Syracuse lacrosse finally found a deficit it couldn’t overcome.
The Orange dug itself into a 6-0 deficit in the first quarter of the NCAA Quarterfinals against Towson in Delaware, and could only get as close as three late in the fourth quarter as SU’s season ended with a 10-7 loss.
“To put up six goals, we found ourselves playing catchup the rest of the way,” Syracuse coach John Desko said. “They kept all those offensive long possessions. We kind of had to watch the clock run down.”
The Tigers took five of the seven faceoffs in the first quarter, and ended up plus-9 in the shots category. Towson was led by Joe Seider, who notched four goals, and four assists from Ryan Drenner.
Nate Solomon led Syracuse with four goals, while Evan Molloy finished with 12 saves.
“Hats off to Towson and I wish them good luck next weekend,” Desko said.
Still, it wouldn’t have been out of the question for the Orange to rally, as it has all season. SU went 9-1 in one-goal games this season, many of them where it was forced to come from behind.
The Orange showed glimpses in the fourth quarter, outscoring Towson 4-1. But SU simply didn’t have enough time to mount a rally.
It left Syracuse one game short of heading to the NCAA semifinals for a 28th time. It hasn’t reached the Final Four since the 2013 season, when it was runner up to Duke.
Though some may point to a decline in Syracuse’s dominance, that has been more about parity as opposed to SU losing a step, Desko said.
“I think that lacrosse has changed so much over the years. All the teams are good. You make it this far, it’s like a final four game. Everybody this weekend is a very good lacrosse team.”
Perhaps an unlikely run to the No. 1 ranking also set expectations higher than they should have been. The Orange started the season outside of the top 10 and wasn’t considered a title contender until midway through the year.
“Look at Scott Firman and the year he’s had; he’s turned into a First Team All-American,” Desko said. “For the record we had and the way we played the games all year; all the one-goal games that we came out on top of.”
Fireman agreed with the assessment.
“I’ve never been a part of a team that literally doesn’t have quit in their vocabulary,” he said. “You look at the ACC and coming down from eight goals and even today. A lot of those games it’d be easy to step back and quit, but that didn’t happen a single time this season.”
Brad Bierman contributed to this story with reporting from Newark, Delaware.