Men’s Lacrosse Preparing for a Historical Matchup Against Virginia

Friday, Feb 26, 2021 at 11:09 am by Sports Editor

By Tara Arya

CitrusTV’s Men’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter

It’s finally here. A much-anticipated showdown between two Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse lacrosse teams. Number nine Syracuse taking on the– still technically– reigning champion and second ranked Virginia under the bright lights of the Carrier Dome this Saturday. Before we dive into the potential outcome of this game, let’s take a look at the history between these two teams.

Syracuse is all tied up with UVA at 18 wins and 18 losses, the most recent a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Cavaliers back in 2019. As we know, Virginia would go on to win the National Championship that year. 

Not only are they tied in games, but the series stands at 466 goals a piece, just proving how close things are between these two. The Orange and the Hoos share a lot of history, playing each other every year since 1994, with the exception of the 2020 season. 

The last time these two met, life was a lot different, but the stakes were not. Top ranked Syracuse led the game in the fourth quarter and would be met with a big comeback by Virginia. It all came down to a last second shot by Mikey Herring that got past goalie Drake Porter in overtime. Jacob Buttermore, Stephen Rehfuss and Brendan Curry recorded a flurry of points, something we may see again in this weekend’s matchup. 

The last five games between Syracuse and Virginia have come down to one goal, with SU taking three out of the five, but not the most recent two. Had they met last year, we could have seen another thriller from the reigning champs and top-ranked Orange.

This year is a different story. Virginia is currently 3-0 while Syracuse sits at 0-1 after an extended off-season due to COVID complications and a loss to Army last week. 

Syracuse’s loss to Army could be used as a gage to assess how the matchup with UVA may go, since the Hoos handed Army their first loss of the season. Virginia beat Army handily, 14-9, while SU struggled to keep their early lead and fell 18-11 in their season opener. 

The Orange are hoping the rust of the off-season came off after that loss and to bounce back against UVA. Offensively, SU started off strong, but cooled off once Army started to pile goals up.

They can’t afford to play like that against a Virginia offense that’s averaging 16 goals per game this season and leads the ACC in shot percentage. The Hoos have the top two goal scorers in the ACC in Matt Moore and Payton Cormier; lucky for SU, Drake Porter is one of the best goalies in the conference and the well-equipped to shut down an offensive powerhouse like Virginia.

With the series all tied up at 18 each, which team will take the lead after this weekend? Both teams will have over five days of preparation for this matchup, but we’ll have to see who’s ready once the Dome lights up on Saturday night. Find out for yourself Saturday at 6 p.m. on ACC Network. | @taraarya98