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No.14 Syracuse and Hobart Battle for Kraus-Simmons Trophy

Syracuse’s Jakob Phaup (white) wins a faceoff against Hobart’s Adam Shea (orange) in a February 2020 meeting. The Orange and Statesmen have met annually since 1962 with the exception of two seasons (1985 and 2021).

The Kraus-Simmons Trophy was presented annually from 1986-2020. When No. 14 Syracuse men’s lacrosse (1-3, 0-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference) hosts Hobart (2-1, 0-0 in Northeast Conference) on Sunday, the Orange end a year-long wait to retain the title for an eighth consecutive meeting.

“This is a chance to honor the past,” head coach Gary Gait said this week, who was 4-0 as a player against Hobart. “This is about the Simmons family. They built this program and we’re playing a trophy named in their honor so we are fired up to play.”

Syracuse and Hobart battle for the 107th time on Sunday. It’s the third-longest rivalry in NCAA men’s lacrosse behind Hobart/Cornell and Johns Hopkins/Maryland. The Orange hold a 78-26-2 record all-time over the Statesmen. Since 2007, the Kraus-Simmons Trophy has resided on the banks of Seneca Lake just once. This season could turn the tide in favor of Hobart.

The Statesmen are off to a red-hot start in 2022. Hobart took down then-No. 16 Lehigh 14-13 on February 19th. The lone loss on the ledger came against No. 9 Cornell 15-12 a weekend ago. A common thread in that upset victory and close loss was the brilliance of attacker Ryan Archer.

The Jamesville-Dewitt product leads the Statesmen with 8 goals and 16 points this season. Archer’s ability to shoot with both hands from obscure angles gives him lots of flexibility as the number one scoring option for Hobart. The 2016 New York State champion is no stranger to Syracuse, but coach Gait is still learning about the Central New York sniper.

“I didn’t watch him play in high school or anything, but now you see him and he’s playing well,” coach Gait said in his weekly press conference. “There will be a test on Sunday.”

That test will be Grant Murphy’s responsibility to take. The senior defenseman had a goose-egg in the caused turnovers department last time out versus Army. Just like Murphy, the entire team is trying to find its groove in the early season.

“The only thing we can do right now and today and tonight is just stay together,” midfielder Brendan Curry said following the Army game. “It’s important for this team especially to keep building culturally and in the locker room and then that will end up changing on the field.”

Syracuse’s Brendan Curry (white) darts from behind cage against Army’s Doug Jones (black). Curry is second on the Orange with 14 points.

Syracuse aims to shed a three-game losing skid against a firing Hobart squad in SU’s third non-conference game of the season. The Orange and Statesmen square off at 4 on Sunday. GZA Countdown to Faceoff is live on 88.3 at 3:30.