The Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team saw its season come to an end on Sunday evening, in round one of the NCAA Tournament. After an up-and-down year, it should come as no surprise that another up-and-down game doomed SU this time around, falling 10-9 to the rival Cornell Big Red.
While defense was the concern for Syracuse early this season, it did manage to come alive in the latter stages. However, the offense also sputtered in many contests versus top teams -- in particular, both games against Cornell (the other being a 13-8 defeat in Ithaca).
On Sunday night, it looked like those concerns were potentially going to be in the rear-view mirror. Syracuse and Cornell played to a 3-3 draw through one period, then took a 7-5 lead at the half. Tucker Doredvic and Jamie Trimboli each scored two goals in the first half, but wouldn’t find the net again. Brendan Bomberry was the only other Orange player to score multiple goals on the game, with one in the first half and one in the second (a late score that tied the contest at nine apiece).
But the offense was nearly non-existent otherwise in the second, putting just two total in the back of the net. Syracuse gave up the lead mid-way through the third, when Cornell tied the game at seven, though they earned it back just minutes later on a score by Brendan Curry. The Big Red would tie it once again on a late goal to end the third, then took the lead for the first time just seconds into the fourth. After Bomberry tied it at nine, Cornell’s Colton Rupp netted the go-ahead goal with five and a half minutes to go.
Cornell scored three goals with a man advantage, including Rupp’s winner. SU was charged with four penalties versus three for the Big Red, though the Orange failed to score on any of their chances.
While Syracuse had more shots (37 vs. 35), Cornell had more shots on goal (22 vs. 17). SU managed just 16 shots in the second half, and only eight were on goal. The Orange had 15 turnovers, but also won the ground ball battle, 37-21. They also won at the dot, taking 16 faceoffs against just six for the Big Red. That’s typically indicative of a victory, though unfortunately not this time around.
So that’s it for Syracuse this season. Despite a 4-0 record in the ACC, a regular season title, and a first round home game in the NCAA Tournament, the Orange finish at just 8-7. SU earned zero quality wins outside of the ACC -- something that hints at the problems with the conference that also showed themselves in round one. Three of the league’s four NCAA participants lost, with No. 4 Duke being the lone survivor. This also extends SU’s streak of seasons without a Final Four to five now. That’s the longest string since the 1970s.