Syracuse men’s lacrosse dominated by Notre Dame in ACC matchup

Syracuse men's lacrosse dominated by Notre Dame in ACC matchup

To end the game, Notre Dame went on a 9-1 scoring run to win 20-12.
Published: April 2, 2023
SU vs Notre Dame Men's Lacrosse
Notre Dame's Chris Fake (7) looks for an opening at goal during an ACC men's lacrosse game Saturday, April 1, 2023 at JMA Wireless Dome.

The Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse team hosted No. 3 ranked Notre Dame in their home game finale on Senior Day. The Irish got going early in the game with a 5-0 scoring run. It wasn’t until the 3:08 mark in the first period that the Orange scored a goal. 

Owen Hiltz and Joey Spallina scored the first two goals of the game for the Orange, keeping the team from being shut out in the first period. In the second period, the Orange showed much more energy than what was displayed in the first. 

The Irish would score two goals from Jake Taylor and Eric Dobson to start the second. Following that, Syracuse joined the party going on a 5-1 scoring run just before halftime to cut the Irish lead. Goals for the Orange during that scoring run were Michael Leo, Cole Kirst, Jackson Birtwistle, and two straight goals by Alex Simmons to end the first half.

In the second half, the Orange played in a similar and successful style that worked for them in the second period. In the third period, SU had a 4-0 scoring run following two goals by Notre Dame to start the half. The third period ended with the score being 11-11. It was at that moment when it seemed the game would shift in Syracuse’s favor, but the Irish had other plans.  

The fourth period gave many flashbacks to the first period in which the Orange were dominated, but this time it was worse. SU simply had to answer for the Notre Dame offense in the final period. The Irish scored nine straight goals in a row after Kirst gave SU their first lead to start the fourth with a goal. The Orange never scored in the game again.

Defenseman Saam Olexo scored a goal for the Orange in the loss, but was forced to play more defense in the fourth then his team would have liked.

“It’s always tough playing a lot of defense, but I mean, yeah, we played a lot of defense. We need to to rally when stuff hits the fan.” Olexo said. “We need a rally and we need to be better going forward.”

SU vs Notre Dame Men's Lacrosse

Syracuse's Owen Hiltz (77) looks for an opening to pass as Notre Dame's Chris Conlin (20) defends.

SU vs Notre Dame Men's Lacrosse

Syracuse goalie Will Mark (88) fails to block a shot.

Considering Notre Dame had four players with at least three goals, it took a lot of work for Syracuse to keep up. Leading the Irish in goals was senior Jake Taylor, who finished with four goals, and Eric Dobson, Chris Kavanagh, and Reilly Grey scoring a hat trick for the Irish.

Notre Dame defeated Syracuse by a final score of 20-12. Once again, the Orange was dominated in face offs 23-13 and ground balls 33-19. Syracuse Head Coach Gary Gait felt those categories really hurt his team in the second half and cost them the game.

“Hopefully we can learn from that game,” Gait said. “Honestly it was a matter of second half face offs and then being tired, and that’s the way it goes when you don’t hit the ball.”

Despite the tough loss, the Orange had some impressive individual performances. Cole Kirst played very well in his final game at the Dome scoring two goals and dishing out two assists. Kirst reflected on his time as an Orange this year and what it has meant to him.

“To be able to have that support from them and to have the Syracuse fans and to have classmates who support me every single day, not only in the classroom but out on the field — It’s an incredible environment and I’m just extremely thankful,” Kirst said. 

The Orange look to bounce back as they head to New Jersey to take on the Princeton Tigers at Sherrerd Field noon next Saturday. 

SU attack Kirst dives to score a goal against Notre Dame.
Notre Dame goalie Liam Entenmann (44) blocks a shot from Syracuse's Cole Kirst.