The Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team finished off a perfect weekend of Dome lax on Sunday afternoon with a 15-6 win over the Holy Cross Crusaders.
This game, the Orange’s third in nine days to start the season, was simply a mismatch in opposition as ‘Cuse put their superiority on display throughout the afternoon.
Joey Spallina had his second-straight monster game, and his second-straight five goal performance, as he led ‘Cuse with seven points (5G, 2A) on the afternoon. Owen Hiltz put his superior passing on display in throwing down four assists and five points (1G, 4A). Finn Thomson (4G), Alex Simmons (1G, 3A) and Michael Leo (2G, 2A), having a breakout day, all had big games with four points each. Cole Kirst added two points (1G, 1A), as well.
The brashness and flair was once again on display for the SU offense, as they continued their trend of playing loose and throwing behind-the-back passes around like you get points for them. Owen Hiltz had a particularly gorgeous one on a first-quarter assist to Finn Thomson. The ball movement was really smooth in this game, and it showed in the box score to the tune of 13 assists on 15 goals, an obviously outstanding number.
I will say, though, it was not the best shooting day for the Orange. The Holy Cross goalies finished with 20 saves on the day, led by 19 from starter Dawson Friers. While Friers was certainly had a great afternoon, I did think a lot of those stops were the result of some subpar shot selection and placement. Hey, something to get re-focused on ahead of the Maryland game. Overall, the team shot 15-of-51 (.294).
Defensively, the game simply wasn't much of a challenge for Dave Pietramala’s unit, mostly because Holy Cross couldn’t stop throwing the ball away. The Crusaders finished with a ghastly 23 turnovers, an impressive 10 of which were caused for ‘Cuse’s defense. Nick Caccamo and Saam Olexo led the way with three and two of those, respectively.
Will Mark didn’t have much to do in this game, especially early on, but he was once again outstanding when called upon. Mark finished with nine saves against only three goals against, a .750 save percentage.
The biggest struggle on the day for SU was unquestionably on face-offs, where Johnny Richiusa (9-of-21) and Jack Fine (2-of-4) combined to go 11-of-25 on restarts. 44 (percent) might be a legendary number in the 315, but it most definitely makes FOs a big concern heading into the matchup with Maryland’s Luke Wierman, arguably the best FOGO in the country.
The Orange EMO units were once again outstanding, going perfect on the day. The man-up unit scored on all four of their opportunities, while the man-down unit held the Crusaders to 0-for-2.
The Orange got off to a predictably fast start, moving the ball well and showing creativity and flair in scoring the game’s first five goals, including a beautiful BTB give-and-go goal between Finn Thomson and Owen Hiltz. SU held a 5-1 lead after the first.
The second quarter was more of the same, just in reverse. The Crusaders scored the first goal of the quarter before the Orange rattled off four in a row, showcasing ball movement that was too efficient for Holy Cross to keep pace. ‘Cuse held a 9-2 lead at the half.
The third quarter was once again dominated by SU as they racked up five more goals to take their biggest lead at 14-2. In the fourth quarter, Gary Gait put the subs in and they got outscored by the Holy Cross starters, 4-1, as the final frame went the way of the visitors.
The Orange will be back in action next weekend for their first big test of the season and their first road game when they travel down to College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, February 18 at 1 PM on BIG10+. Good luck to us all with that.