No. 9 Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse Looks to get Revenge on Notre Dame amid Drama within the Program
It’s been a roller-coaster of a season for 9th-ranked Syracuse men’s lacrosse. The Orange began the year as a top-five team in the country, and then proceeded to lose on opening day by seven goals. SU then won its next four contests, but lost three of four right after. With many writing Syracuse off headed into last week’s road game against 7th-ranked Virginia, the Orange found a way to rise above the naysayers and took down the Cavaliers 13-11.
So everything should be all 'peachy' for Syracuse headed into its Saturday road trip to 4th-ranked Notre Dame, right? After all, the Orange are now in prime position to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, and faceoff-specialist, Jakob Phaup, was recently named ACC defensive player of the week after winning 24 of 27 faceoff attempts against UVA.
But, things aren’t all fine and well for SU. Suddenly, there’s been a new twist on the ride known as the “Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse Season”. The situation for attackman Chase Scanlan (who was suspended before the Virginia game, then subsequently reinstated on Monday) isn’t looking good at all.
The attackman is allegedly involved in a domestic incident according to Syracuse.com, but wasn’t charged with any crime, said law enforcement officials. The players allegedly would’ve walked-out of the team’s practice on Tuesday had Scanlan showed up. Syracuse’s captains also made a request to meet with the athletic director that same day, according to multiple reports.
According to sources, SU's captains have requested a meeting with John Wildhack to discuss the Chase Scanlan situation. Scanlan was reinstated yesterday after being suspended last Monday. We're told Scanlan did not practice today. Players were prepared to walk out if he did.— Steve Infanti (@SteveInfantiNC9) April 27, 2021
"Chase was suspended from the team… for violating team rules and expectations. On Monday, April 26, I reinstated him, he will not be traveling with the team this weekend,” said head coach John Desko.
In this week’s USILA poll, SU climbed two spots, moving back inside of the top-10. SU’s last opponent - Virginia - moved down three spots and Notre Dame dropped two spots after falling to North Carolina 12-10 on Sunday.
This week, Syracuse (6-4, 2-3 ACC) battles Notre Dame (6-3, 2-3 ACC) for the second time this season looking to avenge its 18-11 loss back on April 3. The Orange were dreadful at the faceoff-x in that matchup winning just 28% of their draws. Notre Dame as a team ranks 15th in the country in faceoff win percentage at about 61%, while SU is 35th at 51%.
Orange faceoff-specialist Jakob Phaub has had an up-and-down season. In the last matchup against the Fighting Irish, it was one of his down performances. The junior went one for eight in his attempts at the x.
Notre Dame also has one of the best attackmen in the country, Pat Kavanagh. The sophomore had four goals and five assists against Syracuse last month. Kavanagh is tied for eighth in points-per-game across the nation.
“It’s hard to stay on his hands and keep his eyes down so that he can’t find all his teammates… guys aren’t getting on his hands enough clearly,” said Fighting Irish Defender Jack Kielty on guarding Kavanagh.
Notre Dame has lost two consecutive matchups, but both were close games against top-three opponents. First, an overtime loss to No. 2 Duke last Tuesday, then a two goal defeat to No. 3 North Carolina Sunday. In fact, the Fighting Irish haven’t lost a game by more than two goals this year. Part of the reason why they’re able to stay in games is their defense. Notre Dame allows just 8.56 goals-per-game, fourth best in the country.
“They (Notre Dame) won a very high percentage of the faceoff. They played offense for most of the game,” said coach Desko on the challenge with the Fighting Irish on April 3.
The ups and downs, and the twists and turns of this season have been tough to keep track of at times. Syracuse can look like world beaters one game, then get blown out in the next. The players have been inconsistent all year (i.e. Jakob Phaup). Now, there’s a situation unfolding with the team and Chase Scanlan. The silver lining is the Orange are still a top-10 team poised to make the NCAA tournament. Still, only one thing is for certain, this season has been a roller-coaster.
Syracuse is traveling to Notre Dame this Saturday at noon, looking to bounce back from its loss to the Fighting Irish on April 3. Be sure to tune into Countdown to Faceoff at 11:30 a.m. on the original home of the Orange, WAER.