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Wednesday, Apr 04, 2018 at 12:09 am

Men’s Lacrosse Shuts Down Hobart to Retain Kraus-Simmons Trophy

By Nick Dugan

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Roy Simmons III held the Kraus-Simmons Trophy, smiling. He embraced his son, Ryan, and handed it off to him. With a big grin on his face, Ryan hoisted the trophy above his head in front of his cheering teammates.

For the fifth-straight season, Syracuse (6-3, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) defeated Hobart (4-6, 1-1 Northeast) 11-4, keeping the hardware in the salt city for another year.

“Roy [Simmons] Jr. up in the box watching his son Roy Simmons III and his grandson Ryan Simmons have the trophy at the end of the game,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said, “I that was a nice touch today.”

But, the opening minutes of the game were unkind to the Orange. The Statesmen won the first face-off cleanly, and less than two minutes in, Bryan Hancock fired a sidearm shot past Dom Madonna. Syracuse touched the ball just once in the first five minutes, ending in an unforced turnover.

After that, it was all ‘Cuse.

“With only a day to prepare – Monday – I thought we might get off to a little shakier start in the first quarter,” Desko said. “To my surprise we came out and thought we played pretty well.”

Well would be an understatement. The Syracuse offense ripped off eight consecutive goals, a run that lasted all the way until the early third quarter.

“I think everyone was just excited to play,” attackman Stephen Rehfuss said. “It was a quick turnaround, but everyone loves playing in games, so it was easy to get up for the game. Especially one like this with a storied tradition.”

On the other side of the field, the Syracuse defense buried Hobart’s most lethal scorers, as the Statesmen committed eight first half turnovers.

“I think we knew our matchups pretty well,” defenseman Nick Mellen said. “We knew what hands they were, so we kind of favored that side a little bit. (We) made them a little more uncomfortable than they’d like to be.”

“I don’t think we executed particularly well once we had possession of the ball,” Hobart head coach Greg Raymond said. “We left a ton of empty possessions and gave a great Syracuse offense too many opportunities.”

However, the Statesmen showed some life in the third quarter. Jamesville-Dewitt-native Ryan Archer capped the visitors’ three goal run, which cut the SU lead to just 8-4.

“I think we got a little bit anxious,” Desko said. “Guys felt they could beat their man and wanted to go to goal right away.”

The Orange committed four turnovers in that third frame, twice as many as they had in the entire first half. But, the fourth quarter came and SU got back on track.

Stephen Rehfuss picked up two more tallies, putting the game virtually out of reach for Hobart.

“He let me breathe a little bit at that point,” Desko said. “I think when he scored those goals, it made me feel a little bit better at that point in the game.”

‘Cuse dominated nearly every aspect of the game, except for the faceoff X. Danny Varello continued to struggle, as he won just 6-of-16 draws on the evening. That drops his season average to 48 percent.

Syracuse will have a weekend off for the first time in this 2018 campaign, but will have its hands full next Tuesday with Cornell. The Big Red is ranked 10th in the country and will welcome the Orange to Ithaca having won at least three of its last four games.

nsdugan@syr.edu | @nsdugan