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What Went Wrong for SU Men’s Lacrosse This Year?

Rich Barnes/USA Today Sports

Last night’s Syracuse-Georgetown tournament game will probably go down as one of the most embarrassing chapters in Syracuse athletics history, much less men’s lacrosse history. The Orange were humiliated 18-8 on national TV by an old Big East rival and totally lost their collective cool while doing it.

In some ways, it was a fitting end for a disastrous season that began with a #2 ranking by USILA and a metric ton of hype.

Against Georgetown and like so many other games this year, Syracuse looked distracted and flat from the get-go. For the second time in three games, SU got shut out in the 3rd quarter (they did it against Notre Dame on May 1st) and lost by double-digits for the third time in five games. With such a resounding loss, the narrative that Syracuse lacrosse isn’t an elite program anymore is circulating. What’s to blame for this mess?

For 2021 Syracuse men’s lacrosse, failure comes down to a lot of things you can’t really quantify, and that makes it all the more frustrating. 

You can point to redshirt-senior goalie Drake Porter’s below-average .476 save percentage and know he didn’t have a great season just from the eye test, but it’s also true that injuries to Nick DiPietro and Brandon Aviles at different points left a vulnerable defense shorthanded. Of all the problems SU had this year, the team defense should be number one on any list. Oft-injured and disorganized, Syracuse allowed the most goals in the ACC (183) by a pretty wide margin.

Other than that, it’s hard to say what afflicted Syracuse throughout the year. Maybe it was big-time overconfidence after finishing last year 5-0 and ranked #1 in the country before going 351 days between games.

Maybe it was a slump for Syracuse’s first line middies, once billed as one of the best groups in program history, who struggled to match last year’s 11-goals-per-game output and seemed to vanish from games at times. The trio of Jamie Trimboli, Tucker Dordevic, and Brendan Curry totaled just 3 goals against Georgetown, but all were scored by Trimboli in the 4th quarter with the game all but lost. 

Maybe it was the totally warranted but distracting suspension of Chase Scanlan, whose arrest marked the loss of SU’s then-leading scorer. It’s worth noting again that Syracuse’s team-wide stance on the issue was incredibly admirable.


All in all, Syracuse enters this offseason with a lot more questions than answers. John Desko’s last title in 2009 now seems like a long time ago, and it’s up to him (or perhaps someone else) to pick up the pieces this offseason.

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