Syracuse played its longtime rival John Hopkins at storied Homewood Field in Baltimore on a chilly Sunday afternoon, a much-anticipated homecoming for SU defensive coordinator Dave Pietramala who won championships as both a player and during a 20-year run as head coach of the Blue Jays. However, in the end, a combination of Pietramala’s defense struggling in the second half and a flat offense all four quarters doomed the Orange in a 10-7 loss.
In a game that was uncharacteristically low scoring, it was 4-4 at halftime, Syracuse could not even match that goal total in the second half, never taking the lead after intermission, and falling to 2-4 in year one under Gary Gait.
Lacrosse is a game of inches
Syracuse had no problem getting off shots, 54 in total and 21 on goal, but ‘Cuse snipers were simply a tad unlucky.
Setting perhaps an unofficial school record, SU attackmen and midfielders hit the goal pipe eight times, left, right, and top, and that bad luck along with standout play by Hopkins goalie Josh Kirson with 14 saves cost Syracuse in a game that was never separated by more than two goals until the final Blue Jays tally with 0:54 to play.
The Syracuse offense lacked spark
The Orange entered the contest averaging 16 goals per game, seventh best nationally, but this game again showcased the tough loss of sophomore attackman Owen Hiltz and the 48 points he scored last season, to what is likely a season-ending injury.
Tucker Dordevic tried to carry the “O” on his back with three goals, but no other SU player had more than one score, and that lack of cohesiveness against a disciplined JHU zone defense often meant long possession times at that end of the field, but no results on the scoreboard to show for it.
How the mighty have fallen
In a matchup of the two most storied programs in modern college lacrosse history, the two winningest programs of all-time with a combined 1,927 victories and 20 NCAA titles, the teams were only ranked 18th (SU) and 19th (JHU), respectively, and neither had a winning record when the game commenced.
Rebuilding under coaches Gait and Peter Milliman in year two at Johns Hopkins, this game was about the victor building momentum the rest of the season. Gait has to keep the Orange holding their collective heads high with a very tough eight games left to play that includes all four ACC teams, Cornell, and dangerous road trips to Stony Brook (Saturday) and Albany.