SU men’s lacrosse dominates No. 2 Virginia 20-10

SU men's lacrosse dominates Virginia 20-10

Freshman Owen Hiltz has standout game in Syracuse's first win of the season.
Published: February 27, 2021
SU v Johns Hopkins
Drake Porter had 13 saves in Syracuse’s home opener against No. 2 Virginia on February 27, 2021.

Syracuse dominated No. 2 Virginia 20-10 for a massive upset victory in the Dome, picking up their first win of the season in their ACC opener.

Freshman Owen Hiltz had a standout performance for the Orange, scoring three goals and providing two assists in just the second game of his college career. Owen Seebold also contributed with his first two goals of the season, both of which gave Syracuse the lead and shifted momentum in their favor. Brendan Curry, Tucker Dordevic, and Stephen Rehfuss added to an all-around commanding performance from the Orange with three goals apiece.

After an 18-11 upset loss to Army in their opening game of the season, the Orange looked to get back on track in the Dome. They did exactly that — showing significant improvements all over the field.

Nine different players found the back of the net for the Orange, highlighting just how strong and prolific Syracuse’s offense could be. Syracuse was also superior in the faceoff battle, winning twice as many as Virginia did (22-11). The Orange also proved to be solid defensively, outsourcing the Cavaliers 11-3 in the second half and not conceding a goal in the entire fourth quarter.

Syracuse got off to a quick start, scoring on their first two possessions through Lucas Quinn and Chase Scanlan. But before Syracuse could really take control of the game, Virginia stormed back with four unanswered goals in under four minutes, stunning the Orange and taking control for a 5-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The first half saw back-and-forth offensive spells from both sides with multiple lead changes. It looked like the game would continue in this manner throughout the second half, with both teams notching goal after goal, and wouldn’t be decided until the dying minutes of the fourth quarter.

But Syracuse had other plans.

The Syracuse bench was electric for the entire game, yelling whenever Virginia turned over the ball.  But when the Orange rallied to score two goals in the final three minutes of the second quarter through Seebold and Rehfuss after being tied 7-7, the bench erupted — hollering as the first half ended, and they ran to the tunnel and into the locker room.

After halftime, the Cavaliers were no longer able to keep up with the Orange. Syracuse’s offense exploded in the third quarter, putting seven goals on the board. Virginia only scored three in the third quarter and wouldn’t find the back of the net again after that.

Hiltz scored his first goal of the night just 13 seconds after the start of the second half, giving Syracuse a 10-7 lead at the time. Hiltz wouldn’t stop there, however. The freshman went on to score two more goals — another in the third quarter and one in the fourth.

“He does not play like a freshman, that’s for sure,” said Curry when asked about Hiltz after the game. “You can just tell from the first practice.”

As the game progressed, Syracuse piled on the goals in transition play. The Orange were clinical on the counterattack, as even defender Brett Kennedy got a goal for himself in the breakout third quarter for the Orange to give them a 16-10 lead.

From then on, Drake Porter and the Syracuse defense soaked up any and all pressure from the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter, giving them no chance whatsoever to mount a comeback. The Orange didn’t concede in the fourth quarter.

Syracuse scored four more goals without much resistance from Virginia, resulting in a final score of 20-10. Roaring with emotion, the Orange shouted “Rah rah Virginia!” to end their huddle after the end of the game.

With this victory, the Orange made a statement. Despite slipping up in their first game of the season, Syracuse is still aiming to be a championship contender.

“We just wanted to prove to everybody that we’re still one of the best teams in the country,” said Hiltz when asked about what this game meant to him and his teammates.

Syracuse will look to ride the momentum from this massive upset win and continue to make their claim as one of the nation’s top teams against Vermont back in the Dome on March 6 at 1 p.m.