Syracuse’s lax season has been like walking past funhouse mirrors: you can make out the image, but it’s grotesquely distorted. The proud Orange program is struggling to grind out wins against teams it used to be able to pistol-whip half-awake. Teams just like unranked Georgetown, which came to the Dome and handed SU a humiliating 10-8 defeat Saturday.
What unfolded against the hated Hoyas was a horror show, a massive step backwards from any progress this young group had laid claim to. The Orange (7-6, 3-2 Big East) scored just three goals in the first half, and turned the ball over an outrageous 22 times. Georgetown won the hustle points too, beating SU by four ground balls, and won three more face-offs.
It was an ugly day all-around for the Orange. SU had never lost a Big East game coming into the season. This year it has lost two of them. Georgetown snapped a six-game losing streak to Syracuse, and ruined Senior Day in the process. Consider even the most ardent supporters stunned at how this season is turning out. As time wound down SU legend Jovan Miller (@JoviNation23) tweeted, “This can’t be real.”
Oh it’s real, Jovi. It’s as real as it gets. ESPNU’s Anish Shroff joined Fizz Radio before the game, and wondered whether SU would even make the Big East Tournament with a loss to the Hoyas. It was iffy, but SU is slotted as the third-seed in the B.E.T. in two weeks. Still, my how the mighty have fallen.
Syracuse has taken its fans on a bumpy ride from day one. The season began with questions about who would start between the pipes, and where the leaders would come from. SU hasn’t won more than two games in a row all year. The Orange has sunk to 23rd in LaxPower’s computer rankings, behind such legendary programs as Hofstra, Drexel and Bryant.
Syracuse, the kingpin of lacrosse legacy, the standard for lax swagger, and the birthplace of the sport, is more or less a .500 team. As former defensive All-American Ric Beardsley said on Fizz Radio last week, Syracuse’s only way into the dance may be by winning the Big East Tournament’s automatic NCAA bid.
Fans would like to believe that facing these uphill battles build character for a green group in search of it’s own identity. As it is in every sport to be the best, you have to beat the best. Syracuse knows that better than anyone from king of the Hill for so long.
Is the season over? Not yet, but if SU has any fight left in it, it needs to unleash it – fast.
Posted: Jake Moskowitz