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Sunday, Mar 18, 2018 at 6:32 pm

SU’s Weak Second Half Contributes to a 14-10 Defeat at Rutgers

By Zachary Levine

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – After heading into halftime tied at five, Syracuse couldn’t keep up with the Scarlet Knights’ offense in the second half as SU fell to Rutgers, 14-10.

The Orange started the game out strong, with two early goals from Stephen Rehfuss. From early on, it was clear that the sophomore attack could be an x-factor in the game. It was Rutgers senior Jules Heningburg, however, whose six-goal day propelled his team to victory.

Offense wasn’t the only difference maker in Rutgers’ first victory over their former Big East rival since 2004. Turnovers turned out to be a big factor as well, with SU tallying a painful 22 on the contest.

“I think that we made a lot of mistakes in clears offensively,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “Again, I thought we did okay in the first half, and then in the second half, we were behind. We felt we had to catch up, so we forced a lot of things. I think anytime you are forcing things and trying to catch up, you’re going to get turnovers.”

The game was tightly played in the first half and much of the third quarter, with five total lead changes. After two straight goals from Heningburg late in the third, the Scarlet Knights pulled ahead by two and never looked back. SU wouldn’t strike again until Brendan Bomberry’s two garbage-time goals, both on the man-up, that brought his team within four as the final buzzer sounded.

“In the second half, we kind of lost our composure,” Desko said. “I thought they started to win faceoffs, got the ball to their offense, and we had some breakdowns defensively.”

“The communication just kind of fell apart (in the second half),” Syracuse goalie Dom Madonna said. “The offense played well today. Definitely put it on the defense, for sure. We’re going to own it, get back to work, and iron out the stuff we need to iron out.”

Madonna, the redshirt senior, faced a total of 24 shots on goal, saving ten. Despite some preseason uncertainty, Madonna has taken a lead role on this Syracuse team, which now sits at 3-3 on the year.

Sunday’s loss comes in the wake of SU’s 18-7 home loss to Johns Hopkins last weekend. The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for the Orange, as it heads to Durham next Saturday to take on Duke.