When the fourth quarter clock struck triple zeros on Saturday afternoon, the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team had 15 goals on the scoreboard.
On a day when the Syracuse lacrosse community had heavy hearts as they honored the life of one of their all-time greats, Rob Kavovit (‘94-’97), who passed away earlier this week, the team’s goal total matched the number that Kavovit wore so eloquently throughout his career.
As his former teammate and lifelong best friend Paul Carcaterra put it, there was no better tribute to his buddy than the poetry of Syracuse finishing with that 15 on the board.
Handled business.— Syracuse Lacrosse (@CuseMLAX) March 20, 2021
On to our first road trip of the year at Duke pic.twitter.com/soRUO4PnUS
It took a while for Syracuse to get out of first gear this afternoon, but eventually the offense found their flow and led the Orange to a 15-6 victory over their replacement-opponent, the Holy Cross Crusaders.
The SU offense controlled the game, more than TRIPLING Holy Cross’s shot total, 65-20. Chase Scanlan alone had 15 shots on the day for ‘Cuse. The combination of the Orange dominating first half face-offs, 6-1, and Holy Cross turning the ball over 24 times on the day (14 in the first half) led to the incredible shot disparity that allowed the boys to keep the pressure on Holy Cross all day long.
The offensive production belonged to the attack on the day, with Chase Scanlan breaking out in a big way, tying his career-high with seven goals. Owen Hiltz continued impressing, dishing out five assists and adding a goal for a career-high six points. Stephen Rehfuss rounded out the attack’s day with four points on two goals and assists each.
The Orange were kind of sleepwalking through much of the first quarter, although part of the problem was that they ran into a goalie who brought his A-game. Holy Cross’s A.J. Fox was hot early on his way to 18 saves on the day.
It was just over a minute remaining in the first quarter when Scanlan finally broke the ice off a feed from Rehfuss. In the first few minutes of the second, Scanlan got on the board again, dunking home a man-up goal off a slick pass from Hiltz.
After Rehfuss took advantage of a shortie matchup to make it 3-0, Hiltz found Scanlan again for the Orange’s fourth and Scanlan’s third. On a re-start with eight seconds left in the first half, Scanlan showed off his dodging ability as he called his own number for a diving finish on the crease with one second left before halftime, putting SU up 6-0 at the break.
The second half saw the offense continuing to surge, this time with the midfield deciding to get involved in the scoring. Jamie Trimboli opened the second half book two minutes in when he inverted his shortie matchup and beat him off the dodge from X. Trimboli struck again off a feed from Hiltz less than two minutes later.
After Holy Cross got on the board for the first time all day just under 35 minutes into the game, Chase Scanlan scored three of the next four goals to push the Orange lead up to it’s peak on the day, 13-1.
The score was 13-2 entering the fourth quarter, at which point coach Desko started getting all the starters out of the game. Holy Cross won the fourth quarter, 4-2, going against SU’s second and third stringers.
Highlights from Syracuse's fourth-straight win: pic.twitter.com/9lICOS2Jvh— Syracuse Lacrosse (@CuseMLAX) March 20, 2021
It was a get-right day for a number of areas of the Syracuse team that have needed a boost in the last couple games, including clears, turnovers, and penalties.
- SU came into the day clearing at only 82.4 percent on the season. Against Holy Cross, 24-24. Check.
- The Orange committed 15 turnovers last time out against Stony Brook. In the three quarters the starters played today, only five. Check.
- The team came in averaging four penalties per game. Today, they committed two - both made by backups in the fourth quarter. Check.
And while the defense definitely had a few notable lapses early, especially in letting players loose in off-ball coverage, it’s hard to quibble too much with a unit that didn't allow a goal in the first half and only three by the time Drake Porter and the starters were taken out early in the fourth.
A day that started with a moment of silence and remembrance for the great No. 15, Rob Kavovit, ended with true freshman Liam Ferris scoring his first career goal to end the game with the No. 15.
It was fitting. It was poetic. It was perfect.
The Orange hit the road for the first time this year, and what a trip it’s going to be.
The boys will be heading down to Durham for a Top-5 showdown with the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils.
It’s a prime-time game on Thursday, March 25 at 7 PM on ACC Network, so be sure to tune in for a game that will feature some of the biggest and fastest rising stars in the collegiate game.
Until then, as always, Go Orange!!