Syracuse Closes Out Season at Home in Rematch Against Notre Dame
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – It’s safe to say 2022 hasn’t quite been the season Syracuse men’s lacrosse was hoping for at the beginning of the year. With the experienced Brendan Curry and Tucker Dordevic rearing to go, Brett Kennedy set to lock down on the defensive end, and a new head coach in Gary Gait, the Orange were primed to, at the very least, challenge for the ACC.
Not a lot went according to plan. Owen Hiltz went down with an upper-body injury in the preseason and hasn’t played all year, the Orange lost three of their first four games, and only three players have tallied more than 20 goals this season.
2022 has been bad. As in historically bad. If Syracuse closes out the year with a loss to Notre Dame on Sunday, the Orange would finish with a win percentage of 28.6%, the worst mark since 1975. It’d also drop SU to 4-10, which would be the first ten-loss season in program history. Bad from a numbers standpoint, but head coach Gary Gait said his message down the stretch hasn’t been about any of that.
“It’s just kind of playing free with no pressure,” Gait said, “We’ve really talked to these upperclassmen, especially the fifth and sixth-year players, about building a foundation for future success. So that means you don’t quit, you continue to fight and play your best lacrosse until the last whistle.”
On the topic of not quitting, Syracuse has a chance to close out the season on a high note this Sunday. SU welcomes Notre Dame into the Dome on Senior Day, but if the first meeting between the two sides is any indication of how this weekend will go, that might not happen. The Fighting Irish dominated the first matchup to a near-comical degree, the Orange fell behind 12-0 in the first quarter-plus, and Notre Dame controlled the game the rest of the way. A 22-6 loss marks SU’s largest margin of defeat this season, and it came largely on the heels of a player not many had heard of prior to the meeting.
Fighting Irish junior Jake Taylor, who had just three career goals prior to April’s matchup, had a career day against the Orange, scoring a program-record eight goals in the win. Syracuse had no answer for him defensively, and also had no answer on offense, Dordevic and Curry were only able to combine for three goals in the loss.
Syracuse and Notre Dame get underway from the Dome at noon on Sunday.