The one comeback story you can't help but root for in the Syracuse men's lacrosse season finale
It's been a rough road for Jacob Buttermore since bursting onto the scene in 2019. WAER’s Calvin Christoforo details the long and winding road from breakout sophomore to 5th-year starter.
It has been a long and winding road for Syracuse men's lacrosse redshirt senior Jacob Buttermore. Now in his fifth season on the hill, the midfielder has one final game to close out his college career on a high note.
When Buttermore first arrived on campus in the fall of 2017, he was a two-time high school All-American from Garnet Valley high school in Pennsylvania looking to make a splash right away on a Syracuse team that had gone to the national quarterfinals in the previous season.
But in 2018, the middie saw time in just four games with no points. Well, that was until the regular-season finale, when the freshman scored his first three goals for his first career hat trick. The future looked bright for the rising sophomore, and when the start of the 2019 season came around, Buttermore lived up to the hype.
Buttermore was set to be on the second line of midfielders anyway in 2019, but when starting middie Tucker Dordevic went down with injury the Oranged needed the sophomore to step up even more, and he did. The offensive middie had 20 goals, which was good enough for fourth on the team and second among midfielders while scoring on 40% of his shots.
Andrew Crane for Inside Lacrosse says he remembers Buttermore being someone that rose to the occasion in that 2019 season.
“Buttermore was kind of like the wild card factor that year. You didn’t know what you were going to get from him, he only had three goals his first season, and when Tucker (Dordevic) went down, I think he was the person who stepped up the most in his absence,” Andrew Crane said.
So, it looked like Buttermore was going to be a mainstay in the Syracuse offense for years to come, but then after four goals in five games in 2020, the season was canceled due to COVID-19. In 2021, the now-senior had scored just two goals on the year when he tore his ACL in practice.
Buttermore remembers that moment.
“You know I really blacked out,” Jacob Buttermore said. “I had a teammate next to me who ran up to me and squeezed my hand as hard as he could, just kind of hoping for the best, and it wasn’t the best.”
But Buttermore wouldn’t give up there. The senior decided to take his fifth year to play one final season for the Orange. After a long and taxing offseason, the midfielder returned to action in a game against No. 1 Maryland and scored his first goal in 359 days against Notre Dame. Buttermore said he was on cloud nine after scoring that first goal back.
“The emotions were pretty high,” Buttermore said. “Two important guys on my support staff were standing on the sidelines Coach Simmons and Troy (Gerlt) and I ran off and they both gave me a hug because they knew how long this process has been for me.”
Then, just days later Buttermore netted his first hat trick since 2019 against UAlbany, impressing his Head Coach Gary Gait.
“I think he took advantage of his opportunities and he shot the ball well today, he did,” Gary Gait said.
But that three-goal performance wasn’t all that happened in that game against the Great Danes. Buttermore was in the starting lineup. His first start in his Syracuse career. Which came as a surprise to writers like Crane.
“If you had told me before the season that Jacob Buttermore would be a starting midfielder and that he would be one of the most integral parts of like this team, I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” Crane said.
And that game in the state’s capital wasn’t just a one-off. Buttermore has been in the starting lineup ever since. In his four starts this year, the redshirt senior has scored in every contest and has six goals.
So even though Syracuse men’s lacrosse is 4-9 and will be absent from the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007, Sunday’s season finale is still meaningful to seniors like Jacob Buttermore, whose journey through injury and adversity will all culminate in what is more than likely his final collegiate lacrosse game.