Syracuse squanders early lead, loses 16-15 to No. 5 Cornell in overtime
Syracuse fumbles early lead, loses to No. 4 Cornell in OT
The Orange came out with firepower against the Big Red in a back-and-forth clash of Central New York lacrosse programs. But SU couldn’t sustain their early momentum and left the Carrier Dome with their heads hanging in a 16-15 overtime loss.
“That was a great upstate battle right there,” coach Gary Gait said. “It was an unbelievable game and they came back in the end, but I thought our guys played well. It’s been a tough couple of weeks, to come back and give them a run for their money was solid effort.”
Despite the outcome, the Carrier Dome was loud, which brought the Orange much-needed rejuvenation. The cheers echoed throughout the building, never letting a quiet moment go by.
SU’s Mikey Berkman and Jackson Birtwistle each netted a goal within five minutes of the opening faceoff. Not long after, Owen Seebold and Saam Olexo put two in Cornell’s net, pushing the Orange to an early four-goal lead.
SU played stellar first-half defense and drew attention; they have had an up-and-down season, but only allowed six goals in the opening 30 minutes. One of Cornell’s top scorers, CJ Kirst, scored once in the first half, and just twice on the night.
“You know, the communication was great on defense,” redshirt senior Brett Kennedy said. “But we were just a little half-second slow and that’ll cost you with a good team like that.”
In the second half, Cornell notched two goals within the first two minutes and slashed SU’s five-goal lead to just one entering the fourth quarter. If there is a time when SU struggles most, it seems to be in the second half of their games, when the defense crumbles and breaks down in some areas.
The Orange and Big Red had then exchanged fourth-quarter leads. Cornell forced a 14-14 tie with 8:22 to go, and the tie persisted until less than two minutes remained in regulation.
“In the fourth quarter, we started to settle in,” senior Brendan Curry said. “Coach (Pat) March and Coach Gait put in a couple different looks, which helps, but you know we were just one short.”
Tucker Dordevic gave the Orange the lead with 1:45 left, but Cornell’s Michael Long forced overtime with 24 seconds to go. Hugh Kelleher scored the game-winner in OT for the Big Red.
“We still have three games and the only game we should be focused on is (North) Carolina next weekend,” Gait said. “This team will not give up. They will continue to give it everything they have.”
SU will take on the Tar Heels this Saturday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at 4 p.m.