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No. 8 Syracuse men’s lacrosse falls to pieces in cringeworthy 22-8 loss to No. 4 Notre Dame

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The Orange took a 4-3 lead early in the second quarter...anyone remember that?

Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

This has happened far too many times this season.

On Saturday afternoon in South Bend, the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team were run off the field at Arlotta Stadium by the the Notre Dame Fighting Irish courtesy of a 22-8 beatdown.

SU was a dumpster fire in this one. It was a game where everything went wrong after Peter Dearth gave SU a 4-3 lead two minutes into the second quarter. ND’s FOGO Charlie Leonard scored eight seconds later off the ensuing face-off, and that was all she wrote for the Orange.

After that, every bounce went the wrong way. Every loose ball found its way into a ND stick. Every bit of luck went the way of the Irish. “Every loose ball has come up for Notre Dame”, said ESPN analyst Matt Ward at one point in the second half. Yes, that pretty much summed it up.

The defense was atrocious. Notre Dame had 19 goals with 20 minutes left in the game, before things slowed down. Pat Kavanagh set a ND record with 10 points, giving him 19 in the two games against SU. At one point, they tried switching to a zone. Didn’t work.

On two separate occasions in the first half, the Irish scored directly off a face-off after Syracuse had scored a goal. One of those was because Jakob Phaup threw the ball right to Kavanagh after winning a draw.

What else went wrong? Just about anything you can think of, I suppose. Sloppy passing. Bad mistakes. Defensive lapses. On and on.

This was the most fitting ending imaginable to a tumultuous week for this program with the Chase Scanlan ‘domestic police call’ incident and subsequent mishandling of his reinstatement by the athletic department.

How much was the team’s performance today a result of the events of this week?

Who knows? It’s impossible to say, truly. We can speculate on it all we want, but does it even matter?

This was an unmitigated disaster of a game. The why's and how's of it all are in the past week, and now that it’s over I say we skip the autopsy and get right to the cremation. Just burn it all and try to start again tomorrow.

The Eye Test

Notre Dame stomping all over the Orange for the second time this season brings up an embarrassing situation for Syracuse.

This is their fifth loss of the season, and four of them have been completely laughable blowouts: the 18-11 loss to Army, the 18-11 loss to Notre Dame, the 21-9 loss to North Carolina, and the somehow-even-worse-than-UNC loss today to ND, 22-8.

Four games. Aggregate score: 79 to 39. An average margin of defeat of 10 goals per game in those losses.

Here’s where that goes from embarrassing to concerning. This is a weird year for the NCAA tournament, with the Big Ten only playing intra-conference and other leagues like the Big East playing limited out-of-conference schedules.

That means that the traditional methods of evaluation for the tournament are going to be somewhat altered this season. How altered will they be? Impossible to say. The committee hasn’t even nailed down some of the basic requirements for making the tournament yet, so getting a precise answer on how teams for at-large spots and seeding will be evaluated at this point is unlikely.

But one thing that’s been discussed throughout the spring is the notion that the eye test will be more important than ever this year for evaluating teams since RPI is less trustworthy than normal (and it’s barely trustworthy to begin with), and other criteria such as ‘head-to-head’ and ‘common opponents’ won’t be possible in most cases.

Well, guess what? I don’t think there’s a team in the at-large conversation who has FAILED the eye test more times this season than the Syracuse Orange. On four occasions, they have gotten vaporized by their opponents. Yes, those opponents have all been really good. But SU didn’t just lose those games, they looked like they didn’t belong.

Syracuse’s main arguments at this point are their strength of schedule, their two Virginia wins, and being the de-facto champs of the America East with wins over Vermont, Stony Brook and Albany.

I myself said after last week’s win in Charlottesville, this team will definitely get in now that they guaranteed a .500 record because of their SOS. I still feel that way, but you’ve got to be concerned about what the selection committee is thinking of when they think of this Syracuse team.

How could you not think about this way-too-long list of unacceptable performances they’ve put out there this season? The only two times they’ve passed the eye test all season are the wins against the same UVA team that they apparently match-up perfectly with. I think that plus SOS will be enough to get them in, but geese guys, maybe start showing up a big more consistently?

Up Next

I hate to be the one to remind you of this, but this Syracuse team has another game in less than a week.

The team will be back home for the regular season finale against Robert Morris, for a matchup that is the replacement for the previously cancelled Utah game.

The game will be this Friday, May 7 at 4 PM on ACC Network.

Watch it, if you’re the kind of person whose a glutton for punishment, like me.

And, you know, Let’s Go Orange!?