The battle for the Kraus-Simmons Trophy turned into a one-sided affair on Saturday afternoon in the JMA Dome, as the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team took it to a Hobart Statesmen team that had no answers in an 18-7 win.
The Orange have now retained possession of the trophy, named for Syracuse and Hobart legends Roy Simmons, Sr. and Babe Kraus, 34 times in the 37 years it has been contested. It’s also the 80th SU win in the all-time series that’s now been played 108 times between the two.
Keeping the trophy home#HHH x #LikeNoOther pic.twitter.com/V5gVLKFaPI— Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse (@CuseMLAX) March 25, 2023
The win is ‘Cuse’s third in a row to improve their record on the season to 6-4 heading into their difficult (to say the least) home stretch of the season.
After Hobart jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, the Orange fired back with a 7-0 run in pretty short order to take a lead they would never relinquish. The Statesmen did respond with two in a row to make it 7-4 SU, but that was as close as they got.
The Orange ended up taking a 9-4 lead into the halftime break and went on an 8-1 overall run to take a commanding 10-goal lead, 15-5, early in the fourth.
SU’s shooters just barraged the Hobart defense with shots, putting up 60 for the game. While only 31 of those shots actually found the cage, that’s still an immense amount of consistent pressure that the defense and goalie found themselves under all game long. That’s a lot to have to deal with if you’re a defense, and it showed on the scoreboard.
Joey Spallina’s (4G, 2A) hot streak has continued right along with his team’s, as the freshman sensation has scored at least six points in three consecutive games. He finished with four goals and two assists in this game, and two of his goals were the spectacular backhanded shovel shot when he’s facing away from goal, a move that he is quickly putting his trademark on in his young career.
JOEY DID IT AGAIN.— USA Lacrosse Magazine (@USALacrosseMag) March 25, 2023
Another outrageous BTB for the @CuseMLAX freshman. pic.twitter.com/kV598XbZv7
Excuse me, WHAT.— Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse (@CuseMLAX) March 25, 2023
Joey with another absurd goal, switching hands and hitting another low and away BTB.
https://t.co/lF3rbu8XW1#HHH x #LikeNoOther pic.twitter.com/RrH3xTbgPG
As part of his great day, Spallina moved into the top-10 freshman seasons in terms of all three of goals, assists, and points. And there’s still five more games to go, at least.
Johnny Cohen (2G, 2A) continued to make a bid for more playing time, which he got today, by scoring four points for the second straight game. The kid’s a dynamic playmaker who can attack a defense in a variety of different ways. I’m very excited to see more out of him moving forward.
Michael Leo (3G) had a great game with a first-half hat trick, and Owen Hiltz (1G, 2A) had three points, as well. Cole Kirst (2G) scored two goals, the first of which was the 100th point of his college career. Jackson Birtwistle (2G) and Finn Thomson (1G, 1A) also added two points each.
The defense had a really strong day, overall. They held Hobart to just 33 total shots while the Statesmen committed 19 turnovers. 10 of those turnovers were caused by the Orange, led by two each from SSDMs Carter Rice and Max Rosa.
Will Mark was once again outstanding in net, making 14 saves while only giving up six goals (.700 save percentage) before being taken out for Harrison Thompson late.
The only area of the game where Hobart had any real success was, of course, on face-offs and the ground ball game. The Statesmen won restarts, 16-13, and GBs, 33-25.
To be fair, three of those SU face-off losses were by freshman Gavin Gibbs. Primary FOGOs Johnny Richiusa (4-of-9) and Jack Fine (9-of-17) did earn a 50-50 split between them.
The Orange will be back in action next weekend when they kick their schedule back up a handful of notches. They will host the No. 1 ranked (not for long) Notre Dame Fighting Irish next Saturday, April 1 at 2 PM on ACC Network. It will be SU’s final home game of the season and, obviously, Senior Day.