The Orange was outworked defensively in a first-round loss in the NCAA tourney.
Unfortunately The Fizz predicted this, but it didn’t make SU’s early postseason exit at the hands of Duke 12-9 Saturday any easier to watch. Syracuse was out-played for the last time this season, getting out-hustled after bringing the fight to both Villanova and St. John’s just to make the NCAAs.
The game was a mirror image of the up-and-down regular season. After letting up a slew of early goals, Syracuse clawed back to tie it at 5 by the beginning of the second half. As quickly as that momentum appeared, it evaporated. Duke responded by scoring 4 straight to take a 9-5 lead as part of a Dookie-dominant third quarter. From there, SU made stupid mistakes and continually turned the ball over to a Blue Devils offense that caught fire.
Like much of the season, Syracuse faced-off like a middle school team, winning just 7-of-24 at X. The worst part about this pathetic performance is that Duke didn’t even use star C.J. Costabile for all of the face-offs. Syracuse had chances against Brendan Fowler for most of the game, who still managed to take 12 of his 17 attempts.
The last time Syracuse played Duke, the score was nearly identical (12-10), but SU at least held up on the defensive end. On Saturday, the zone defense that worked well in the Big East tournament was clowned repeatedly by Duke attacker Christian Walsh and midfielders Justin Turri and Robert Rotanz – each of whom had hat tricks. The defense was slow and left open scoring lanes all afternoon, which Duke took advantage.
When Syracuse did have chances on offense it squandered them with poor shot placement. At one point in the first half, SU was operating at 7% offensive efficiency. By the end of the game, the Orange netted just 25% of their shots.
Syracuse’s EMO unit was also pitiful. SU had 3 early chances to score with a man-advantage in the first half and failed to capitalize on all of them. Duke’s EMO wasn’t any better (both went 1-for-4), so this was an area Syracuse could have exploited.
This season’s theme was centered around rebounding from the Orange’s loss of some of the best talent in program history. While SU went down swinging, it will lose more top end talent going into next year. Tommy Palasek and Tim Desko have both worn the Orange jersey for the last time. Now, the ‘Cuse has to hope it’s battle-tested underclassmen can rise to the occasion.
A disappointing campaign comes to an abrupt end, which brings back all of the old nagging questions The Fizz asked during the season. Is SU getting lazy on the recruiting trail? Why cant the Orange win face-offs? Does Syracuse find itself at odds with the rest of the lax world? SU Lax leaves Orange Nation to pack up the pinnies without much in the way of answers.
Posted: Jake Moskowitz