Orange men’s lacrosse loses first game in overtime thriller

SU MLAX loses first game in overtime thriller

Maryland’s George Stamos scores a walk-off goal in OT to defeat Syracuse 13-12 after controversial call.

SU Men's Lacrosse lose by one goal to the Maryland Terps in the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday, February 17, 2024.
Ethan Canals-Fernández
SU men’s lacrosse lost in overtime to the Maryland Terps Saturday in the JMA Wireless Dome.

No. 7/5 Syracuse men’s lacrosse came up just short against No. 4 Maryland, losing 13-12 in a top-10 clash at the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday. 

A late goal from fifth-year attacker Christian Mulé with just over a minute to go forced overtime, before a divisive call saw Maryland escape with a win.

After a potential Michael Leo-game winner where he landed in the mouth of the goal was reviewed and ruled out, Maryland’s George Stamos saw an opening seconds later and rifled in the game-winning shot. 

“I had a short stick the whole game and I saw the shot clock winding down so I took a shot and obviously the call didn’t go our way,” Leo said of the call. “That’s just sports, you got to move on. We have a game Wednesday and I believe this team is going to come back Monday and get back to work.” 

Alternative Text Maryland players celebrate Saturday's win against the Orange in the JMA Wireless Dome.
Ethan Canals-Fernández
Maryland’s Riley Reese celebrates Saturday’s win against the Orange in the JMA Wireless Dome.

The Orange put themselves in unfamiliar territory early in the contest, trailing for most of the first half after leading 2-1. Prior to the match, Syracuse had only trailed for 53 seconds all season.

After being tied up 2-2 with eight minutes left in the first quarter, they saw themselves trailing for the rest of first half. The Terrapins scored three straight goals, leading 5-2 at the end of the first quarter.

Still, after allowing the five goals, Syracuse made the right adjustments and outscored Maryland 6-2 in the second and third quarter. Maryland took just 29 shots compared to Syracuse’s 48. 

The second quarter did not see as many fireworks on offense until Leo fired in back-to-back goals to bring the Orange within one point at halftime. 

Graduate goalie Will Mark allowed the Orange to come back in the third quarter with a five-safe performance that saw them grab a 8-7 lead entering the fourth. 

Maryland’s Braden Erksa and Syracuse sophomore midfielder Luke Rhoa exchanged goals at the start of the fourth. Each scored twice in the quarter and led their teams with four goals a piece on the night.

Maryland brings a tight defense on Syracuse's Luke Rhoa (#8) on Saturday.
Ethan Canals-Fernández
Maryland brings a tight defense on Syracuse’s Luke Rhoa on Saturday.

Mulé had a quiet evening before he came up big for his first goal of the night to send the game to overtime, but the Orange could not capitalize in the extra period.

The woes against Maryland continue for Syracuse as they lost to the Terrapins 15-12 last season as well after starting 3-0.

The Orange have not beaten Maryland since the 2009 NCAA Quarterfinal. 

Syracuse and Maryland lacrosse go into overtime, both teams with undefeated seasons so far.
Ethan Canals-Fernández
SU’s Joey Spallina, right, scored a goal Saturday during the loss to Maryland.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, Syracuse head coach Gary Gait still sees his team taking steps in the right direction. 

“You know that’s a perennial top four team in the country and we’re right there with them. I think we’re getting close, moving with maturity, and learning a little bit more,” said Gait. “The good thing is we have a whole season ahead of us.”

Syracuse falls to 3-1 and now looks ahead to Utah in the Dome Wednesday at noon. Game is scheduled for 12 p.m.