Syracuse men’s lacrosse drops fifth straight to No. 6 Virginia, ties single-season loss record

SU lacrosse's 21-15 loss to Virginia ties a single-season record

The Orange (4-9) lost 21-15 to the defending national champion Cavaliers on Saturday.
Published: April 23, 2022
Men’s Lacrosse versus Virginia
Virginia players celebrate a goal in their win over Syracuse on Saturday at the Dome.

It doesn’t often feel like 1974 in Syracuse, but on Saturday, the Syracuse men’s lacrosse program took a trip back in time.

The Orange fell 21-15 to defending national champion Virginia, SU’s ninth loss of the season. The only other season in which Syracuse suffered that loss total was 48 years ago when Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” debuted at the top of the Billboard charts.

“(Virginia) showed up offensively from the start and took advantage of our mistakes,” coach Gary Gait said. “And unfortunately, we kept making them.”

The Cavaliers pounced on the sixteen Syracuse turnovers to score 20-plus goals for the second time against the Orange this season. UVA also won the ground ball battle 42-31 and even saw faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla score twice within ten seconds of the referee’s whistle.

Virginia head coach and New York Native Lars Tiffany was thrilled to take home a win in the Carrier Dome, a program he watched rise to prominence as an 11-year-old.

“There’s a little boy inside of me that gets really excited about this,” Tiffany said. “When it opened up, this was the mecca for a young sports fan.”

Men’s Lacrosse versus Virginia

Virginia's Mitchell Whalen (43) rushes toward a ground ball at midfield on Saturday.

Men’s Lacrosse versus Virginia

Syracuse's long stick midfielder Brett Kennedy (11) clears the ball for the Orange.

If there was one positive for Syracuse lacrosse fans to take away from the Saturday afternoon game, it was the performance of redshirt freshman Jackson Birtwistle.

The St. Davids, Pennsylvania, native followed up his first three-goal performance against North Carolina with a game-high five against the Cavaliers, easily setting a new career-high.

Birtwistle was bolstered on the attack by redshirt junior Tucker Dordevic who scored three goals, and seniors Brendan Curry and Owen Seebold each scored two of their own.

“It’s honestly a dream come true to be playing with these guys,” Birtwistle said. “These guys are fifth and sixth-year guys and there’s so much to learn going forward.”

For Dordevic, who was recently named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, the day was all about watching Birtwistle coming into his own.

“It’s awesome to see,” Dordevic said. “To have a guy like Jackson come in these last few games and really play and do a terrific job while doing it is awesome.”

Men’s Lacrosse versus Virginia
A Syracuse shot ripples the net in their 21-15 loss on Saturday.

In their season finale next week, SU will take on No. 17 Notre Dame on May 1 in the Dome, looking to avoid setting a new record for futility with a tenth loss in 2022.

Earlier this month, the Orange saw their five-game losing streak begin in South Bend, when the Fighting Irish handed them a 22-6 drubbing, still their worst margin of defeat all year. The five straight defeats mark the program’s worst losing skid since 1975.

The Orange will attempt to send their senior class out on a high note by winning their first game in their past five attempts against the Irish. Face-off from the Dome will be at noon.

“It’s about pride. It’s about how Syracuse wants to play and finish the season,” Gait said. “It’s about honoring our seniors and fifth and sixth-year players. We’ll try and get one last opportunity to put together 60 minutes.”

Men’s Lacrosse versus Virginia
Syracuse's Tyler Cordes (29) passes the ball to a teammate on Saturday in his team's loss.