No. 4 Syracuse Drops Second Straight to No. 9 Notre Dame
By Tyler Melito
CitrusTV Men’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
They say it is not how you start rather it is how you finish. That could not apply more to the way Notre Dame Lacrosse (5-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) played today against Syracuse (4-3, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) as the Fighting Irish fell behind 5-2 after the first quarter, but in the final three-quarters of play outscored the Orange 16-6 to pull out the 18-11 victory. The loss marks the second straight for Syracuse, something that hasn’t happened the last two games of the 2019 season. The loss also marks the second straight loss for the Orange against Notre Dame.
Syracuse got out to a strong start, with two goals from Stephen Rehfuss in the first, as well as a goal from Jamie Trimboli, Owen Seebold, and Chase Scanlan each. They looked really strong in the first, not allowing the Irish to get their offense going and dominating possession. Then the second quarter happened.
Last week against Virginia, Notre Dame scored seven goals in the second quarter. Today against the ‘Cuse, the Irish scored nine goals, which included a 6-0 run they went on to close out the first half and start the second half. It never hurts to have a hat trick in a quarter, which Griffin Westlin was able to accomplish by scoring three goals in the 15-minute frame. Westlin would finish the day with four goals total.
The star of the show for the Irish actually goes to a duo. First, there is Will Yorke. Notre Dame’s leading goal scorer with 10 entering today, he had four on the afternoon, which included him scoring three straight goals to be the 16th, 17th, and 18th goals for Notre Dame. Then there is Pat Kavanagh. The brother of former Notre Dame great Matt Kavanagh. He entered the day as the Fighting Irish’s leading assist man with 21. He added to that total with five. He also added on four goals of his own to make it a nine-point day to push his season total to a team-high 37. Although not currently on the Tewaaraton Watch List, which will eventually be awarded to both the nation’s
men’s and women’s lacrosse players, expect him to be on that list after today. Postgame Syracuse head coach John Desko spoke about the skill the sophomore has saying;
“That is as good as I have seen him play,” Desko said. “For him to have that kind of production with all those possessions is really hard for us to stop him.”
For the Orange, it was really not their best showing. After getting out to a 6-2 lead early in the second quarter, Notre Dame simply played harder the rest of the way, and that ultimately did SU in. It was not a good day if you like passing the ball as Syracuse had just three assists on their 11 goals today. This is something that Desko said was because…
“I’m surprised to see that statistic,” said Desko. “I mean we had 24 possessions on offense and that’s not a lot. We had 11 goals on those 24 possessions so I guess in the grand scheme of things we didn’t play that bad… Just not enough today.”
Drake Porter, the goaltender for Syracuse did not have his best showing either, to say the least. The Ontario native had just 11 saves on 29 total shots faced. Then there is the issue of the face-offs and ground balls. Last week against Duke, the ‘Cuse was 8-32 on face-offs and picked up just 15. Today against the Fighting Irish, it was better, but barely going 9-32 and picking up 20 ground balls to Notre Dame’s 45.
There were some bright spots, believe it or not. Rehfuss, after being added to the Tewaaraton Watch List just a few days ago, had himself a hat trick, leading the Orange in goals and points.
Syracuse will have to have a short memory, as they will take on Albany. Rehfuss post-game said that the team was fortunate to have a short week as their minds will quickly have to turn focus to the Great Danes. That game will be played inside the Dome on Thursday, April 8.
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