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No. 6 Syracuse men's lacrosse handles No. 4 Duke 10-4 in dominant defensive performance.

Owen Hiltz celebrating a goal in SU’s 10-4 win over Duke.
Owen Hiltz celebrating a goal in SU’s 10-4 win over Duke.

No. 6 Syracuse men's lacrosse (8-2, 1-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference) beat No. 4 Duke (8-2, 0-1 in ACC) 10-4 on Wednesday night to grab its second top-five win of the season. The Orange now have three straight wins over ranked opponents.

Duke entered the contest with the top offense in the country. The Blue Devils led the nation averaging over 16 goals a game. Wednesday night, the Orange shut them down. The main catalyst for the stifling defense was Syracuse goalie Will Mark. The grad student tailed 14 saves.

Syracuse goalkeeper Will Mark makes a save in warmups.
Syracuse goalkeeper Will Mark makes a save in warmups.

Mark has been unbelievable recently. The netminder had a season-high 17 saves in SU’s win over Delaware and has managed to post double-digit saves in six straight games.

“In terms of ACC lacrosse you couldn’t ask for a better defensive game," Mark said following the win. “I think the key to goalkeeping is to treat every shot the same and not overthink everything. At the end of the day, I'm just trying to go in there with a clear head and trust my instincts.”

A big reason why Duke came into the game with the best offense in the country is the play of attackmen Brennan O'Neill and Josh Zawada. The duo came into the contest with a combined 96 total points. Last night, the two stars only tailed three.

“I think one of the best things they [the defense] did, they've done over the last two games. They haven't allowed teams to get shots with time and room”, head coach Gary Gate said. “And if you look back at that game there were very few wide-open shots where Will has got to square up and be ready to make a save.”

Other Syracuse players who stood out were defenders Riley Figueiras and Billy Dwan. The underclassmen both had three ground balls and hounded Duke’s star attackers.

“They're switching off their guys when they have to...and are finding ways to continue to play good defense," coach Gait said. “That's just teamwork”.

Syracuse has a quick turnaround. SU is back in action on Saturday against Hobart. Gametime is set for 5 p.m. You can join us on WAER at 4:30 p.m. for McClurg Remodeling Countdown to Faceoff.