The Syracuse Orange men's lacrosse team fell to the Maryland Terrapins 13-7 on Saturday in the NCAA Quarterfinals. While surely a disappointing loss, we need to keep in mind two things: SU outperformed all expectations coming into the season and Maryland is probably the best squad in the country.
The Orange struck first on a Tim Barber goal after he was able to juke his short stick defender behind net, take it up and around cage going high on Kyle Bernlohr (1-0 SU). This would be the only lead Syracuse would get in the game. The Terps struck back with a goal from Matt Rambo sending Maryland on a 5-0 run that lasted into the second quarter. Rambo had four goals on four shots on net and two assists on the day. That being said, the Syracuse defense put a lot of pressure on him forcing the junior to cough up the ball five times with Brandon Mullins causing three of those.
Pat Young picked up Maryland's second goal of the game, and then three more to finish his day with four goals on five shots. Young picked apart Syracuse's Evan Molloy from the top of the box where he got three of his four tallies.
There were several points in the game that I though the momentum really started to swing towards Syracuse but the Orange were unable to sustain it. The best such opportunity appeared in the third quarter. Following a Pat Young goal at 10:14 in the third that made the score 8-3 Maryland, Cal Paduda got leveled off of the faceoff and the referees called a one minute cross-checking penalty on the Terps.
At the time of the penalty, Syracuse had gotten two previous EMOs but failed to convert on either with Matt Lane taking taking two poorly advised outside shots that made for easy saves. On this opportunity, Nick Mariano took a deep shot just 21 seconds into the man-up. Syracuse was able to get it back on the rebound and with some quick passing in the unsettled situation got it to Matt Lane who fired a third long-range shot as Syracuse fans groaned. However, this one connected (8-4 UMD).
Just over a minute later, Sergio Salcido took a shot from deep that rebounded right to Devin Shewell who was able to put a bouncer past an out of position Bernlohr (8-5 UMD). SU won the ensuing faceoff to grab another possession with Tim Barber hitting pipe but winning the race to the sideline.
With SU on this 2 goal run and getting some good chances, the momentum was killed on a Nate Solomon penalty. Solomon was able to get off a shot while getting hit and falling on to the ground. While on the grass, Solomon took a swipe at a Maryland defender's leg and the referees called him for an offensive slash. Syracuse would only get two more goals in the game after this point. The freshman did have two goals and two groundballs on the day. He has a big future with Syracuse, and while this was a badly timed mistake I'm chalking it up to just being a young player.
Solomon played some attack today in place of Jordan Evans. For most of the day Maryland chose to pole Salcido and Nick Mariano and leave the third attackman with a shorty. I have no idea why this strategy has not been used more widely against Syracuse, but it certainly worked on Saturday. Mariano had nine shots, just three on goal, and zero points while Salcido had a goal and an assist. Evans finished the game with two shots on goal and no points.
In my Maryland preview I said don't go high on Bernlohr, throw fakes and go low, and avoid the outside shots. Syracuse really failed to do any of that. Kyle Bernlohr finished up with 16 saves, most of them on long shots from SU and in close attempts that finished high without fakes. I am somewhat dumfounded by Syracuse's performance offensively. There appeared to be no theme for the Syracuse offense. I'm a little bit curious to know how much game film Syracuse watched on Bernlohr or the Maryland defense. One stat that should make an impression, Syracuse had only three assists. Against a goalie as good as Bernlohr and a defense that does a great job guarding against inside feeds, you have to move the ball to try and catch them out of position or in transition. That simply just wasn't done. The Terps held SU's top four goal scorers to just one tally.
John Cassillo kept using the word "lazy" in his tweets about the game all day. As far as this SU offense goes, I can't disagree.
It should also be noted that Dylan Donahue ended his collegiate career by snapping his 41 game goal scoring streak. The senior had five shots and an assist on a very disappointing day. Nevertheless, Donahue will go down in Syracuse history as one of the all-time best finishing with 143 goals, 84 assists, and 227 points.
Credit to Ben Williams for his play today, the junior won 15 of 24 faceoffs with five groundballs. However, in that fourth quarter where SU was outscored 1-4, Williams won just one of five draws.
Defensively, I thought Syracuse did about as much as they could to keep a plethora of potential scorers at bay. There were some issues keeping up with the off ball movement, especially on Dylan Maltz who had a hat trick versus his former team, and one bad defensive breakdown on a Matt Rambo goal by Brandon Mullins. At the end of the day, you have to rely on Evan Molloy to do a lot more than he did today, especially on those ouside shots. I thought Molloy had his worst game since being named the starter and nabbed just four saves.
Finally, while this won't be the last lacrosse post of the year I just want to give a huge shout out to all of the people who take the time to read our articles, comment on the lacrosse stuff, and interact with us on twitter. As always it's been a lot of fun, and I really thank you for sharing your thoughts and opinions with us!