On a day when Syracuse was mourning the loss of one of their all-time great players Rob Kavovit, they paid a fitting tribute to No. 15 by scoring 15 goals and routing an overmatched Holy Cross team. After Syracuse led just 1-0 after the first quarter, it started moving the ball with rhythm and Holy Cross didn’t have an answer, as the Orange surged into halftime up 6-1.
Sophomore attackman Chase Scanlon led the way, exploding for seven goals and tying his career high. Syracuse dominated Holy Cross in shots, 65-20, and a physical defense established a tone early, shutting out the Crusaders in the first half.
As Syracuse looks ahead to No. 2 Duke next week, here’s 3 things we learned from Saturday’s win.
FIRST QUARTER STRUGGLES CONTINUE, BUT SYRACUSE RALLIES
Similar to last week’s win over Stony Brook, the Orange struggled offensively in the first quarter and had a hard time finding quality shots.
The Crusaders forced Syracuse into tough looks by playing tight man defense and baiting them into quick shots from mid range.
“I thought we had some good shots…we had some good opportunities,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “We just didn’t capitalize.”
That all changed after the first quarter, as Syracuse used better ball movement to pepper the Crusaders 19 shots in the second quarter leading to five goals. SU would continue its momentum after intermission, scoring seven goals on 23 shots in the third as it pulled away from Holy Cross.
CHASE SCANLON MATCHES CAREER-HIGH IN GOALS
The catalyst for the turnaround was sophomore attackman Chase Scanlon.
When Syracuse switched to a quicker ball movement offense, Scanlon capitalized, matching a career-high seven goals. His low shot with 1:03 left in the first quarter kicked off the scoring frenzy, and he followed with three more goals in the second quarter, including one right before the halftime buzzer.
“I was just open, thankful for my teammates drawing and dishing the rock to me,” Scanlon said. “If it’s a good opportunity to take the shot I’ll take the shot.”
Four different players found Scanlon throughout the afternoon, with Owen Hiltz assisting on three of his goals.
“He kept shooting, and it was good he did,” Desko said. “He was keeping us in the game.”
PHYSICAL DEFENSE ADAPTS WELL MID-GAME
Syracuse played perhaps their toughest, most physical defense of the season on Saturday, causing 24 turnovers. The Crusaders also struggled clearing the ball, going 20-28.
As a result, goalie Drake Porter needed to make only five saves on 11 shots on goal.
“We struggled with big-littles early (in the season)…we’re really coming into our own,” Porter said. “Defensively, having a team that inverted us…it was a lot of good in-game practice.”
UP NEXT, DUKE
Syracuse will play at No. 1 Duke on Thursday in a matchup of the ACC’s top two teams. Syracuse will need to be physical to slow down Blue Devils stars Michael Sowers and Brennan O’Neill.
“I’ve seen them play a lot this year,” Porter said. “They’re the number 1 team for a reason and I can’t wait to play them.”
Syracuse and Duke have met annually since 2011, though they didn’t meet last year because their scheduled game was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Orange have won three straight against the Blue Devils, dating back to the 2016 ACC Championship.
“I’m excited to go down there and get revenge,” Scanlon said. “I’m hoping to bounce back and get back to Syracuse with the win.”