A complete dumpster fire of a season came to an appropriately crushing end for the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse on Saturday night, as they lost to the Georgetown Hoyas, 18-8, in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The game was, in many ways, a microcosm of the entire Syracuse season: bad defense, poor execution on offense, tons of penalties, and mental mistakes all over the field.
In this game, Syracuse scored eight goals and committed 11 penalties.
What more do you need to know? What more do you even want to know once you know that?
For an offense with so much supposed talent on it, this group struggled all season with basic skills such as passing and catching. How many times this season did we see an offensive possession thrown away on a careless pass or a catchable pass that wasn’t secured? More than I’ve ever seen from one team before, and it continued in this game. For a team with noted face-off issues and a bad defense, those kinds of mistakes end up being the final nail in the coffin.
Once we reached the second half, a lead approaching and eventually finding double-digits was met with further frustration in the form of stupid penalties. The Orange’s second half consisted of literally more than twice as many penalties (9) as goals (4).
The game and the season reached a fever pitch as players were heard on the ESPN U broadcast cursing out the referees after calls.
Sadly, it was an ending that felt right at home in a season where Syracuse lost five games by at least seven goals and three by double-digits.
Just an absolute dumpster fire.
Georgetown opened up the scoring 38 seconds in on a goal from midfielder Declan McDermott, who added another to make it 2-0 Hoyas.
Owen Seebold got the Orange on the board with a great roll dodge before another Hoya goal off a bad Peter Dearth transition shot. Owen Hiltz closed the first quarter at the end of a chaotic sequence on a nice feed from Stephen Rehfuss.
The second quarter is where Georgetown ran away with it, scoring five consecutive goals to get up 8-2, the final of which was scored after Drake Porter made a save, left the crease, and then stepped back in for the turnover.
Rehfuss and Brett Kennedy scored goals to make it relatively close, 8-4, at halftime, but that was the last even remotely positive thing to happen.
Georgetown opened the second half with another five-goal run to turn this one into a true laugher (or crier if you’re a SU fan). Up 13-4 at that point, the Orange had a quick burst of three goals to get within six.
You never actually got the feeling they were going to make a comeback, but it was kind of nice to see a little bit of life from the team.
That pseudo-nice feeling got stomped out quickly as Georgetown ended the game on a 5-1 run to beat SU by 10, as the only thing the Orange could muster at that point was committing more frustration penalties.
It was just a brutal ending to a season laced with frustration at virtually every turn, and a very sad one for the seniors who will end their Orange careers with 2021 as their final legacy.
They came back because of “unfinished business” in 2020, but it was they who got finished off in the end. Did they let the 2020 hype get into their heads and hearts? Was that one of the root causes of this total flop of a season?
It’s impossible to say, really. We can guess. We can speculate. But we’ll never truly know.
All in all, I think it’s safe to say that this season ended in the same way it was played all year long: in chaotic frustration that leaves all Orange supporters wondering what has become of Syracuse lacrosse, and where do we go from here?
It isn’t just that the team went 7-6 and lost in the first round of the tournament, again. For the third straight tournament. It’s the way they looked doing it. All year, it was a team that didn’t execute the way a winning team does. And then you throw in all the blowouts where we got run off the field.
Forget being an elite program ourselves. We can’t even come close to the elite programs.
One thing is very clear at this point: something, whatever it might be, needs to change about this program.
Do heads need to roll? Desko? Rogers? I know we’ve all got our thoughts on that, but what does John Wildhack think?
If he thinks that staying the status quo and simply putting our heads down and getting back to work is the way to go, he may need to think again.