saves, but not enough of them down the stretch.
Syracuse will return to the Carrier Dome for their next game on Saturday, April 2, as they host the No. 2-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The game will be at 5 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPNU.