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Syracuse men’s lacrosse: Orange defense dominates again in 12-9 win over North Carolina

Despite allowing a 6-0 Tar Heel run in the first half, Syracuse allowed only one goal in 35:53.

Syracuse Athletics

Every year, both the Syracuse Orange men’s and women’s lacrosse teams travel together for a road doubleheader. That roadtrip alternates between Charlottesville for Virginia and Chapel Hill for North Carolina, which was this year’s trip.

After the women fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels earlier in the afternoon, the men had their crack at UNC and continued their hot streak with a big 12-9 win over their conference foe. This was the team’s sixth win in their last seven games against the Heels.

For the second straight game, the Orange scored the first goals of the game with Peter Dearth kicking things off with a score in transition before Brendan Curry got away from his long stick defender to make it 2-0. But UNC got into a groove by scoring the next six goals to take a 6-2 lead. That was ‘Cuse’s worst lacrosse of the afternoon.

For the next 35:53, Syracuse would only give up one Tar Heel goal to Justin Anderson that came in between a 4-0 run and a 6-0 run. The Orange would take a 12-7 lead with 9:55 left in the game before allowing two goals by UNC to take a 12-9 win.

Nate Solomon, playing against his younger brother Nicky Solomon, scored a hat-trick and dished out an assist, while Bradley Voigt and Stephen Rehfuss each had three points. Drake Porter made 12 saves and Danny Varello starred at the faceoff X by going 13-of-18 on draws with seven ground balls.

Scoring and Stats


A Nate Solomon (3 Gs, 1 A, 2 GBs)
A Stephen Rehfuss (2 Gs, 1 A, 2 GBs)
A Bradley Voigt (1 G, 2 As, 2 GBs, 1 CT)
M Jacob Buttermore (2 Gs, 2 GBs)
M Brendan Curry (1 G, 1 A)
SSDM Peter Dearth (1 G, 4 GBs, 2 CTs)
M David Lipka (1 G)
M Pat Carlin (1 G)

D Marcus Cunningham (2 CTs, 3 GBs)
D Tyson Bomberry (1 CT, 3 GBs)
LSM Jared Fernandez (1 CT, 3 GBs)
D Nick Mellen (1 CT, 2 GBs)
M Lucas Quinn (1 CT)

FOGO Danny Varello (13-of-18 FOs, 7 GBs)
FOGO Jake Phaup (2-of-5 FOs, 1 GB)
FOGO Nick Martin (0-of-1 FO)
G Drake Porter (12 saves, 2 GBs)


A Nicky Solomon (2 Gs, 1 A)
M William Perry (2 Gs, 2 GBs)
M Justin Anderson (2 Gs)
M Timmy Kelly (1 G, 1 A, 1 GB, 1 CT)
M Alex Trippi (1 G, 2 GBs)
A Brian Cameron (1 G, 2 GBs)

D Jack Rowlett (2 CTs, 3 GBs)
SSDM Parker Alexander (2 CTs)
LSM Jack Halpert (1 CT, 5 GBs)

FOGO Zac Tucci (4-of-15 FOs, 2 GBs)
FOGO Ryan O’Connell (5-of-7 FOs, 4 GBs)
FOGO Charles Kelly (0-for-2 FOs)
G Caton Johnson (11 saves, 2 GBs)

Notes and Nuggets

  • It wasn’t a true 60 minute game, but it was pretty close. Similar to the Hobart game, the Orange found their way midway through the second quarter and dominated the rest of the way. That 6-0 run by UNC isn’t the best, but it’s better than the first half they had against Notre Dame.
  • I feel like this is a yearly tradition, but we’ve now gotten to the point where defenses are double poleing the midfield. Jamie Trimboli has gotten a long stick for the majority of the duration and did so again. But this time, he got close defenseman Jake Peden while Brendan Curry got LSM Jack Halpert. Trimboli was held pointless on two shots with two turnovers and Curry finished with a goal and assist. It didn’t really do anything this time around, but we’ll see if other teams continue with this trend. But with that decision, senior Bradley Voigt got freshman SSDM Connor Maher and finished with a goal and two assists.
  • He took a few games off midway through the season, but Jacob Buttermore is definitely back to being a big producer at midfield as he keeps getting some runs with Trimboli and Curry. In his first four games of the season (he didn’t play against Colgate), the sophomore recorded nine goals and one assist, highlighted by hat-tricks against Virginia and Johns Hopkins. But in his last three games, he’s put up six goals. Just like the team as a whole, he’s clicking once again.
  • The success at the faceoff X has been a big storyline this year with most of the credit going to Jake Phaup. The sophomore went 1-of-2 against Zac Tucci in the game’s first three draws before John Desko sent out junior Danny Varello for the next draw. He eventually won the next 10 faceoffs and went 11-of-12 in the first half with the only loss coming on a faceoff violation. Ryan O’Connell went 4-of-5 against Varello when he came in early in the third quarter for North Carolina. I’m not a FOGO but different FOGOs have different strengths and weaknesses. Varello’s strengths could have been a better matchup against Tucci which could be why we didn’t see a ton of Phaup.
  • It’s not a bad thing either. Having multiple FOGOs with different strengths is actually very good for a faceoff unit. First off, it can lay off the wear and tear of some of the players compared to having one solo guy taking draws for four years. Think of it in baseball terms, a left-handed batter might see more appearances when facing a right-handed pitcher and vice-versa. Just have to play the matchup to your advantage.
  • With the win, the Orange finish ACC play with a 2-2 record. Virginia is the #1 seed for the ACC Tournament at 3-1, while Duke also finished with a 2-2 record. Syracuse holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Blue Devils and are currently second in the conference. Next weekend, Notre Dame hosts North Carolina in a battle of 1-2 teams. Here’s what Brian Higgins has, and he’s right.
  • So if UNC wins, they’d join Duke and ‘Cuse as 2-2 teams. In terms of head-to-head against each other, the Orange at 2-0 against Duke and North Carolina while the Tar Heels have a win over Duke. So the Orange would play the Tar Heels in the 2-3 game while Duke plays Notre Dame in the 4-5 matchup.
  • If Notre Dame wins, the Fighting Irish would join Duke and Syracuse as 2-2 teams. In terms of head-to-head against each other, all three teams are 1-1. However, since Duke defeated Virginia, the Blue Devils are the #2 seed and since Notre Dame defeated Syracuse, the Irish would be the #3 seed and the Orange would be the #4 seed. So in the end, Syracuse and North Carolina will meet in the ACC Tournament. We just don’t know if it’ll be in the Opening Round game on Thursday or in the semifinals on Saturday. Next weekend, we’re UNC fans.

What’s Next?

The Orange wrap up their regular season with a road trip to Annapolis to take on the Navy Midshipmen Saturday afternoon at 5 PM on CBS Sports Network.

Expect the top 20 polls to come out on Monday. Syracuse should be in the 7-10 range.