In a “down” year for ACC lacrosse (only Duke is a top 10 media ranked team this week), this game will hurt for some time.
For the fifth consecutive game in the series, evenly-matched programs No. 12 ranked Syracuse and No. 13 Virginia came down to the very end Saturday afternoon in the Dome, or in this case overtime, to finish with a one goal margin of victory, and it was the other orange and blue clad team that was eventually celebrating on the green turf.
As the ‘Cuse coaches and players are fond of saying after competing in the annual early-in-the-season league game against Virginia, they’re one quarter of the way through the ACC regular season games.
But for 2019, SU now sits at 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the ACC after falling to the Cavaliers 15-14 on a goal by UVA’s Mikey Herring with 1:31 left in OT, a shot that whizzed by Orange goalie Drake Porter’s short side, and left the Syracuse players hanging their heads in dejection and quieted the partisan home crowd.
Syracuse led 13-9 with 10:02 left in the fourth quarter after a beautiful goal on “tic-tac-toe” pass play involving Bradley Voight, Brett Kennedy, Nate Solomon, and finally Stephen Rehfuss with his second of two goals on the day.
The Orange, however, would score only once more the rest of the way, stymied by Cavaliers goalie Alex Rode who came into the game midway in the third quarter.
The Syracuse defensemen and defensive middies, along with Porter (14 saves), had held their own against a potent Cavaliers starting attack unit in what was a back-and-forth game in the first half. Each team subsequently went on a second half scoring spurt, first SU in the third quarter (sophomore middie Jacob Buttermore impressed with three goals) , then culminating with a Virginia 5-to-1 run tying the game 14-14 with 2:09 in regulation.
Syracuse coach John Desko inserted Danny Varello to take the final four face-offs; after Jakob Phaup had won basically half of the “X” battles up to that point, and Varello put SU in position to take the final shot in regulation without success. Then following the overtime face-off, Varello was called for a technical penalty after the ball stuck in his stick webbing too long, giving UVA possession and the opportunity to come all the way back.
While it will be a tough week of practice for the SU players to shake off the mental aspect of the Virginia conference defeat, there’s little time. Arch rival Johns Hopkins is in town next Saturday afternoon (1:00 p.m. ET / ACCN+).