DURHAM, N.C.— Coming off two straight disappointing loses, Syracuse lacrosse needed a shot in the arm. The offense was stagnant and lacking a strong finishing punch. A 15-14 win over No. 3 Duke cured that quickly.
“We wanted to play some offense today, we wanted to play loose,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “Last couple of games we held the ball a little bit, we were a little bit tentative. The guys today just went out and played.”
The team made a clear effort to execute Desko’s plan. At the cost of some early turnovers, the Orange came out firing. It was the most comfortable the team has looked on offense since its first game against Binghamton.
“The past couple games, we kind of let our foot off the gas,” senior Brendan Bomberry said. “I think we addressed that this week.”
Bomberry knew how important this win was for the Orange given its recent losing streak.
“I was trying to do whatever I could to get this W,” Bomberry said. “If it meant scoring goals, I was going to score goals. If you were going to stick me in net and we were going to win, I’d do that too.”
Entering the contest, Duke ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 7.1 goals per game. The Orange had pumped in seven at halftime on Saturday.
Fifteen was the most goals the Blue Devils have allowed all season, with only two other teams reaching double digits.
The impressive performance was a true team effort. Nine different players scored for SU in the victory. Desko pointed to redshirt sophomore Stephen Rehfuss for making that possible.
“He understood what we were trying to do offensively,” Desko said. “He found open people and thank goodness he did. That one of the reasons we’ve got so many other people involved.”
Rehfuss finished the game with two goals and three assists, the latter setting a new season high.
For sophomore Jamie Trimboli, this was less about a single game, and more about forging an identity.
“Last week, we were kind of timid, because we didn’t want to turn the ball over, like we did against John’s Hopkins,” Trimboli said. “We had some alumni, Liam Banks, come back and talk to us about it, playing loose, playing Syracuse lacrosse. Playing timid is not any part of that.”
Bomberry knew this was a statement win.
“We’re here,” Bomberry said. “We’re not going anywhere that’s for sure.”
Beating a top five team on the road usually sends that message loud and clear.
Syracuse returns home for its next game, a matchup with fourth-ranked Notre Dame.