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Saturday, Mar 30, 2019 at 7:52 pm

Syracuse’s Second Half Comeback Falls Short Against Notre Dame

By Nicole Weaving

Men’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Syracuse came out with new energy in the second half of Saturday’s matchup in South Bend. The Orange held Notre Dame scoreless in the third quarter and brought the game within two with ten minutes remaining in the game.

Momentum was on SU’s side until one play disrupted the team’s rhythm. Defenseman Nick Mellen deflected a pass from ND’s Bryan Costabile to Brendan Gleason. LSM Brett Kennedy came up to give Mellen support on the ground ball, but shoved Gleason to the ground instead.

Kennedy got called for a one-minute non-releasable penalty for cross-checking as Gleason had to be helped off the field by the Notre Dame training staff. During the Fighting Irish’s sixth extra man opportunity of the game, Bryan Costabile had enough time and room to fire it top shelf past SU goaltender Luke Strang.

Costabile halted the Orange’s 7-0 run and swung the momentum back in the Irish’s favor.

No. 12 Notre Dame (5-3, 1-1 ACC) topped No. 8 Syracuse (5-3, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) 13-10 as the Orange couldn’t complete the comeback after falling too far behind in the first half.

Syracuse trailed early for the fourth straight game. The Irish grabbed a 6-1 lead by the end of the first quarter, and once again, Head Coach John Desko had no answers for what continues to plague his team in the first 15 minutes.

“We’re banging our heads against the wall,” Desko said. “We cannot figure that out.”

One apparent issue was Syracuse’s lack of sliding and team defense. Halfway through the first quarter, Costabile subbed in and got a pass from Quinn McCahon near the midline. The junior drove with speed and wound up on Drake Porter’s doorstep to score.

Not a single Syracuse defender slid to stop the charging Irish midfielder.

“I thought we were disoriented,” Desko said. “I thought there was such a lack of communication.”

The Fighting Irish went into the locker room with an 11-3 lead at halftime. Of those 11 goals, only four were assisted, demonstrating Notre Dame’s offensive dominance in one-on-one situations.

The Orange also struggled with its fundamentals in the first half. Going into Saturday’s contest, Syracuse led the nation with 12 turnovers per game. On Saturday, the Orange had 14 turnovers through the first 30 minutes of play.

“You can’t do that,” Desko said. “That’s 14 more times Notre Dame’s going to have the ball and have chances to score.”

Syracuse picked up four penalties in the first half, including Tyson Bomberry’s two-minute non-releasable penalty for cross-checking with five minutes remaining in the first frame.

During that stretch, Porter made two huge saves, but he failed to clear the ball with six seconds remaining on the penalty. Gleason made the interception and put the ball past the SU netminder, who never had time to get into position.

“The penalties hurt us in the first half. Those are not only a turnover, but you put yourself in the man-down situation,” Desko said. “You gotta cheat out to guys like Costabile because he’s gonna score those from the outside. Now it opens up people on the inside. We dug ourselves too much of a hole.”

The Orange will have to make its first half corrections sooner rather than later. Syracuse faces off against Hobart for the Kraus-Simmons Trophy Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

nlweavin@syr.edu | @nicki_weaves