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Syracuse men’s lacrosse: Three takeaways from 19-13 loss to #12 North Carolina

Maybe the chrome domes are a bad omen...

The Syracuse Orange are likely to fall out of the rankings after a 19-13 loss to #12 North Carolina. Things were not pretty to begin this game, and a good third quarter wasn’t enough to erase a massive halftime deficit. So... what went wrong?

2/1 is a 2-for-1 Issue

How dominant were the Tar Heels in the first 30 minutes? Well, you could take just about any of Syracuse’s offensive categories in the first half and double it to figure out how Carolina was doing. Take a look at these stats:

  • Goals - UNC 12, SU 6
  • Shots - UNC 31, SU 16
  • Shots on Goal - UNC 21, SU 9
  • Faceoffs - UNC 13, SU 7
  • Ground Balls - UNC 30, SU 16

You simply are not going to win games with such lopsided numbers. There’s no one person I can point towards causing this struggle, but I’d put more of it on the defensive end than the offense. Yes, SU’s attack sometimes tried one too many passes before attempting a shot, either resulting in a bad angle or a loss of possession. Joey Spallina played a bit too passive in my eyes; it’s good that he recognizes there are other scorers, but he is able to create the most separation of this bunch and shouldn’t be hesitating to try getting up close like he did on his second goal. Overall, it wasn’t a bad effort considering the guy in net - they just need to be more concise with their even-strength setups.

As for the Orange back six, their biggest issue was...

Secondary Slides Need Some Work

Anyone reading who also likes football has probably seen a few “walk-in touchdowns” in their lifetimes. A similar analogy is appropriate for some of the North Carolina goals scored today.

Gary Gait admitted after the game that a big reason for his team’s struggles on defense was their inability to slide consistently. There were guys out of position on rotations throughout the game, and more often than not, it cost the Orange on the scoreboard. Here’s one example:

You can see how wide open these passes are, and it led to an up-close shot that SU’s netminder doesn’t have time to properly react too. While we’re talking about Will Mark...

A Will Doesn’t Guarantee a Way

The former Long Island netminder had another good game in cage for the Orange. I shudder thinking about what the score could have been if SU didn’t have a guy capable of making 18 and 17 saves against back-to-back ranked teams.

Still, it’s apparent that ‘Cuse can’t rely on Mark to bail them out of every situation. Fatigue is going to set in eventually while getting pelted with shots, and that 2nd Quarter is proof enough of that. Despite acrobatic grabs, deflections, and a split to stop a bouncing shot, Mark finished with a sub .500 save percentage for the first time this season. I have little doubt that the senior will continue to be reliable under reasonable circumstances, but it's up to the other nine guys on the field to take some of the heat off his shoulders.