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Sunday, Feb 19, 2023 at 5:58 pm

Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse Hits the Road and Finds First Loss of the Season

By: Ashley Wenskoski | @AshleyWenskTV

COLLEGE PARK, MD – The trial period is over. Syracuse men’s lacrosse (3-1) had an effortless start to the season with three effortless wins over unranked opponents. Then, they ran straight into the reigning national champions.

No. 9 Maryland (2-1) was the one to shatter S.U.’s brief undefeated streak, handing the Orange their first loss of the season on Saturday in College Park.

The Terrapins were out for redemption after last week’s first regular-season loss since 2020 at the hands of Loyola. They wasted no time against Syracuse, creating a 3-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.

U.M.D had 13 shots in the first before S.U. was able to take their first shot on goal nearly ten minutes into the contest. Michael Leo finally found the back of the net to put the Cuse on the board with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter.

After Syracuse tied things up briefly in the second, the Terps went on a four-goal scoring spree in a 2:36-minute span to pull ahead 7-3. Though the Orange closed the gap a couple of times throughout the game, Maryland would not lose the lead again after that, winning by a final score of 15-12.

The win for the Terps came in large part due to career days for both Daniel Kelly and Jack Koras. Kelly had four goals and two assists, while Koras had three goals and an assist as well. Maryland would finish with a total of 50 shots.

S.U. Head Coach Gary Gait attributed the first loss of his second season at the helm to his team’s youth.

“We’re a team that’s young, and coming off of a 4-10 season,” Gait said postgame. “We got some experience with three games coming into this, but we’re pretty much a new team. It showed a little bit out there, especially in that first quarter.”

The Orange were plagued at the X as well. U.M.D’s Luke Weirman is one of the best face-off specialists in the country, and he certainly showed his dominance on Saturday. Weirman won 24 of 31 faceoffs against S.U.’s Johnny Richiusa, tying a career-high. He also scooped up 12 groundballs.

Freshman phenom Joey Spallina was largely held at-bay by Maryland’s Brett Makar, who limited Spallina to one goal and one assist. Spallina’s single goal was impressive, to say the least, shocking goaltender Teddy Dolan on a behind-the-back shot.

Speaking of Dolan, he had nine saves in his first start between the pipes for the Terps. Starter Logan McNaney has been revealed to be out for the season after he tore his ACL against Loyola.

Though the Orange stayed in it the entire game, five different multi-goal scorers for the Terps proved to be too much. S.U. goalie Will Mark endured 33 shots on goal and saved 18 of them. Jackson Birtwhistle scored three goals for SU in the third and fourth quarters to spark a comeback effort, but the Orange just could not get enough ball movement going on offense.

Mark spoke optimistically about the Orange moving forward.

“It’s just a bump in the road,” Mark said. “You really only learn during adversity. Winning is fun and all, but this is really when you dig down, get to the root, and improve.”

S.U. has no time to waste in digging down and getting to the root. The next three games for the Orange are currently scheduled against ranked opponents, beginning with A.C.C. rival North Carolina (2-1) next Saturday, February 25th inside the J.M.A. Wireless Dome.

U.N.C. is currently ranked 19th in the nation. Face-off from the Dome is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.