Syracuse Lacrosse dropped a heartbreaker in an instant classic with #6 Duke. The Orange and Blue Devils went to overtime for the fourth time in the last six matchups. Charles Balsamo tallied the game winner for the Dukies with about a minute left in the extra session.
That was a really tough way to end the game and it may have felt like a waste to some. Syracuse’s starting goaltender Will Mark was absolutely sensational on Sunday afternoon. The net minder recorded 27 saves in the 14-13 loss. That performance was historic and not one we’ve seen in quite some time.
Paul Bishop still maintains the crown in terms of SU’s single-game saves record of 34 (4/25/1973). In any case that was an unreal performance by the Long Island University transfer. Mark blocked bouncer, dunks, and howitzer’s from the outside as well. The Blue Devils may have won 22-9 if he wasn’t between the pipes for the ‘Cuse.
To put into perspective how good the transfer goalie has been playing, here’s how poor the keeper play was last year. Mark has now racked up 13 or more saves in five of his six games. Last season, Syracuse received (1) such performance between Bobby Gavin and Harrison Thompson.
Now, Duke did nail like a dozen pipes in this game; however, after doing research those shots did not get counted as saves, or at least they shouldn’t have.
So what’s the point? Well, Syracuse sits at 3-3, 0-2 ACC right now after a shootout loss to UNC and now this against Duke. The Orange offense has been solid but too much pressure is being placed on the defense and Mark. Gary Gait and Company must continue to work on ball possession, shot selection, and taking care of the ball to alleviate the stress on the defense.
Look, you’ve got an All-American level goaltender on the back end, now you need to find ways to help him out and then you’ll be successful.