No. 4 Syracuse dropped its season opener to No. 13 Army on Sunday afternoon at the Carrier Dome, 18-11. Here are the main takeaways from the loss:
Syracuse struggles after fast start
Coming out of the gates, the Orange had the momentum in what had the makings of a dominant performance over Army. Sophomore midfielder Tucker Dordevic got the offense going for Syracuse early. He had three goals in and Syracuse was 6 for 7 for shots on goal in the first quarter alone.
The 6-1 lead over Army in the first 15 minutes turned for the worse quickly.
In the second quarter, Army had six different players score on goal in the second quarter to lead going into halftime 8-7. It was more of the same after intermission, as Army shot 5-8 on goal in the third with midfielders Bobby Abshire and Gunner Phillipp leading the way.
Syracuse freshman Owen Hiltz scored his first career goal from a pretty assist by Chase Scanlan to pull Syracuse within, four, but Army answered right back with two more goals to go up six, and the Orange never recovered from there.
The loss of intensity was concerning
Syracuse’s five goal lead evaporated by halftime, and the Orange couldn’t rally in the second half, as Army piled on while SU appeared listless.
The lack of intensity combined with Army’s defensive adjustments stunned the Orange, and while SU went into half down by just a goal, it felt like Army’s lead was much larger.
Afterward, Syracuse head coach John Desko said the early lead ended up hurting SU.
“Maybe it was the worst thing that could have happened,” Desko said. “We went dry after the first quarter and they’re a well-coached team that plays for sixty minutes.”
As it turns out, the Orange only played for 15.
That is the best wake-up call you can have
In 2020, Syracuse started the season 5-0, and was the top ranked team in the country before the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled all spring sports, leaving the Orange to wonder “what if?”
With the opening loss, the Orange’s expectations have been reset, and will need to regain its momentum next weekend against Virginia.
Desko said following the game that the Orange struggled in part because of a lack of preseason scrimmages. Army had the luxury of having played its opener last week in a 14-9 loss to No. 4 Virginia.
The Orange can only hope that their week 2 results mirror Army’s.