Syracuse men’s lacrosse retains Kraus-Simmons Trophy in 18-16 win over Hobart
SU men's lacrosse wins Kraus-Simmons Trophy 18-16 over Hobart
The Syracuse men’s lacrosse team squeaked out a tight 18-16 win against the Hobart Statesmen at the Carrier Dome on Sunday night.
The win in the 107th matchup between the two schools means the Orange retain the Kraus-Simmons Trophy for an eighth-straight year. The trophy, established in 1986 to commemorate one of the nation’s oldest college lacrosse rivalries, honors National Lacrosse Hall of Fame coaches Babe Kraus of Hobart and Syracuse’s Roy Simmons Jr.
“A lot of history between these two teams,” said head coach Gary Gait after the game. “We battled until the end and brought back the Kraus-Simmons trophy to Syracuse for another year. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but we got the job done.”
Syracuse and Hobart are no strangers to nail-biting finishes. Thirty-two of the 107 games between the two schools have been decided by three goals or less.
The Orange are now 20-10-2 in such games. Despite the history, this is by far the closest the rivalry has been in recent years. In the seven years before today’s win, Syracuse won every matchup by at least six goals.
The Orange got out to a relatively slow start, with Hobart netting the first two goals of the game. The offense quickly picked up throughout the game, with a new-look offensive set paying dividends for the Orange.
Syracuse’s offense ran a variation on the 1-4-1 offense, with heavy dodging from the wings and picks inside to create open passes. While Syracuse changed up their offensive sets later in the game, the new set led to 10 first-half goals. In all, nine of the Orange’s 18 goals were assisted, a far cry from the performance against Army earlier in the week.
Despite a slow start and a bit of a lull in the fourth quarter, Syracuse’s offense looked as potent as it’s been since their historic season opener against Holy Cross. Eight different players scored for the Orange, led by attackman Tucker Dordevic and Brendan Curry with five goals apiece.
“We knew that those were their two main options,” said Hobart coach Greg Raymond. “We felt like we had a pretty good game plan going in to slow them down. Where they’re great is their speed – you have to support their dodges, and your whole defense has to move with those guys.
“If you’re not defending those two great players with six people, they’re going to score goals.”
Curry’s goal to tie Dordevic was especially cheeky. With one goal separating Syracuse and Hobart with 14 seconds left to play, Curry had possession after a timeout. The Statesmen pulled their goalie to put two defenders on Curry. He took that as an opportunity to jar an empty-net goal from almost 40 yards out.
“We figured they would probably pull the goalie,” Curry said. “With a one-goal lead and a couple seconds left, I was going to get doubled anyways. I had the angle, figured I may as well put it in.”
Despite the offensive resurgence, the Orange still left a lot of room for improvement on the defensive end. The 16 goals this afternoon meant Syracuse retains their lead for most goals allowed in the ACC. Gait made another mid-game switch at goalie, substituting Harrison Thompson out of his first start of the season for Bobby Gavin. Thompson had allowed 12 goals on 20 shots before the substitution.
The Orange also committed six penalties, a new high for this season. Hobart was able to capitalize, scoring five goals on their six extra-man opportunities. That mark stands as the most extra-man goals by the Statesmen since 2008.
Eleven of Syracuse’s 16 turnovers were unforced. Some of Syracuse’s mistakes were particularly egregious, on one second-quarter faceoff, Jakob Phaup won the draw, but the ball stayed lodged in the back of his stick’s head. Phaup ran the ball back into his defensive zone. With pressure on his heels, he attempted a pass to his defensemen about 10 yards away. The ball didn’t have a chance of going that far; it was picked off by a Hobart player and ended up in the back of the net shortly thereafter.
The Orange have the offensive firepower to run with any team in the country. But, they must get tight defensively and clean up their mental errors if they hope to make any headway this season.
Syracuse’s schedule the rest of the way is grueling. Seven of nine opponents left on the are currently ranked; six of those teams are ranked in the top ten.
The Orange will travel down to Baltimore, Maryland, to take on No. 15 Johns Hopkins on Sunday, March 13. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.