Well, they sure didn’t play like a team in a must-win situation.
On a soaking wet Thursday night in New York’s Capital Region, the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team lost, 14-12, on an incredibly frustrating night to an Albany Great Danes team in the midst of a bad season.
The loss dropped the Orange to 4-6 on the year and now puts them in the pretty much impossible position of having to win three of four against top-flight, ranked teams.
This game was an absolute slop-fest. In monsoon-like conditions, both teams turned it over 21 times for a whopping 42 total in one game. The difference, though, was in each team’s efficiency with the ball when they weren’t turning it over.
While Syracuse blitzed Albany in total shots by a 52-30 margin, it was the Great Danes’ efficiency in shots-on-goal that put them over the top in this one. The Orange’s 22-shot margin shrunk down to just two (27-25) when focusing in on the goal. Albany put an astounding 83 percent of their shots on goal (25-of-30), while ‘Cuse struggled to just 52 percent (27-of-52). It goes to show that sometimes it’s not the overall volume of looks, but what you make of the looks you do get.
A big reason for that inefficiency was the Orange offense’s inability to create good scoring chances with consistency. There was too much attacking from isolation and not enough good ball and player off-ball movement. Additionally, Albany defender Elijah Gash did a nice job of executing his coaching staff’s game plan of denying Tucker Dordevic the ball as often as possible. While Tucker did record a hat trick, there were a number of possessions where he ended up non-factoring, something that spells trouble for a banged-up ‘Cuse offense that lacks depth behind their star.
The Orange off-ball defense left too many Great Dane shooters with open looks, especially in unsettled or transition situations, which is how the home team got a large percentage of their tallies. Many of those unsettled opportunities came off SU mistakes in the form of careless turnovers or general bad decisions with the ball.
Speaking of careless mistakes, ‘Cuse committed six penalties, which led to three man-up goals for the Danes. They also went offsides, both on offense and defense, about three or four times leading to either penalties or turnovers.
So, yes, I guess you could say they didn’t play very well.
Five Syracuse players scored three points on the night. Tucker Dordevic (3G), Owen Seebold (3G) and Jacob Buttermore (3G) all had hat tricks, while Brendan Curry (2G, 1A) and Mikey Berkman (1G, 2A) also recorded a trifecta of points. Outside of those five players, only one assist from Jerry Staats was recorded from the rest of the team. Jakob Phaup was overall strong on face-offs, going 18-of-30 and scooping up 11 ground balls.
Home on Monday vs. Cornell pic.twitter.com/84Wfa4tdaQ— Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse (@CuseMLAX) April 8, 2022
The night actually started off okay for Syracuse. Through the games first 11 plus minutes, the Orange held a 4-3 lead in a first quarter in which the offense was producing. Curry and Dordevic scored on wonderful individual efforts using their speed and dodging ability, respectively.
Albany leading scorer Graydon Hogg scored his second of the first quarter with roughly two and a half minutes remaining to tie the game at 4-4. SU never saw the lead the rest of the game.
They were dominated in the second quarter as the turnovers and mistakes started to take control of the game for ‘Cuse. In fact, after they took a 4-3 lead late in the first quarter, the Orange were outscored 8-2 for almost the next 30 minutes of the game.
That awful run put the Danes up 11-6 and in complete control before a furious four goal run in the final 4:30 of the third quarter seemingly came out of nowhere and gave SU life heading into the final quarter down only 11-10.
Sadly, one of Albany’s face-off men, Nick Karnes, scored seven seconds into the quarter to halt the SU momentum in its tracks and re-inject life into the Albany sideline. Less than a minute later, Dordevic scored another highlight-reel goal to bring it back to one, but that was as close as the Orange would get. Albany scored two of the final three goals and rode off into the rain-soaked night with a win in the first ever meeting between these two teams in the state’s capital.
Gary Gait and his boys have the weekend to figure something out before the No. 6 Cornell Big Red come to the Dome for a rare and weird Monday night game on April 11 at 7 PM on ACC Network.