A quick take on No. 8 seeded Syracuse’s hard fought, but yet disappointing, 10-9 loss to Cornell in the NCAA Tournament first round at the Dome on Sunday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Despite leading 7-5 at the half, the Orange offense sputtered in the second half as the Big Red came back and capped a season sweep over SU following a 13-8 win in Ithaca in April. Cornell’s Colton Rupp broke a 9-9 tie scoring a man-up goal with 5:35 left which proved to be the game winner for the Big Red (13-4). Syracuse had the ball for the final 1:16 of the game but could not get a good shot on goal. After making the NCAA quarterfinals each season since 2015, Syracuse (8-7) fell in the first round for the first time since the monumental upset loss to Bryant in the Dome in 2014
ANALYSIS: Despite winning the faceoff margin 15-6, the advantage in possessions did not benefit Syracuse as the young SU offense struggled in the second half scoring just two goals. The Syracuse defense on the other hand was terrific in limiting Cornell’s top offensive weapon Jeff Teat (just one assist), and with timely saves from goalie Dom Madonna, Syracuse had one last chance to force overtime before falling short.
HERO: With his All American teammate Teat (second in the nation in assists) held to just one assist, fellow Big Red attackman Clarke Peterson more than made up the offense for CU scoring a game-high five goals.
ZERO: Despite the most losses for a Syracuse lacrosse team since eight in 2012, we’ll stay with the positives for a young team that went undefeated in the ACC regular season and received a Top 8 seed and home game in the NCAA Tournament.
WHAT’S NEXT: The off season with summer workouts and preparation for Fall Ball, which was interrupted and limited in 2017 due to an outbreak of Mumps on campus. The Orange lose only five seniors or redshirt seniors, so plenty of talent, along with another recruiting class, will be on hand in late September. John Desko will next head into his 21st season running the program with a career 244-81 mark, among the top winning percentages (75.1%) of any active NCAA Div. I coach. But the cries of missing out on a Final Four berth for a fifth straight season, and now missing out on making the 2018 quarterfinals, whether justified or not, will be loud.