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Syracuse men’s lacrosse: Orange collapse late, fall to Virginia in OT

The Cavaliers ended the game on a 6-1 run in the final 11:29.

Syracuse Athletics

It looked like the Syracuse Orange would take another ACC opening win over the Virginia Cavaliers after Stephen Rehfuss scored his second goal of the game (and the season) to give the Orange a four-goal lead. I even thought the game was out of hands.

We were fooled.

Virginia went on a 6-1 run in the final 11:29 of the game, including a 5-1 run in the final nine minutes of regulation, as they completed the comeback in a 15-14 win in overtime inside the Carrier Dome. Sophomore midfielder Jacob Buttermore had a hat-trick as he continues to make an impression in the early portion of the season, and redshirt junior attackman Stephen Rehfuss, who’s been slow to produce this season due to the flu, scored two goals and assisted on another. Junior goalie Drake Porter made 14 saves in the loss.

The first three goals of the game were scored from Garnet Valley (PA) grads. Buttermore’s two were sandwiched in-between a Matt Moore tally. The remainder of the first half stayed close, but the Orange took a one-goal lead into the locker room after a 5-2 run in the final 8:28.

Cuse still had the lead going into the third and started gaining momentum after back-to-back goals from Rehfuss and Peter Dearth. The final quarter started with goals from Bradley Voigt and Rehfuss to give them a four-goal cushion. But the 6-1 goal began shortly after, with the Cavaliers getting goals from six different scorers. It was capped off in overtime by Mikey Herring taking advantage of Michael Kraus getting double-teamed.

Scoring and Stats


A Michael Kraus (3 Gs, 3 As, 1 GB)
M Dox Aitken (3 Gs)
A Ian Laviano (2 Gs, 1 A, 1 GB)
M Ryan Conrad (2 Gs, 7 GBs)
A Matt Moore (2 Gs, 3 GBs)
M Jeff Conner (2 As, 1 GB)
LSM Jared Conners (1 G, 2 GBs, 1 CT)
A Xander Dickson (1 G)
M Mikey Herring (1 G)

D Theo Dol (1 CT, 1 GB)
D Cade Saustad (1 CT)

FOGO Petey LaSalla (8-of-16 FOs, 2 GBs)
FOGO Justin Schwenk (8-of-14 FOs, 3 GBs)
G Patrick Burkinshaw (6 saves, 1 CT, 1 GB)
G Alex Rode (4 saves)


A Bradley Voigt (3 Gs, 2 GBs)
M Jacob Buttermore (3 Gs)
A Stephen Rehfuss (2 Gs, 1 A)
M Brendan Curry (1 G, 2 As, 1 GB)
M Jamie Trimboli (2 Gs)
M David Lipka (1 G, 1 A, 1 GB, 2 CTs)
A Nate Solomon (1 G, 1 A, 1 GB, 1 CT)
SSDM Peter Dearth (1 G, 1 GB)
SSDM/LSM Andrew Helmer (1 A [with the long pole], 1 GB)

D Tyson Bomberry (2 CTs, 3 GBs)
LSM Brett Kennedy (1 CT, 1 GB)
M Pat Carlin (1 CT)

FOGO Jake Phaup (12-of-23 FOs, 3 GBs)
FOGO Danny Varello (2-of-7 FOs, 1 GB)
G Drake Porter (14 saves, 1 GB)

Notes and Nuggets

  • This was Virginia’s first win in the Carrier Dome since 2009 and their first win in their ACC regular season opener since they defeated the Orange in Charlottesville back in 2014.
  • After missing last week’s win over Army with an upper-body injury, senior defenseman Tyson Bomberry returned to the lineup and played very well guarding Ian Laviano.
  • It looked like the Orange would get the edge on faceoffs with a 12-7 advantage after Danny Varello took his first draw with 3:20 left in the 3rd. But Virginia dominated until the end of the game, winning draws with a 9-2 edge. Ryan Conrad helped with some of those wins with four ground balls.
  • Fast forward to the third quarter. After Porter made a save on Kraus, he saw Brett Kennedy open on an outlet pass. But Logan Greco laid Kennedy out with a huge hit. Quint Kessenich saw it from a mile away before it even happened. Somehow this was called unnecessary roughness despite it being a clean hit to the body.
  • Nate Solomon is an aggressive attackman. He attempted a dive that didn’t count. He intercepted a pass on a ride that resulted in a goal shortly after. He also can get chippy at times. He did so a couple years ago on a ride against St. John’s and notably last year against the Cavaliers where he laid out goalie Alex Rode after the horn sounded. This year while riding against Ryan Conrad, he got chippy again, but the two-way midfielder got away and Solomon got called.
  • Virginia had nine man-up opportunities. Syracuse had three.
  • After making 24 stops last week against Princeton, freshman Patrick Burkinshaw got the start again for Virginia. He gave up seven goals and made six saves in the first half before Lars Tiffany pulled him in favor of Alex Rode. The sophomore gave up seven goals on four saves. Despite the win, Virginia still doesn’t have a solid option in goal.
  • The defense played a huge part in shutting down Albany and Army West Point in the past two games. They did a great job defending one-on-one against Virginia. But when the Cavaliers went on their late run, Tiffany exploited the Orange’s lack of wanting to slide. That helped them force overtime and eventually led to the game-winner. Marcus Cunningham didn’t have the best of games against Kraus.
  • As for the offense, it was very balanced throughout with all six starters registering multiple points. That includes all three attackmen producing equally. The biggest development came with Rehfuss finally scoring his first two goals of the season.
  • Buttermore continues to impress as a second line midfielder. He’s playing like a first line middie. But with Curry, Trimboli, and Lipka currently making up the top unit, it’ll be tough for him to break into a starting role. If I’m a defensive coordinator, I’m putting my LSM on him for future games. The midfield depth of Matt Magnan, Pat Carlin, and Griffin Cook hasn’t done a whole lot, and Lucas Quinn has missed the past two games and will miss some more.

Where does the team stand after a 2-2 start? They lost to Colgate (who lost to Lehigh on Saturday) and Virginia, but got wins against Albany and Army West Point. We’ve seen guys like Porter, Buttermore, and Jake Phaup emerge as new key contributors to the team. Voigt and Lipka’s roles have been increased due to graduation and injuries. Rehfuss has started slow due to the flu.

The strength of the team is still on the defense. Nick Mellen has done an outstanding job shutting down his assignments, notably against Jakob Patterson and Brendan Nichtern. Bomberry leads the team with seven caused turnovers and second with 15 ground balls. Kennedy and Austin Fusco have been solid FOGOs. The short stick defensive midfielders of Dearth and Andrew Helmer have looked well.

This team could be 4-0 right now if it weren’t for the lapses in the season opener or defensive collapse against Virginia. Tougher opponents are still to come, including Duke, Notre Dame, and Cornell. The season is still young, but some of these games will be huge for where the team is in May.

What’s Next?

The Orange host archrival Johns Hopkins this Saturday at 1 PM on ACC Network Extra. Hopkins defeated the Princeton Tigers 14-12 this past Saturday for their second straight win.

Expect the top 20 polls to come out on Monday. Syracuse will probably be in the 15-20 range this week.