Key takeaways from Syracuse lacrosse’s 18-11 loss against Notre Dame

Syracuse Lacrosse
Syracuse faces off at the X. Mandatory Photo Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

Syracuse closed out a historically losing regular season with a 18-11 defeat Sunday afternoon against Notre Dame at the Dome.  It is the first losing season since the 2007 team ended 5-8.  Not only was it the sixth-straight defeat to end the 2022 campaign, eclipsed only by the 1966 team that dropped its final seven games of that season, but finishing with a 4-10 record (1-5 ACC) marks the first time a Syracuse lacrosse team has ever lost 10 games in a season over the 107-year history of the program.

Here are three key takeaways from the final game of Gary Gait’s first season as head coach:

#1: The Irish simply own the Orange of late.

Notre Dame made it five straight wins over Syracuse dating back to the 2019 season (no game in 2020), and the results have been one-sided.  Following up on its 22-6 rout of the ‘Cuse on April 2 in South Bend, ND scored the first goal of the game in under four minutes, led 10-5 at halftime, and never surrendered a comfortable lead in the second half.  In the five wins over Syracuse, the Irish have out-scored the Orange by an incredible 93-46.

Pat Kavanaugh was his usual Syracuse nemesis self.  The masterful attackman finished with four goals and five assists giving him an incredible 38 points in his last four games against SU defenses.  Pat’s brother Chris contributed four points on the afternoon, while Eric Dobson scored three goals.  Irish goalie Liam Entenmann was sharp with 22 saves.

#2: The positive among the negative.

Quite simply, not making the NCAA Tournament in any year signifies a “losing” season for Syracuse lacrosse.  Until this season, SU had failed to make the postseason only twice in the last 40 years (1982, 2007), and the ‘Cuse hasn’t even won a NCAA Tournament game since 2017.

That being said, the bright moment Sunday afternoon came with 7:25 to play when midfielder Brendan Curry capped his incredible career by notching his 94th career goal, one more than his All-American father Todd scored for the Orange between 1984-87.  After the goal, Brendan immediately saluted his proud Dad sitting in the Dome crowd.

Tucker Dordevic came up just short in his quest to become the sixth Syracuse player to score 50 or more goals in a season.  Doredivc, firing on the cage until the bitter end, scored twice to finish with 48 goals this season,  Redshirt freshman midfielder Jackson Birtwistle provided a preview of his potential moving forward scoring a team-high three goals.

There’s 15 promising recruits on board for the next season, highlighted by attackman Joey Spalina and Finlay Thompson and five highly-touted defenders, so there’s reason for optimism.   In addition, Gait and his staff of Pat March and Dave Pietramala will scourer the transfer portal for experienced defenders, midfield depth, and perhaps a faceoff specialist.

» Related: Syracuse drops fifth straight after being downed by UVA

#3: A sendoff does not necessarily mean goodbye.

Before the game, 20 players on the 2022 team were saluted on what was not a typical “Senior Day.”  Due to a number of eligibility-related factors including the COVID-19 cancellations in 2020 granting players an optional extra season, players redshirting, and subsequent cancelation of previous Senior Day festivities, there were fourth, fifth, and sixth year players honored on the Dome field Sunday.

One of those players granted a sixth season of eligibility is Dordevic, who indicated on March 23 that he would return to play one more season for the program.  If Dordevic (and anyone else eligible) follows through on his commitment that is an immediate benefit, as he provides the Orange with an All-American foundation to build on for 2023.

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About Brad Bierman 817 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.