Men’s lacrosse: No. 17 UVA drops ACC opener to No. 3 Syracuse, 14-13
No. 17 Virginia (2-3, 0-1 ACC) closed the game on a 5-1 run, but it wasn’t enough as the No. 3 Syracuse Orange (4-0, 1-0 ACC) won the ACC opener for both teams on Friday evening, 14-13, inside Klöckner Stadium. The exciting seesaw affair is the 19th time in 32 meetings between the two schools where the game was determined by two goals or less.
“I thought we dug in there at the end and were fighting to make plays,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Dom Starsia. “The difference was probably our inability to clear the ball a couple of times that they turned into scoring opportunities. I like this team. I think the lacrosse piece of this is coming. I think we are consistently getting better. If we continue to work hard we can be the team that we all think we are capable of being, we just have to keep working on it.”
Syracuse jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on the back of two Derek DeJoe scores and one by Dylan Donahue. DeJoe capped the run at 6:24. Ryan Conrad put UVA on the board at 5:24 in the first quarter when he took a clear and went coast-to-coast with the score.
Conrad’s goal started a 5-1 UVA run that gave the Cavaliers a 6-5 lead with 7:12 left in the first half. James Pannell scored twice during the run, while Mike D’Amario and Zed Williams also added scores.
The Orange closed the second quarter on a 3-1 run to take an 8-7 lead into the intermission. Pannell scored with 54 seconds left in the first half on a Greg Coholan helper to bring the UVA deficit to one goal, 8-7.
Syracuse won 4-of-5 faceoffs in the third quarter to set the tone for a 5-1 run, giving the Orange a commanding 13-8 lead. Nick Mariano capped the run on a Sergio Salcido helper with 14:09 left in the game.
Virginia wasn’t finished, scoring four straight goals to cut its deficit back to one goal, 13-12, with 8:39 left. Coholan scored on a Pannell assist to start the spurt. Ryan Lukacovic and AJ Fish scored unassisted goals to continue the run. Coholan finished what he started with an unassisted goal with 8:39 left in the game.
After a Matt Barrett safe, Will McNamara picked up the ground ball and tried to race out of danger, however he was collapsed on and lost the ball. Mariano was there to pounce on the ball for Syracuse in front of the crease and deposited it in the net for the deciding goal with 6:12 left.
Virginia made it interesting, as Pannell scored his fourth goal of the game unassisted with 37 seconds left, making it a one-goal game again. Michael Howard lost the ensuing faceoff on a violation by Virginia and Syracuse ran out the clock and secured the victory.
“I thought our settled defense was pretty good tonight,” said Starsia. “I thought we were cleaner on offense. We have been more efficient at the offensive end. We are starting to find the back of the net a little bit. We are starting to score some goals. I think we have always been an offensive lacrosse team, and so that is starting to come a little bit. There were a lot of things to like about it, but at the end of the day we need to close these games out, and we had some opportunities to do that and were not quite up to the task.”
Virginia won the battle of shots (38-31) and ground balls (43-29), while Syracuse won the battle of saves (13-7), faceoffs (18-11) and had more turnovers (16-10).
Tim Barber led Syracuse with three goals and two assists. DeJoe had three goals and one assist, while Donahue had two goals and three assists to pace the Syracuse offense. Pannell had five points and four goals for Virginia. Lukacovic had four assists to go with his one score, while Coholan and Fish each had two goals for UVA in the losing cause.
Virginia is back in action on Tuesday when Saint Joseph’s comes to Klöckner Stadium for the final game of a four-game homestand. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.