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No. 5 Syracuse men’s lacrosse falls to No 4. Maryland 13-12 in overtime

Syracuse attacker Christian Mulé (left) celebrates with SU attacker Michael Leo (right).
Syracuse attacker Christian Mulé (left) celebrates with SU attacker Michael Leo (right).

No. 5 Syracuse men’s lacrosse (3-1, 0-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) suffered its first loss of the season to No. 4 Maryland (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten Conference) in overtime. It was a close game from the first faceoff to the final buzzer. There were eight different ties throughout the matchup, four of which came in the fourth quarter. Neither team led by more than three goals in the entire game. To close out regulation, Orange attacker Christian Mulé knotted the score at 12 to force overtime. However, that was the last goal of the night for SU. Terrapins defender George Stamos found the back of the net with 57 seconds left in the extra frame to give Maryland the victory.

Syracuse almost snatched the win in overtime. Before Stamos’ game winning goal, SU attacker Michael Leo fired a diving shot that found the back net, but wasn’t counted as the sophomore landed inside the crease.

“The ball was in the net well before he fell into the crease,” Orange head coach Gary Gait said in the postgame press conference. “It was a tough call … I think we got some things to do to clean up the replay rule … I think we have some work to do as a coach’s association to try and get this replay right.”

“We gotta move on. We have a game Wednesday,” Leo said after the overtime loss. “I know this team is going to move on from it and get back to work.”

Individually, Syracuse midfielder Luke Rhoa led the team in scoring with four goals. The sophomore scored the first one of the match before adding three more in the second half. Behind Rhoa, Leo poured in a hat trick to combine with the midfielder for seven of SU’s twelve goals.

Syracuse attacker Luka Rhoa celebrates against Maryland.
Syracuse attacker Luka Rhoa celebrates against Maryland.

It was a similar goal output from two of Maryland’s players. Attacker Braden Erksa led all UMD scorers with four on the game, while midfielder Jack Koras supplied three of his own. After Rhoa’s first goal to start the game, Erksa countered with a score midway through the first quarter. The rest of the sophomore’s goals came in the second half. After the game, Maryland men’s lacrosse head coach John Tillman praised both Syracuse and Erksa.

“What a game. First of all, we gotta admit the Orange are back. There’s no question about it. That was an absolutely even game that could’ve gone either way,” coach Tillman said. “Erksa had four goals, he was miraculous.”

When asked about the play that had Leo on the ground, Tillman made it clear that the sophomore was not pushed.

“The call on the field has to be blatantly wrong for it to be overturned,” coach Tillman stated. “You can make a stretch and say he touched him, but you can’t say he pushed him.”

Syracuse’s fourth game last year was also a defeat to Maryland. The Orange fell 15-12 to the Terrapins for the first loss of the 2023 campaign. In that game, SU midfielder Jackson Birtwistle had a hat trick.

Syracuse continues its homestand Wednesday against Utah (0-2, 0-0 Atlantic Sun Conference). The Utes fell to No. 6 Denver 16-8 Saturday. In that game, the Pioneers led 6-3 after the first quarter and never looked back. Before Denver, Utah fell at Ohio 11-8 in its season opener. Utes attacker Ryan Stines led the team in scoring with a hat trick.

Syracuse and Utah (atlantic sun conference) battle it out Wednesday at noon. WAER’s coverage begins with McClurg Remodeling Countdown to Faceoff at 11:30 a.m.