Syracuse men’s lacrosse loses third straight, falls to No. 13 Army 17-13

SU men's lacrosse loses third straight, 17-13 to No. 13 Army

The Orange gave up 19 turnovers and did not score in Wednesday night's fourth quarter.
Published: March 2, 2022
Syracuse men’s lacrosse loses third straight, falls to No. 13 Army 17-13
The Army Men's lacrosse team react after scoring at Wednesday's game at the Dome.

The Syracuse men’s lacrosse team failed to defend the Carrier Dome, losing 17-13 to the No. 13 Army West Point Black Knights on Wednesday night.

This is Syracuse’s third straight loss of the season, falling to 1-3. The Orange have yet to beat a ranked opponent this year.

“I’ve got to give Army credit coming in here and taking it to us,” said Syracuse head coach Gary Gait. “From the opening whistle, they played hard, they battled, and they made fewer mistakes than we did. In the end, they made big plays and we didn’t counter.”

Army came out of the gate aggressive in every facet of the game. After Syracuse scored the opening goal, the Black Knights answered with five of their own.

Army’s defense played fast and strong on both ends of the field. The Orange’s attackmen were held at bay for a stretch by Army’s long pole defensemen shutting down at goal line extended, preventing them from getting a scoring angle.

When Syracuse cleared the ball in the first quarter, the Black Knights met them with a full-field press. One such incident caught goalie Bobby Gavin trapped with the ball outside the net, which led to a turnover and an empty-net Army goal.

Gavin was substituted for Harrison Thompson at the start of the second quarter. Thompson allowed two goals in his first quarter of play. Syracuse dominated the ground ball battle in the first half by a margin of 24-9, and their defense played more aggressively, especially from behind the cage. Syracuse brought the offensive firepower as well, and jumped out to a 10-7 lead by halftime.

Syracuse men’s lacrosse loses third straight, falls to No. 13 Army 17-13
Syracuse's Carter Rice tries to fend off Army's Ryan Sposito from getting close to the goal.

“Bobby is a great goalie,” Thompson said. “There’s good competition between the both of us. I’m always prepared. Game time, you never know what’s going to happen. He didn’t see the ball well. I just went out there, just doing what I do. I was prepared.”

The physical play continued for both teams into the second half, eventually coming to a crescendo in the final seconds of the third quarter.

After interfering with the Black Knights goalie, a small brawl between Army and Syracuse broke out, resulting in a one-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for Syracuse midfielder Dami Oladunmoye.

Syracuse was flagged five times throughout the game. At one point, they had just three players on the field to play man-down defense. Army scored on both their man-up opportunities.

Syracuse men’s lacrosse loses third straight, falls to No. 13 Army 17-13
Referees try to break up a brawl that erupted.

There were times in the fourth quarter where Syracuse’s physicality interfered with their actual play. The desire to get hands or a stick on an Army player came at the sacrifice of positioning, giving the Black Knights better angles at the goal. The Black Knights scored five straight goals in the fourth quarter, putting the game out of reach for the Orange.

“This is a game of runs,” said Army head coach Joe Alberici. “[Syracuse] has some amazing players over there. They’re going to go on runs. The crowd is going to get into it some. We just needed to keep our poise. We needed to be focused on the next play and on the small plays. The ground balls, the 50-50s, that really turned the game for us in the third and fourth quarters.”

Syracuse men’s lacrosse loses third straight, falls to No. 13 Army 17-13
Syracuse and Army players fight for a loose ground ball.

On offense, Syracuse was forced into some unfavorable situations after Army switched to a zone defense. The Orange tried their best to create offense on their own, with Owen Seebold and Brendan Curry each netting four goals. That zone defense stifled any offensive innovation, though. Syracuse finished the game with just three assists on their 13 goals, scoring only three times in the second half.

“I don’t know how many more changes we can make on the offensive end,” said Gait on the offensive struggles. “We’ve used a lot of different sets. We’ve tried to come up with different ways to utilize the players that we have and give them good scoring opportunities.”

“We thought we were a pretty good zone team, it just didn’t work.”

The Orange return to the Carrier Dome on Sunday, March 6 to take on Hobart in the battle for the Kraus-Simmons Trophy.

Syracuse men’s lacrosse loses third straight, falls to No. 13 Army 17-13
Framed through some Army Lacrosse players a Syracuse player walks off the field post-game.