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Dordevic, Syracuse, Face an Offensive Battle against No. 10 Duke

Tucker Dordevic launches a shot straightaway to net a career-high six goals in a single game against Stony Brook.
Tucker Dordevic launches a shot straightaway to net a career-high six goals in a single game against Stony Brook.

There’s a lot of history between Syracuse men’s lacrosse (3-4, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) and No. 10 Duke (8-3, 0-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference). The Orange are 13-7 in previous matchups against the Blue Devils, but today’s contest in particular holds a lot at stake. SU could earn its 928th victory to move into second all-time behind Johns Hopkins. Along with that, head coach Gary Gait would secure his first conference victory with the men’s team.

To accomplish those feats, Syracuse needs to fight fire with fire, countering Duke’s big offense with goals of its own. The ‘Cuse rotates goaltenders Bobby Gavin and Harrison Thompson, which has not given the team collective success. SU ranks last in the ACC with under 11 saves per game, an average of 13 goals against, and a poor 44.8% save percentage. The Orange’s struggles in cage can be exploited by the Blue Devils’ offense. Coach Gary Gait says Duke’s firepower is immense.

“They’re full of talent, they’re a very talented team, probably one of the most talented teams in the country as far as recruiting goes”, Gait said. “We’ve got our work cut out. We’re focused on team play, execution, and effort. We’re going to need to have one of our best games if we’re going to have success.”

Duke also enters the contest with two attackers among the top 5 of ACC scorers. Dyson Williams has 30 goals on the season in only 11 games, fifth best scoring wise in the ACC. Fellow attacker Brennan O’Neill is just ahead at fourth in the conference tallying 32 goals in as many games.

That threat needs to be rivaled by the impact of Syracuse attackman Tucker Dordevic. The redshirt junior is on pace to score 52 goals in 14 regular season games, which would be the fifth-most goals scored in program history. Dordevic is fresh off a stellar showing at Stony Brook. The Oregonian set a career high in goals (6), assists (3), and points (9), earning ACC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

“I’m joined by all of my teammates,” Dordevic stated after a 14-9 victory over Stony Brook. “I just happen to be the beneficiary of a bunch of good passes.”

The midfielder turned attackman this offseason was bound for the change with his lethal shooting ability. That’s been seen through as the captain enters today’s game ranked fourth in the nation scoring 3.7 goals per game.

The Blue Devils come in winners of three of their last four matchups, after following up a 12-10 loss to Loyola Maryland with a 14-7 shellacking of Towson. On the other side, Syracuse still yearns for consistency but has had a recent run of good defensive form. The ‘Cuse is 2-2 in its last four contests, allowing 10 or less goals in each of its last two tilts.

Syracuse intends to keep up winning momentum as an underdog while Duke tries to secure its first ACC win of the season with an offensive onslaught. The Orange and the Blue Devils spar today at 12:00 PM inside the Carrier Dome. GZA Countdown to Face-off is live on 88.3 FM at 11:30 AM.