Syracuse lacrosse dominates UAlbany

SU men's LAX dominates UAlbany

Freshman Joey Spallina leads SU to 20-7 victory with five goals in Friday's JMA Wireless Dome match.
Published: February 10, 2023
Joey Spallina (22) battles against UAlbany players near the net. Taken by Charlotte Little. 2-10-2023.
Syracuse's Joey Spallina (22) battles against UAlbany players near the net during the men's lacrosse game Friday at JMA Wireless Dome.

Friday night under the bright lights is when the stars shine the brightest.

In the case of the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team, they had their fair share of star players against University of Albany. The game was the opposite of when these two teams met last year.

Last year, the Great Danes defeated the Orange by a final score of 14-12 at home in rainy weather. This time around at the JMA Wireless Dome, the Orange dominated Albany and quite frankly, never looked back. The Orange won this time around 20-7.

As SU moves to 2-0 overall, second-year head coach Gary Gait said this year’s squad is “completely different” compared to last year.

“The difference was we learned from our mistakes,” Gait said. “I hope that continues. These guys work extremely hard, not only on the field but in the meeting room, watching videos and reading scouts.”

Getting his first career goal for the Orange was graduate student transfer Cole Kirst. He scored his first goal in an unassisted fashion, running half the distance of the field himself and finishing by the net. Kirst’s second goal came in the third period to give the Orange a 10-5 lead.

The New Jersey native and former Lehigh player spoke on what it meant to him to get his first two goals as an Orange.

“It felt really cool. I think being on the field and having everyone embrace me after that moment was really special,” Kirst said. “Just to celebrate all six guys on the offensive end and coming off the field and receiving all of that excitement from everyone. It was really special.”

Kirst also contributed to the game with an assist, bringing him to three total points in the game.

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Syracuse's Michael Leo (7) looks to pass the ball forward.

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Syracuse's Joey Spallina (22) and Cole Kirst (40) celebrate Kirst's second goal of the evening.

Being the No. 1 recruit in the nation comes with pressure and a microscope on you to see if expectations will be fulfilled. For freshman Joey Spallina sporting the No. 22 jersey, his performance has been as advertised and then some. Spallina dominated against Albany, finishing with an incredible five goals.

He certainly doesn’t look like a freshman when he plays, and it isn’t hard to see why he’s No. 1. But, last week Spallina showed some signs of being a freshman when he shot 1-of-15 in shooting attempts against Vermont.

Spallina spoke about the difference in his shooting this week as he went 5-for-7 on his attempts, all seven shots-on-goal.

“I think actually it’s kind of weird. I shot less this week in practice and after practice,’’ Spallina said. “I just took a deep breath and got my stuff together.”

The Orange also gained big contributions from attacker Owen Hiltz and midfielder Jackson Birtwistle. The two combined for six goals, split three a piece. Senior transfer Will Mark was impressive in goal once again for SU, allowing only seven goals while making 14 total saves.

Syracuse will host the winless Holy Cross 1 p.m. Sunday at the Dome for Military Appreciation Day.