Saturday afternoon, Gary Gait made his head coaching debut in Syracuse’s season opener against Holy Cross. It was an auspicious debut for the former women’s head coach, as the No. 13 Orange routed the Crusaders, 28-5, at the Carrier Dome.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the dominant debut.
#1: Orange’s offense hums for 60 minutes
There was no better way for Syracuse to open up a season then they did. The Orange exploded on offense right out of the gate against Holy Cross.
Pete Fiorini opened up the scoring for Syracuse with 12:28 left in the first quarter, and a slew of SU goals followed. Brendan Curry scored all four of his goals in the opening quarter, and the Orange raced out to a 9-0 lead.
Syracuse opened with a man-up goal from Owen Seebold in the second quarter to extend the lead to 10-0 before Holy Cross finally got on the board.
The Orange did not let up after it took a 19-3 lead into intermission, outscoring the Crusaders 9-2 in the second half.
Seebold and Tucker Dordevic finished with five goals each while the Orange took 34 shots on goal with 16 assists, a total domination on offense.
#2: Syracuse defense was quick all day
There are two sides to a blowout, and the Syracuse defense held it up just as much as the offense did for the win. Part of the success on offense Saturday contributed to how often the Orange defense kept the ball away from goal.
Holy Cross had just fourteen shots on goal as the Orange caused 21 turnovers and had nine saves.
Syracuse also dominated at the faceoff X, winning 26 of 37 opportunities.
“We wanted to come out fast and strong, showing how much hard work we have done throughout the week,” faceoff specialist Jakob Phaup said. “We wanted to focus on us, not Holy Cross.”
#3: Gait uses options during impressive debut against Holy Cross
Syracuse showed how deep and talented its roster was on Saturday, as 13 players scored for the Orange, combining for 49 shots. Out of those 13, seven Orange players had their first collegiate goal on Saturday.
Three more Orange (Mikey Berkman, Basil Aburn and Liam Ferris) also chipped in multi-goal games.
“They were moving the ball and playing unselfishly,” Gait said. “That is never individual effort, that’s ball movement. The young guys stepped up, used opportunities, and made plays. It was fun to watch and I was happy for them as a coach.”