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Syracuse men’s lacrosse: Orange overpower Colgate, 18-10, in messy Monday night game

It wasn’t always the prettiest game, but the offense still had plenty to say against their in-state rivals.

Colgate v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team came out on top in the renewal of their in-state rivalry with the Colgate Raiders on Monday night, prevailing 18-10 and moving to 2-0 with their second win in three days to start the season.

This was a very messy and physical game that was, in large part, defined by the teams combining for 39 turnovers, nine failed clears and 19 penalties. But it was also a game that showcased the firepower of the ‘Cuse offense and their vastly improved face-off and ground ball play.

Let’s consider for a moment that the Orange turned the ball over 21 times, had six failed clears (21-of-27, 77.8 percent), Colgate goalie Matt LaCombe made 18 saves, and they still scored 18 goals. How many could they have reached if they just held onto the ball a little bit better?

The performance from Gary Gait’s side was weirdly inconsistent, as SU dominated in the first and third quarters to take over the game, but struggled in the second and fourth. 15 of their 18 goals came combined in the first 15 minutes of each half, which gave them enough separation to take their foot off the gas. But oscillating back-and-forth between high-octane scoring and extended sloppiness is something this team will have to clean up moving forward.

Joey Spallina (4G, 5A) had a field day against a Colgate defense that often would not follow him below GLE. Plenty of times throughout the evening, Joey conducted the offense from X with the defense hung-up on the other side of the goal. That allowed him to stand stationary as his teammates tried to get free above GLE. Joey, who tied his career high with nine points, had five assists on the day, and every one of them came when he wasn’t being pressured from behind the cage.

Owen Hiltz (3G, 3A) had a big day both finishing and feeding with six points on three of each, and Michael Leo (3G, 1A) had a strong game with a hat trick and four points. Finn Thomson (2G, 1A), Christian Mulé (1G, 2A) and Mason Kohn (1G, 2A) all had three points to make it six players with multiple-point days.

Kohn spearheaded a huge game on restarts in which the Orange as a team went 24-of-31 (77.4 percent) and destroyed the Raiders in the ground ball battle, 58-27. For his efforts, Kohn was 17-of-22 (77.3 percent) with a ridiculous 14 ground balls and three points helping to initiate offense. In this game, ‘Cuse scored a goal off a FO four different times, and Kohn was involved in three of those. John Mullen was a tremendous complimentary piece, going 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) with seven GBs.

Defensively, SU was credited with 15 caused turnovers in the incredibly sloppy game. Saam Olexo (1G, 3GB, 2CT), Nick Caccamo (3GB, 2CT) and Riley Figueiras (2GB, 2CT) all led the way with two CTs each. Will Mark actually led the team with three CTs in addition to his 11 saves, four GBs and .524 save percentage.

The Orange came out of the gates like a team on fire with five goals in just over five minutes to take early control of this one. But that early domination gave way to a total slop-fest for the rest of the first half. SU was very careless with the ball and turned it over constantly as Colgate outscored the hosts 6-4 the rest of the way to make it a 9-6 Orange lead at the break.

The team perhaps got the message from Gait and the staff at halftime, because they came out and put up an eight-spot in the third which included two EMO goals and three goals scored directly off FOs.

‘Gate had been looking like they were in the upset mood again heading into halftime, but that stretch dashed those hopes for good and put ‘Cuse up 17-8 after three.

The Orange will be back in action very soon for their third game in a seven day period when they take the field this Friday, February 9 for a meeting with the Manhattan Jaspers in the JMA Dome at 4 PM on ACC Network Extra.