Top-ranked Terps spoil Orange’s jersey retirement, Ring of Honor induction
'Cuse falls to top-ranked Terps, 14-10
The Syracuse Orange lost 14-10 to the top-ranked Maryland Terrapins on Sunday, handing Syracuse their first loss on the season. The Terrapins played spoiler for the Syracuse home crowd, who came out in droves to see the jersey retirement of now-head coach Gary Gait and the induction of former head coach Roy Simmons Jr. into the Ring of Honor.
Just one week removed from the third-highest scoring game in Syracuse lacrosse history, the Orange offense struggled early. The Terrapins jumped out to a 5-0 lead that extended into the early second quarter before Syracuse put their first point on the board.
The Terps’ pure speed on both ends posed one of the biggest challenges to Syracuse. Trying to defend Maryland’s off-ball cutting left Syracuse defensemen half a step behind on slide packages. Couple that with the Terps’ quick ball movement, and that half-step magnified into wide-open looks off cross-crease feeds.
That didn’t stop Syracuse starting goalie Bobby Gavin from building on the positive momentum he established in the home opener against Holy Cross. Gavin, who transferred from the reigning national champion Virginia Cavaliers, had 11 saves on 25 shots on goal.
“I couldn’t have made those saves without the awesome defense I had in front of me,” said Gavin. “Overall, I’m just excited. We had all fight in us today, never gave up. It didn’t go the right way for us, but I’m excited to bounce back next week.”
When the Orange had possession, Maryland swarmed Syracuse. Attackman Tucker Dordevic helped get Syracuse back into the game in the second quarter, scoring three unassisted goals and picking up an assist before halftime. In the second half, Maryland slid early whenever Dordevic had possession, pressuring him with two long pole defensemen and even going as far as tripling him with an additional midfielder.
Dordevic finished the afternoon with five goals on six shots on goal. His last and lone assisted goal on the day came with just seven and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Here's #4, but 23 has back-to-back 5 goal games to open the season.
— Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse (@CuseMLAX) February 20, 2022
Some of Syracuse’s standouts from last week’s Holy Cross game failed to re-emerge this week against Maryland. Senior midfielder Brendan Curry contributed with an assist, but Curry struggled overall offensively. Just one of Curry’s seven shots was on-target; he also ended with three turnovers.
Senior attackman Owen Seebold showed similar signs of struggle, as just one of his five shots found the cage.
“We’ve just got to trust in what we’re doing and communicate better,” said Gait. “We just really need to buy into what we’re trying to do. There were plenty of times on the offensive end where we weren’t moving the ball or moving our feet. We work on it all week and we prepare, and then it doesn’t happen on the field.”
The loss still gave the men’s lacrosse team some positive momentum to build on. Syracuse’s offense eventually adjusted, relying less on iso dodging and first-look passes. The Orange instead leaned on patience, utilizing additional passes and second looks. While Maryland’s stifling defense and quick slides eliminated any iso ball, Syracuse was able to find the net on second looks in the second half. Redshirt freshman midfielder Jackson Birtwistle scored his first career goal with the Orange off some quick ball movement from the offense, with an additional swing pass from freshman midfielder Tyler Cordes finding Birtwistle alone on the crease.
Faceoffs played a major role in keeping the Orange competitive. Syracuse barely edged out Maryland at the faceoff dot overall, winning 15 of 28, but Syracuse secured just three of eight faceoffs in the fourth quarter. Two of those five faceoff losses directly resulted in fourth quarter goals for Maryland. The Orange must also emphasize eliminating sloppy play against top competition. While the Terrapin defense pressed Syracuse, five of the Orange’s 13 turnovers were unforced errors.