Syracuse lacrosse plays in ACC Tourney with NCAA bid in mind

John Desko
Syracuse lacrosse head coach John Desko speaks during a press conference. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

Syracuse plays Virginia in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament on Friday evening, with SU seeking its third ACC title in its fifth appearance. Here’s a quick look at the game:

NCAA TOURNEY POSITIONING: The 2018 ACC Tournament has a bit of a different flavor for the Syracuse lacrosse team. Normally, the Orange is mostly tuning up for what many expect to be a deep NCAA Tournament run. But this year, Syracuse is in a precarious position at 7-5, meaning that the ACC Tournament could make or break Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament chances. Syracuse head coach John Desko said that in recent years, the committee has taken more of the approach of its counterparts in basketball, taking into account recent play, head-to-head matchups and injured players. That makes this weekend that much more important, since Virginia, Notre Dame and Duke are all in the mix for NCAA Tournament bids. “No one wants a loss on their record at this time of year, especially going down the stretch,” Desko said. “It’s more than just playing in the ACC Tournament.”

» Related: Syracuse lacrosse in surprising position for deep tournament run

IN SYRACUSE’S LAST GAME: The Orange has a perfect 4-0 ACC record, but has faltered in non-conference play, including its 13-12 loss to Navy on Saturday. Syracuse had tied the game with 58 seconds left, but Navy scored twice in the final nine seconds. The two stats that stood out were turnovers (14) and faceoffs (16-11 in favor of Navy). “Really disappointing with the mistakes we made with the turnovers,” Desko said. “When you lose a game like that, everything becomes more magnified because you lost a game by one.”

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: SU and UVa have played 34 times, with the Orange leading the series 18-16. Syracuse has won four straight against Virginia, including on March 4 in a 12-11 win. Freshman Tucker Dordevic scored the game-winner with 12 seconds left as part of a four-goal afternoon. “Rematches are always difficult, especially when you won the first game,” Desko said. “The team that lost that game is a little hungrier when you face each other next.”

GAME INFORMATION: Friday, April 27 at 8:30 p.m. at Klockner Stadium. TV: ESPNU.

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Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.