Syracuse Bounces Back in Decisive Fashion, Defeat UAlbany 13-8
After losing two straight, No. 9 Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse is back in the win column. SU (5-3, 1-2 ACC) never trailed Thursday against UAlbany (5-3, 3-2 America East) and won 13-8.
The main takeaway for the Orange’s bounce-back win has to be the faceoffs. Syracuse was struggling mightily at the x in its previous two contests losing the faceoff battle 47-17.
Against the Great Danes, that changed. SU was 60% at the faceoff-x. Jakub Phaup, who was 11.1% at faceoffs in his last two matchups, rebounded nicely winning 60% of his 15 faceoff attempts.
“The past two weeks I’ve been in a mental funk and it [was] good to get out of that little rut… Phaup said. “I was able to have a pep in my step…”
Syracuse also arguably played its best defense of the season. SU surrendered a season-low eight goals to UAlbany and held the Great Danes to just 30 shots. That’s what happens when a team wins its faceoffs to keep possession.
As a result, the Orange led nearly the entire game. Syracuse and Albany were tied at four nearly midway through the second quarter before SU erupted with four unanswered goals - in less than five minutes - and took an 8-5 halftime lead. The Orange didn’t let the Great Danes sniff a potential comeback in the next half, always maintaining an advantage of at least three goals.
“On a short week to get back on track, score a few goals and play very good defense… it was good to get out just from a confidence level,” said Head Coach John Desko.
Is it fair to still criticize this team? Probably. SU has clearly proven it can handle its business against inferior competition (4-0 against unranked teams this season). But, the question for the rest of this year is whether or not this team will step up against quality opponents. Mainly, can the Orange actually win faceoffs in ranked matchups? At least for now though, Syracuse fans can breathe a sigh of relief as the losing skid is over.
Ninth-ranked Syracuse is back in action Saturday, April 17 at home against third-ranked North Carolina. Gametime is at 3:00 P.M. Tune into Countdown to Faceoff at 2:30 on the original home of the Orange, WAER.